David Lawson scored the winning goal with 6:35 left in the fourth quarter to lift Duke to a 16-14 victory against Cornell in the NCAA lacrosse semifinals at Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday.
Duke (15-5) advances to Monday's championship to play the winner of the other semifinal between Syracuse and Denver.
The Blue Devils are in the finals for the first time since 2010, when they won their only national championship.
Cornell's Rob Pannell became the NCAA Division I career scoring leader with five goals and two assists to give him 354 career points, passing the mark held by former Duke star Matt Danowski.
Duke broke open what had been a close game by outscoring Cornell (14-6) 7-1 in the third quarter to wipe out a 5-2 deficit.
Cornell's Rob Pannell became the NCAA Division I all-time leader in career points with his 5-goal, 2-assist performance, giving him 354 career points, exceeding the previous NCAA mark held by Matt Danowski.
After Pannell's second goal tied the game at 6-6 with 2:16 left in the first half, the Big Red fell into a scoring draught that lasted 15:07.
It was Pannell that finally broke the spell on his third goal, with 2:09 left in the third quarter. By then, Duke held what appeared to be a comfortable 14-7 lead_thanks to the fine goaltending by Kyle Turri and sharpshooting from Jake Tripucka and Jordan Wolf.
Pannell changed the game in the fourth quarter, scoring two goals and handing out two assists. His fifth goal of the game, with 8:04 left to play, brought Cornell to within 14-12 and was the record-breaker.
But Duke responded with the Lawson goal, followed by Wolf's fourth goal of the game with 39 seconds left and Cornell chasing with an additional defender and an open net.
Pannell led all scorers with seven points (five goals, two assists), while Connor Buczek added three goals and an assist for the Big Red.
With 53 seconds remaining, Buczek made it interesting on his third goal, drawing Cornell to within 15-14, but Duke's Brendan Fowler won the ensuing faceoff, setting up Duke's clincher.
Wolf led the way for Duke with four goals and five points. Duke had seven players score goals. Lawson scored twice, while Tripucka had a hat trick and Josh Dionne also scored twice.
NOTES: Cornell is 0-3 against Duke in the NCAA tournament . In between games Jeff Keith, founder of CT Challenge, was honored in recognition of the positive impact the CT Challenge has had on the lives of cancer survivors throughout the country. Keith lost his leg to cancer at the age of 12 and went on to become an accomplished athlete and Division 1 lacrosse player at Boston College, graduating in 1984. In 1985, Jeff became the first cancer survivor and amputee to run across America, raising $1 million for cancer research.