Ryan Kelly was in the starting line-up for Duke, ditto Reggie Johnson for Miami!! Dick Vitale's voice sounded hoarse at the onset. After a week of hype and build-up from ESPN this game could not have been more highly anticipated.
But it was only one of two surprise starters who would steal the show in a classic contest.
Durand Scott came out hot with 6 of UM's first 8. Kelly missed his first trifecta but swished his second as the Crazies roared in approval. Miami led 8-5 at the first time out, withstanding the early emotion of Duke and the building. Kelly knocked in 2 more buckets, playing effectively off of adrenaline, but Julian Gamble three point play kept the 'Canes up 4. Mason Plumlee got going briefly for the Devils but Scott got into the lane at will, as both teams played at a fast pace. Kenny Kadji and Kelly traded 3's as the game remained close and well played. Scott looked to hit his head on a camera as he drove into heavy contact under the rim, but was ok.
The SportsCenter top 10 moment of the half occurred when Johnson found Kadji off a double team, and Kadji delivered a one-handed thunderous dunk over Kelly (see above).
Nonetheless behind Kelly's red shot shooting and a missed goal-tending call, Duke tied it up at 31. Kelly knocked down 5 for 7 on three point attempts in the opening stanza. The first half was punch/counter-punch with Trey McKinney Jones' runner in the lane giving the 'Canes a 36-34 advantage at the half.
Kelly led all scorers in the first 20 minutes with 20 points. Kadji paced Miami with 10.
The early story of the second half were 2 quick foul calls on Johnson, saddling him to the bench with 4. The teams traded buckets with Quinn Cook matching Kadji's 3 ball to even things up at 43. But the sizzling Kadji scored again on a pull up to keep UM up 2 at the TV timeout. Cook hit another bomb to give the Dookies the lead but Larkin made consecutive runners to take it right back.
Seth Curry, previously ice cold, nailed one off the screen, putting Duke ahead 53-51 at the 12 minute mark. Dickie V was doing his best to will the Devils on. All joking aside, this game was being played at an exceptionally high level on both ends.
Miami pulled by ahead by 3 with some great hustle by both Rion Brown and Erik Swoope, leading to extra possessions. But Ryan Kelly's gazillionith three pointer gave the Devils the lead right back. The story of the game was clearly the Hurricanes dominance inside Vs Duke's sharpshooting.
Shane Larkin hit just Miami's 4th triple of the game to cut the lead to 1, but Kelly's 7th three boosted it right back to 4. Ryan Kelly couldn't miss!!
Larkin scored on a drive to cut it back to 2, but on the follow through Kelly flopped to the floor for a charge call and one free throw, and was the recipient of another touch call for 2 more to build it back to a 5 point lead. At this point in the game the 'Canes poise was really tested. Larkin responded with another bucket. But Rasheed Sulaiman scored on a drive and an awful turnover by UM led to another bucket. A non call on a Scott drive that led to another Devils basket and a 10 point lead with 2 and a half minutes to go appeared to seal it. But there was no quit in these Hurricanes!!
Larkin nailed a three, and Miami started to foul. Plumlee accommodated going 2 for 4 at the line and McKinney Jones hit another triple to cut the lead to 78-75 with a minute to go. Back to back Devils turnovers gave Miami life. Larkin hit one of two free throws to cut it to 2 and UM forced another turnover and had a chance to take the lead. But the 'Canes gave it right back. With 30 seconds to go Duke in-bounded. Curry got fouled and made just one. Larkin raced up court and was just short on a long bomb, Scott got the board and found Kadji in the corner but his three also rattled off at the buzzer. Duke had survived.
Player of the Game: Ryan Kelly and his 36 points (7-9 on threes) made the difference. I have little doubt minus Kelly UM wins this game.
The Good: Shane Larkin was his sensational self with 25. Miami out-boarded Duke 39-23. UM showed incredible toughness in coming back to nearly steal it.
The Bad: We love Big Reg. We know he's going to come back strong. But 0-5 and no points on the day hurt Miami's chances.
The Ugly: The 'Canes killed the Devils on the glass, but the Dookies nearly made more FTs then UM attempted.
Next Game: Miami returns home to the BUC, to take on Georgia Tech, Wednesday 3/6 at 9PM.
|Trey McKinney Jones||4-6||2-3||2-2||0||6||0||1||12|
- Technical Fouls:
- Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, NC