Blue Devils have plenty of motivation vs. Canes
Physically, facing a fellow top-five team less than 48 hours after absorbing a loss on the road will be difficult for Duke.
Mentally and emotionally, though, the No. 3 Blue Devils figure to have few problems being charged up today when No. 5 Miami visits Cameron Indoor Stadium (6 p.m., ESPN).
Miami’s 90-63 bludgeoning of Duke in Coral Gables, Fla., on Jan. 23 means the ACC-leading Hurricanes (23-4, 14-1) clearly have the Blue Devils’ attention. During the second half of the game, with the Miami lead perpetually at least 20 points, the Hurricanes enjoyed themselves with plenty of highlight reel dunks.
Some of Miami’s players even slapped the court on defense, mocking the signature move by Duke players in the past.
“They embarrassed us in a lot of different ways other than just the floor slap,” Duke senior guard Seth Curry said. “We just want to get back out there and play again and get a win.”
Curry was one of many Duke players who played poorly the first time the Blue Devils (24-4, 11-4) faced Miami. Curry missed all 10 of his field goal attempts to finish scoreless.
How rare was that performance? Curry is averaging 16.8 points this season and has scored at least 20 points six times since that night, including 28 points in Thursday night’s 73-68 loss at Virginia.
Still, Duke fell behind by 12 points early at Virginia and never was able to get a handle on the game. The Cavaliers held Duke scoreless for a five-minute stretch early in the second half and never were threatened as Duke shot just 39.6 percent.
After returning to Durham in the wee hours Friday morning, the Blue Devils gathered for video review and a practice by 1:30 p.m.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski isn’t worried about his team not having to dwell very long on the loss before beginning preparation for Miami.
“We’ll get ready,” Krzyzewski said. “We’ll play. We’ve won a lot of games doing it that way. We have a quick turnaround. No excuses. You get beat. Next play. Let’s go.”
Curry said he’s glad to jump right back into a big game after the Blue Devils played in a mediocre fashion against the Cavaliers.
“That’s what you want,” Curry said. “When you lose or have a bad game, you want to get back out there on the court as quick as possible and be better. That’s why I like this game. Instead of having to sit around and dwell on this loss, you get to get back out there and compete again.”
The question is whether Duke can make the game more competitive. Nothing went right for Duke at Miami, but the Blue Devils are unbeaten in 14 home games at Cameron Indoor Stadium this season.
That 29.7 percent shooting night at Miami is one of only two times Duke shot less than 40 percent in a game — the other was Thursday night.
Like Virginia, Miami has experience and physical strength. The Hurricanes have clinched a share of the ACC regular-season championship and the top seed for next week’s ACC Tournament in Greensboro.
A large amount of the credit goes seniors Durand Scott and Kenny Kadji, who are both averaging 13 points. Julian Gamble, a sixth-year senior from Southern High, shares time in the post with rugged 6-10 senior Reggie Johnson.
Those players, along with ACC player of the year candidate Shane Larkin, have helped the Hurricanes dominate the ACC this season.
No one knows that better than the Blue Devils, who look forward to their second game with Miami.
“We lost,” Cook said. “It doesn’t matter if we lost by one or 27. We take losses very seriously. They are a great team. We’re looking forward to playing them again.”