INDIANAPOLIS - With a place in the national championship game on the line, West Virginia dug itself a 13-point first-half hole against Duke, trailed by eight at the break and by double figures again in the second half.
In other words, the Mountains seemed to have the Blue Devils right where they wanted them.
But there would be no comeback like West Virginia seemed almost to patent this season. Part of that might have had to do with Da'Sean Butler leaving the game with nine minutes to play, but by that time the Mountaineers were already down 15 points.
No, instead it was simply a good team playing to its potential. Duke set the tone in the first half with deadly shooting and never let up.
"We definitely came out and played a great game, a complete game,'' said Duke's Nolan Smith.
Indeed, Smith, Jon Scheyer and Kyle Singler combined for 63 points, 17 assists and all but one of Duke's 13 3-pointers. The Blue Devils won the rebounding battle slightly (29-27), but really made hay by converting 11 offensive rebounds into 19 points.
But more than anything, Duke simply shot the basketball. And they did it from the start.
Part of that should, of course, be credited to Duke. But there also has to be a bit of blame placed on the Mountaineers, whose defense got them to this point and then failed them.
"They just made shots - every open shot, it seemed,'' said Butler. "That's what good teams do.
"But at the same time, I didn't think we got to the shooters well at all.''
In many ways the game was decided in the first half because that's when the tone was set and it didn't change. It wasn't just the hot shooting, but Duke's rebounding edge, too.
West Virginia dug itself a double-digit hole in that first half by not covering Duke's 3-point shooters and giving up way too many second shots. Despite shooting better than 50 percent for most of the half - WVU missed its final four shots to finish right at 50 - the Mountaineers allowed Duke to shoot 53 percent and make half its 14 3-point attempts.