The Duke basketball team did not put together its best performance on Friday evening.
Nothing that the Duke basketball team showed on Friday night proved that they would be ready to go to Arkansas on Wednesday night for one of the biggest games of the season.
Was it a Thanksgiving hangover? Not taking Southern Indiana seriously? Or Both?
Nevertheless, the Blue Devils looked lost for a majority of its game in Durham against the Eagles.
Southern Indiana walked into Cameron Indoor Stadium and proved it was not scared of mighty Duke and its defense did itself no favors by leaving AJ Smith unguarded for the entire half as the sophomore went for 11 points and nine rebounds in the opening 20 minutes.
Southern Indiana led by four, 35-31, and Jon Scheyer’s message must have resonated at halftime as Duke came out like a different team after the intermission en route to its 80-62 victory, outscoring the Eagles by 22 points in the second half.
Roach, after just two points in the first half, went for 16 points in the second half on 5-of-8 shooting as Filipowski shook off a 2-of-9 shooting start for a 15-point half on 6-of-7 shooting.
Duke ended up out-scoring Souther Indiana, 49-27, in the second half.
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Despite Duke’s advantage on the scoreboard when the final buzzer sounded, the lead was never firmly in control until the final minutes.
In fact, Duke’s largest lead of the night, 18 points, did not come until a conventional 3-point play from Jeremy Roach with 10.9 seconds remaining.
The shooting numbers were a dramatic difference from the first half as Southern Indiana shot 43.8-percent from the field and 50.0-percent from deep while Duke connected on just 37.5-percent of its shots and 1-of-8 attempts from beyond the arc.
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The Blue Devils were able to make 60.7-percent of its attempts in the second half and 40.0-percent from deep in its comeback.
Jared McCain and Tyrese Proctor were able to reach double figures in the victory as No. 9 Duke (5-1) must show a hunger and fire to play determined basketball when it travels to Fayetteville to battle Arkansas (4-3) in the inaugural ACC vs. SEC Challenge (9:15p.m. EST, ESPN).