The winningest coach in NCAA Division I men’s basketball history was in the Roanoke College stands Friday to watch his grandson’s team play the Maroons.
Mike Krzyzewski left the Cregger Center in a good mood.
The New York University men’s basketball team squashed Roanoke 81-59 in the Cregger Invitational title game, snapping the Maroons’ 10-game winning streak.
Krzyzewski’s grandson Michael Savarino, a Duke graduate transfer, sank two early 3-pointers to help NYU jump to a 9-0 lead. The Violets led the rest of the way.
Krzyzewski hugged Savarino after the game.
Spencer Freedman had 26 points and seven 3-pointers for NYU (11-0), which made 18 3-pointers.
The Violets handed Roanoke (10-2) its first loss since the season opener.
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“This is the best team we’ve played to this point in the season,” Maroons coach Clay Nunley said.
Krzyzewski, his wife and a number of other family members were on hand both Thursday and Friday to watch NYU’s games in the two-day tournament.
The former Duke coaching great said after the game Friday that this was his first visit to the Roanoke Valley since he recruited J.J. Redick (who is now 38 years old) out of Cave Spring High School.
Maroons forward Kasey Draper said it was cool to have Krzyzewski at the game.
Krzyzewski, who retired from coaching after last season, interacted with spectators at halftime Friday and after the game. He signed autographs, shook hands and posed for a few photos.
NYU coach Dave Klatsky, whose school is located in New York City, said Krzyzewski had not attended any of NYU’s games until the Cregger Invitational.
“It was great to see him in the stands,” Klatsky said.
Savarino, who had six points and four assists Friday, played for his grandfather at Duke the past three seasons. He played a total of 25 minutes last season, when he made headlines for a DWI arrest. He graduated from Duke after his junior year and transferred to NYU.
“I told Michael when he … committed to NYU, ‘Mike, here’s the deal. I’m never going to be as good a coach as the guy that just coached you, so bear with me,’” Klatsky said.
The Violets were already booked for the Cregger Invitational before Klatsky was hired by NYU in May.
“I actually called Clay to try to get out of it because it’s seven hours and 45 minutes and we had to drive,” said Klatsky, who was on crutches because of ACL and meniscus surgery. “I’m glad he told me, ‘No, you’re coming down here, Coach. Your administration committed to it.’”
Roanoke scored the final seven points of the first half to cut the NYU lead to 28-25.
But the visitors’ lead grew to 51-36 with 12:37 to go.
“Once they started to hit shots, we kind of spiraled,” Draper said.
NYU shot a sizzling 64.3% from the field in the second half, including 65% (13 of 20) from 3-point range. The Violets outscored Roanoke 53-34 in the second half.
“When you give them space to get 3s, when you break down on the ball-screen coverage, when you ball watch for a split second and then your man moves and now you’re out of position, that’s all they need,” Nunley said.
The Maroons shot just 36.7% from the field in the game, including 21.7% (5 of 23) from 3-point territory.
“We knew that they were one of the tougher teams we’ve played, meaning just strength and interior scoring. So we tried to take that away,” Klatsky said. “Every time they caught it down low, we wanted … them to see bodies and crowds and have to throw out.”
“There was really not a lot around the rim that we normally can get to that are easy buckets,” Draper said. “They were playing good defense around the rim. … We weren’t really getting the good shots that we have been getting during our run of wins.”
Draper was held to seven points, about 10 points below his season average. The Northside graduate was 3 of 13 from the field.
“He didn’t get a lot of deep post catches,” Nunley said. “He didn’t get a lot of clean alleys to drive the ball. … They really took all that stuff away. They had some size and physicality guarding him.”
Zach Rosenthal scored 16 points off the bench for Roanoke.
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