Reaction: Blue Devils Beat Hurricanes In Comeback Win

Duke basketball (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
Duke basketball (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images) /

The Duke Blue Devils were down by as many as 13 in the second half, including an eight plus minute scoring drought, but battled back to beat the Miami Hurricanes 83-75. It was the teams first road win of the year against a ranked opponent.

It’s never easy with this team is it?

In the first half, Miami was feeding off of the crowd energy and going for the jugular early. The Hurricanes were taking ridiculous shots that weren’t falling, but you could tell they had the swagger to hang with Duke tonight. They were getting leak out after leak out and clearly had more energy than the Blue Devils. It only seemed like a matter of time before those shots started falling and the game got out of hand.

In the second half, those shots started falling and the game got out of hand. When Miami was in the midst of building their 13 point second half lead, Duke looked dead to rights. Miami was taking them to the woodshed and beating them senseless. They got whatever they wanted, played with more energy and looked more like the number five ranked team in the nation than Duke did.

Coach K went to zone in the second half and it stunned the Hurricanes. A lot of standing around and a lot less dribble driving. It sparked the Duke comeback, a 30-9 run to end the game and get the win.

Marvin Bagley got hurt early but returned and didn’t have a regular Bag man game. He had 13 points on 5-10 shooting and grabbed 12 rebounds. Duke got really caught up in trying to force feed him the ball, which I’m perfectly okay with, but Miami had a good defense for him. That led to more kick outs and benefited Gary Trent Jr who had a career high 30 points and has pure ice running through his veins. Trent needed to have a big game and finally had it against a quality opponent. Wendell Carter added 15 and 14 while recording a double double with just over three minutes left in the first half. Even Trevon Duval made some big shots and secured some big rebounds in the later stages of the game.

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Big picture? This is a big step in the right direction. When they switched to zone, Miami seemed dumbfounded. That’s not going to happen with better opponents than Miami. The switch to zone worked because Miami is an emotional rollercoaster of a team. You saw it in the first half when they were trying to hit the daggers and in the second half when they started making them. Duke looks more committed to defense, more committed to getting stops, and more committed to the Duke way.