History made in Duke basketball loss to Pittsburgh

Duke basketball (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports) /

434. 79. 444. Final. 73

There was history made all over the court in the Duke basketball loss to Pittsburgh

Playing in its first game as an unranked program since 2016, the Duke basketball program didn’t look motivated and angry to prove its doubters wrong.

The Blue Devils (5-4, 3-2 ACC) looked flat and with no desire to play basketball on a Tuesday night against Pittsburgh (8-2, 4-1 ACC) as the Panthers jumped out to an 8-0 run, forcing Mike Krzyzewski to burn a timeout in the first two minutes.

Duke rallied, and the two teams traded baskets until Pittsburgh went up by 12, 43-31, at the end of the first half, eventually taking a nine-point lead into halftime.

The second half began very similar to the first as the Panthers were able to balloon their lead up to 15 points before Jalen Johnson provided the spark the Blue Devils needed.

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In his first full game back since a foot injury, the five-star freshman was better than advertised as he tried to single-handedly will Duke back into the game, but foul trouble disqualified him with 2:15 left and down by three.

Duke got within two points of the Panthers on two occasions in the final two minutes but lacked the defensive stops and offensive threats to draw even with Pittsburgh as Jeff Capel‘s team went on to win, 79-72.

History made in the Duke basketball loss to Pittsburgh

First and foremost, Jeff Capel became the first former assistant coach of Mike Krzyzewski to beat the Hall of Famer that is not named Mike Brey.

Pittsburgh star Justin Champagnie posted 31 points, 14 rebounds, one assist, two steals, and five blocks in the win on 12-of-15 shooting from the field, 4-of-7 from three-point territory, and 3-of-6 from the free throw line.

Champagnie became the first player to post a stat line of at least 30 points, 10 rebounds, and five blocks against a Mike Krzyzewski-led team since Virginia’s Ralph Sampson in the 1982-83 season.

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Au’Diese Toney went for 22 points and 11 rebounds, and he and Champagnie became the first teammates to post 20 points and 10 rebounds against Duke since February 9, 2000, against Maryland (Terence Morris, Lonny Baxter).

However, on the positive side, Duke’s Jalen Johnson came off the bench and went for 24 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists, two steals, and four blocks and became the first player to record at least 20 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists off the bench under Krzyzewski since Corey Maggette in the 1998-99 season.

After already dropping two games in its three-game road trip, Duke will try and salvage the final game of its trip, and work itself back into the NCAA Tournament, against the Louisville Cardinals (9-3, 4-2 ACC) on Saturday, January 23 at 4:00pm EST (ESPN).

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