But could they really beat a diminished Cavs team?
Zach Norvell Jr. added 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulldogs (5-0).
"We were able to find a way to win and that's really all that matters in a tournament like this".
In the end, Gonzaga didn't play scared against Duke's powerful inside monsters. "He does not show his emotions great, he does not share much". "We're the best team in the country and I'm the best player too".
Clemson improved to 5-0 for the first time since the 2013-14 season and will play in Wednesday's championship game against Creighton.
The Bulldogs shot 64 percent, using slick passing to find shots in the paint and open 3-pointers, to lead by as many as 14 before taking a 47-39 lead at halftime.
The 5-1 Blue Devils trailed by 16 in the second half before tying it at 87.
Taking advantage of Gonzaga big man Brandon Clarke's fourth foul, Duke pulled within a basket as Blue Devils fans sent an quake of noise off the rafters of tiny Lahaina Civic Center.
Rui Hachimura hit the go-ahead layup with 1:15 left. The Bulldogs recovered it but were unable to get a shot off before the 30-second clock expired.
Gonzaga's defence made up for it.
But on Wednesday, Pearl was singing his reserves' praises after a 73-57 win over Arizona in the third-place game. The Blue Devils will own the offensive glass - Duke had 22 offensive rebounds to match Gonzaga's 22 defensive boards. Barrett finished with a game-high 23 points but needed a whopping 25 shots to get there, and his heroball in the final minute can't possibly be the only option on a team with so many weapons.
The Musketeers (3-3) lost in overtime to No. 8 Auburn and another close game to San Diego State in their first two Maui games.
The Blue Devils (5-0) are 17-0 all-time in Maui after holding off No. 8 Auburn in the semifinals Tuesday night.
Coach K's team doesn't look so invincible anymore, though.
The Zags not only didn't back down, they threw the first punch.
"Zion Williamson and his 6'7", 285-pound frame remain an unsolvable problem early in the shot clock or when the Blue Devils are on the run, but Gonzaga's halfcourt defense supplied the active hands and unflinching contact to make the freshman uncomfortable in traffic, with a big assist from Hachimura's length.
Marques Bolden anchored Duke's defense, blocking seven shots while finishing with 11 points and nine rebounds.
"They were just dictating the flow", Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said.
"I didn't know what they were talking about".
The same went for Gonzaga on Wednesday.
A Duke run was inevitable.