Rival knew a Duke basketball forward would be easy to dominate

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

A rival player knew a matchup with a Duke basketball forward would be easy to dominate. 

The matchup on Tuesday night between the Duke basketball team and the Pittsburgh Panthers (8-2, 4-1 ACC) had all types of intriguing storylines, but the biggest wasn’t know until after the game.

Pittsburgh sophomore wing Justin Champagnie had been one of the best players in the ACC until a knee injury sidelined him for approximately four weeks.

The Brooklyn, New York native was expected to be out between six and eight weeks but made his return to the floor last Saturday against Syracuse to drop 24 points, 16 rebounds, and two blocks in a victory over the Orange.

However, entering Tuesday’s matchup against Duke (5-4, 3-2 ACC), the 6-foot-6 standout had more reasons to be motivated.

ALSO READ: History made in Duke loss to Pittsburgh

“Before the game, I kept saying to myself, ‘I don’t think he’s better than me.’ And I went out there and I kinda proved it,” Justin Champagnie said following the Panthers’ victory about Blue Devil sophomore forward Matthew Hurt.

Hurt had been getting a lot of national coverage as the frontrunner for ACC Player of the Year ahead of the battle with Pittsburgh, but that conversation has now shifted to Champagnie.

Justin Champagnie dropped 31 points, 14 rebounds, and five blocks on Hurt and the Blue Devils while the Rochester, Minnesota native only chipped in 13 points, six rebounds, and three assists while turning his ankle in the 79-73 loss.

The Duke basketball forward did nothing to motivate Justin Champagnie.

Normally when you see these types of quotes in sports, it was spurred on by some action or comment from the opponent, but Matthew Hurt did none of that.

In fact, because of the struggles of the Blue Devils, more people were talking about the chances Duke misses the NCAA Tournament ahead of its matchup with Pittsburgh instead of its sophomore forward being the best player in the league.

ALSO READ: Not many positives in Duke’s most recent loss

There was no ‘bulletin board’ quote from Matthew Hurt. It was just a great job by Champagnie at self-motivating himself, or by his coaches, to put a beatdown on the Blue Devils, and he did exactly that.

Reeling Duke will try and finish its three-game road trip with a victory over the Louisville Cardinals (9-3, 4-2 ACC) on Saturday while Pittsburgh will travel to North Carolina to face the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (3-6, 0-6 ACC) on Saturday evening.

Trending. Duke basketball star Grayson Allen drills game-winning shot for Grizzlies. light