The Miami Hurricanes got a big upset win on Monday night when they beat the Duke Blue Devils 77-75 at home. The Hurricanes defeated a talented Duke team that had won it’s last two games in a row heading into the contest.
Miami was helped by the return of Elijah Olaniyi, who had missed the Hurricanes’ last few games due to injury. Olaniyi led Miami in scoring against the Blue Devils with 21 points, and added seven rebounds to lead the Hurricanes to the victory. Isaiah Wong, who played after rolling his ankle in Miami’s last game against Wake Forest, and Anthony Walker were also key for the Hurricanes, both players had 16 points.
The Hurricanes used balanced offense to get the victory. Miami had 40 points in the paint during the game but also shot 53.8% from beyond the arc. This balanced approach got Miami to the victory despite poor shooting from the free throw line and 14 turnovers. Fortunately for Miami, Duke turned the ball over 13 times themselves and shot just 46% from the field for the game, shooting just 27.8% from three-point range.
Much of the game was a back-and-forth affair with each team swapping leads throughout both halves. Miami started to gain control in the latter stages of the first half, with an Anthony Walker shot giving Miami a six-point lead with 4 minutes left in the half. Duke responded to the Hurricanes run just before the break, flipping things on the Hurricanes and making a run of their own to take a two point 35-33 lead into the break.
Out of halftime two quick scores from Duke extended their lead to six as it looked like they may start to take control of the game. However, Miami responded and with 14 minutes left in the game things were tied at 41. At this point the game really started to swing back-and forth, with each team taking the lead for short stretches. Duke got ahead first through a Mark Williams jumper, before Jordan Goldwire hit a three to maintain their lead. Anthony Walker then made a three to give the Hurricanes the lead before another stretch of lead changes resulted in the game evening out at 51-51 with 10 minutes left to play.
At the 10 minute mark the Hurricanes started a six-point run that gave them a 57-51 lead with eight minutes remaining. Duke responded and almost tied the game back up with six minutes left, but the Hurricanes had gotten out to the lead that they would maintain for the entire rest of the game. A timely and-one from Isaiah Wong and a three from Elijah Olaniyi gave the Hurricanes complete control with a 69-63 lead heading into the final three minutes of the game.
DJ Steward made a three to pull Duke to within one possession of the lead before Isaiah Wong responded with a clutch basket of his own to extend Miami’s lead to five with two and a half minutes remaining. Jalen Johnson scored on a layup to get the Blue Devils back within three points before Elijah Olaniyi went 1-2 at the line to put Miami back up by two possessions. Johnson again brought Duke to within two of Miami with another clutch basket, but a huge shot from Anthony Walker and another 1-2 trip to the line for Olaniyi gave Miami a five point lead with 41 seconds remaining.
Anthony Walker made a serious mistake by fouling Matthew Hurt on a three-point attempt with 14 seconds left. Hurt made all three free throws, part of a team-leading 21 point performance, to pull the Blue Devils to within two of the lead at 75-73. Fortunately, Walker made up for his mistake by making two free throws. Wendell Moore made a layup to get Duke a chance to win at the end of the game, but the Blue Devils took too much time to get their shot off and Miami survived to get the 77-75 win.
Miami got a much-needed win on Monday night. The Hurricanes were boosted by the return of Olaniyi, who was their best player tonight, on the way to the win. Miami remains reliant on seven scholarship players as the season goes on, but maybe the win over Duke can serve as a momentum boost for the rest of the season.
The Hurricanes have a few days off before taking on No.16 Virginia Tech on Saturday at the Watsco Center. That game is scheduled to tip-off at 12:00 p.m. and will be broadcast on Fox Sports Sun.