Jim Larranaga couldn't have drawn it up better.
Sold out area -- check.
Rabid home crowd -- check
National audience complete with Dick Vitale at the mic, -- check.
Spine tingling, hair raising, sparking performance on both ends of the floor -- check check check!!!
Most importantly, UM had a full team complete with the return of Reggie Johnson, and clearly that makes them an incredibly explosive squad. One that can also annihilate a #1 ranked opponent.
45 minutes before tip off the student section was already packed. The BUC was electric. The HUGE bombshell pregame was the anticipated return of Reggie Johnson. Reggie participated in warm-ups, and the site of the big fella in uniform added to the intensity of the atmosphere. You could almost sense it was going to be a special night.
Rasheed Sulaiman got Duke going with an early three, but Julian Gamble answered with a tip in and two monstrous blocked shots to get the home crowd going. Reggie Johnson came in at the 14:17 mark and the crowd erupted. Johnson's presence however did not factor big on the offensive end, with 2 early turnovers.
It was a mini burst by Shane Larkin and Durand Scott that gave Miami an early 4 point lead. From there the 'Canes dominated. Larkin, Scott, and Kenny Kadji were unstoppable on the offensive end, and the team defensive led by Gamble's energy and Scott's lock down effort on Seth Curry was exceptional.
Scott was also sharp from the outside,looking at times like he couldn't miss. When Gamble put back a missed three pointer by Larkin, and the lead ballooned up to double figures, the place was up for grabs.
An and one by Scott gave Miami a 32-15 lead as Gamble pumped up the student section. The Hurricanes kept pouring it on behind a well balanced effort. Kenny Kadji's three point play swelled the lead to 38-15. The rout was on!!!
There aren't enough superlatives to describe how well UM played. Feeding off a frenzied home crowd, the 'Canes were everywhere on the floor. Durand Scott nearly matched the Devils by himself with 15 first half points. Miami shot a sterling 58.6% from the floor while holding the Dukies to 22.2%
Miami started the second half with an explosive run. Kadji, Scott, and Larkin helped push the lead up to 30. Duke finally picked itself up off the mat with a mini run of their own. The Devils picked up the pace defensively and the Zebras did too. Some quick whistles and Duke hustle, temporarily cut into the lead.
Every time Duke threatened, Miami answered. Larkin And Scott were everywhere, and played like madmen.
When Johnson finally got on the board with 2 FTs 26 minutes in the student section serenaded him with chants of "REGGIE REGGIE REGGIE!!"
Kenny Kadji capitalized on a perfect lob from Shane Larkin and followed up with a driving layup. Each high flying explosion was outdone by the next. Rion Brown got in the act with a one handed stuff a minute later. Miami was just not going to be denied. The dunk fest continued with Kadji flying through the air like Blake Griffin on multiple occasions. Shane Larkin's 2 handed stuff with just over two minutes to go threatened to blow the roof off the place.
Miami simply put could not have played better. The world of college hoops is sure to take notice.
Much more coverage on this enormous victory to come.
Player of the Game:The entire team. This was a phenomenal effort.
The Good: EVERYTHING. No words for this kind of effort.
The Bad: Nothing!!
The Ugly: This was as close as a perfect effort as one team can play.
Next Game: Miami hosts arch rival, Florida State at 6PM Sunday 1/27.