Miami entered Saturday night’s marquee matchup with Atlantic Coast Conference rival Duke Blue Devils averaging 82.2 points per game over a five game winning streak. While they took a level of offensive momentum into the Watsco Center, it didn't translate to the defensive end of the floor in a 95-62 loss.
Miami was outscored 72-42 in the final 30 minutes of the contest after trailing just 23-20 just 10 minutes into the matchup. The Hurricanes led by as much as three points just five minutes into the game, but seeing any lead evaporate for good less than a minute later even while employing their often-successful 2-3 zone defense.
And while the Canes showed glimpses of life in short moments of the game, from that point on there was little doubt who would walk away from game victorious.
Miami’s dynamic duo of Chris Lykes and DJ Vasiljevic were held static Saturday night, with neither player crossing the ten-point threshold. The junior point guard scored just eight points, while the Australian sharpshooter had nine with just one three-pointer.
The Blue Devils outshot Miami both in overall field goal percentage (59.7-39.7%) and on three-pointers (42.9-16.7%). Duke out-rebounded the Hurricanes 41-24, recored 23 assists to UM’s six, and registered 23 points off turnovers compared to just eight by Jim Larrañaga’s team, even with just one additional takeaway.
Duke also held advantages on fast break points (18-4) and bench points (25-14).
Vernon Carey Jr. led both teams in scoring with 24 points, also came close to achieving his ninth double-double with a game-high nine rebounds. But the son of the former Hurricanes offensive lineman was just one of UM’s issues, with Cassius Stanley’s 20 points to show as proof. Matthew Hurt rounded out the Blue Devil’s in double-figures with 13 points.
Kameron McGusty led the home team in points with 12 but pulled down no rebounds. Sam Waardenburg logged a team-high six rebounds and trailed only McGusty in points with 11.
McGusty’s 10 first half points were a team-high, with Waardenburg’s nine coming right behind even while briefly taking a seat on the bench to be treated with ice on his knee.
Stanley led his Blue Devils with 16 first half points, followed closely by Carey with 12. Matthew Hurt was third-best among the visiting team before the break with seven points, including a three-pointer right before the buzzer to give his team a 50-36 lead.
And if UM fans thought the first half was difficult to watch, being outscored 45-26 in the second half sent swaths of the Watsco Center crowd out to US-1 before the clock hit double zeros.
The loss snaps a five-game winning streak for Miami, which had equaled their longest string of victories since their opening five matchups a season ago. Duke meanwhile wins their seventh straight and their third in a row over the Hurricanes.
The road doesn't get any easier for Miami, who will face the Louisville Cardinals on Monday night at the KFC Yum! Center, with a 7 p.m. tipoff representing a rematch of UM’s season opening 87-74 loss at the Watsco Center. The Canes come home in time for a Sunday matchup with the Pittsburgh Panthers.