A sold-out crowd at the Watsco Center on Monday night saw a 13-point Miami lead with eight minutes left completely fold as 5th ranked Duke ended the game on a 30-9 run to win 83-75.
The ‘Canes forced 12 turnovers in the first half that led to 21 fast-break points to find themselves down 42-40 entering halftime. Junior forward, Anthony Lawrence, had four first half steals while Freshman guard, Chris Lykes, was an offensive spark off the bench scoring eight first half points.
To start the second half, Miami found success with second chance opportunities and some crucial three pointers from Lawrence and Lonnie Walker. A lot of eyes were on Sophomore forward Dewan Huell tonight facing Duke’s duo of future NBA bigs Wendell Carter Jr. and Marvin Bagley III, and to Huell’s credit, he held his own scoring 18 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. Duke’s 3-2 zone allowed Huell to throw multiple put-back dunks and grow the Miami lead to 13 points with 7:59 remaining.
During the final eight minutes, Miami’s offense went stagnant against Duke’s 3-2 zone. The size of freshmen forwards Carter Jr. and Bagley III proved to be problematic for the ‘Canes as they shot 8-22 on layups. Carter had four blocks and altered many shots inside, but also went to work on offense as well scoring 15 points on the undersized Lawrence.
Besides Carter Jr., Duke was led by another Freshman and NBA prospect, Gary Trent Jr., who scored a career-high 30 points against the ‘Canes. Trent Jr. killed Miami from beyond the arc as he shot 6-9 from three point range and added another six points from the charity stripe.
Miami was plagued by the lack of production from their starting guards Ja’Quan Newton and Bruce Brown. The backcourt duo combined 4-16 from the field, scoring 10 points total, and only attempting a combined three free throws. Down the stretch, Miami needs to be able to depend on their guard play to attack the lanes and create shots or attempt free throws, especially against a zone defense, which clearly lacked in tonight’s gut-punching loss.
Coach Larranaga and his squad will look to shake off the home loss on Sunday at NC State.