Devils look to regroup after Canes
Alex Murphy is low on playing experience for Duke.
But even he, as a redshirt freshman, could see that what happened Wednesday night at Miami’s BankUnited Center was striking.
“We believed we could fight and just continue to do whatever we could,” Murphy said. “But it wasn’t good.”
No it wasn’t, not in any way if you looked at the game from a Duke perspective.
The Blue Devils carried the nation’s No. 1 ranking into a game with No. 25 Miami and walked off the court after absorbing a 90-67 loss.
The Hurricanes (14-3, 5-0 ACC) registered the largest win over a top-ranked team since 1968. They handed Duke its worst loss since February 2009.
“We expected them to be terrific,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “We have to match terrific. What you had was a terrific win for them and not a terrific game. We didn’t hold our end of the bargain.”
To those who know the Blue Devils program best, it was quite the development because Duke was run off the court in a beating it is more known for delivering.
“Just shocked,” said former Duke All-American guard Jay Williams, now an ESPN analyst. “I think a lot of people were shocked. Knowing Coach K going on 13-plus years, I know one thing he wants out of his kids is to compete. (Wednesday night) was the first night I’ve seen a team of his that didn’t seem like it competed.”
The serious question now is: How will Duke recover mentally from such a development and move forward? A home game with Maryland looms Saturday (1 p.m., WRAL).
Krzyzewski was asked after the Miami game if this loss reminded him of the famed 109-66 loss to Virginia in the 1983 ACC Tournament at the end of his third season. At the time, Krzyzewski pledged to not forget how that felt, and he’s led Duke to four NCAA championships since then.
“This wasn’t for a championship,” Krzyzewski said Wednesday. “This was a heck of a game. We should have been ready to play. We weren’t. They killed us. You think were not going to show up the next time?”
Duke is, of course, still dealing with the loss of senior forward Ryan Kelly, who has missed the past three games with a right foot injury. The Blue Devils are 1-2 without him.
No timetable has been established for his return, but senior center Mason Plumlee said the Blue Devils can’t use that as an excuse. The season, he said, continues.
“We have to show up,” Plumlee said. “We can’t just have a couple of guys show up. Tonight, no one showed up. We have to get better. We have to come each day. We can’t have a bad practice or a bad game. We have to practice better each day. That will translate if we do that.”
Williams said that’s exactly the attitude Krzyzewski will demand.
“I can only talk to you from a player perspective,” Williams said. “Considering that Duke has Ryan Kelly out, the only way they are going to have a chance is if they scrap and claw and fight for every possession.
“If there’s one thing that I have learned from Michael Krzyzewski is never quit, never stop fighting. That’s the kind of mentality they have to bring in to their next game.”
The Blue Devils returned to practice Thursday afternoon with that plan in mind. By Saturday when Maryland heads into Cameron Indoor Stadium, we’ll know if Duke has made any progress since Wednesday night.