Canes run away from No. 1 Duke
Top-ranked Duke absorbed a first-class beat down on Wednesday night.
As shot after Miami shot fell, the grim glances and dour looks on the Duke bench grew more and more stern.
The No. 25 Hurricanes blasted the top-ranked Blue Devils, building a 30-point lead early in the second half and rolling to a 90-63 ACC win at BankUnited Center.
“Not much to say after that,” visibly angry Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “Men versus boys. They were men; we were boys. The score and the performance reflected that disparity.”
Miami blistered the Blue Devils with 56.9 percent shooting. The ACC-leading Hurricanes (14-3, 5-0) made 58.6 percent of their shots in the first half to take a stunning 42-19 lead at intermission.
When Miami opened the second half with a 7-0 run to build a 49-19 lead, Duke threatened to suffer the indignity of the most lopsided loss ever by a No. 1 team. The only two times a No.1 team lost by more than 30 points was when St. John’s lost by 41 points to Kentucky in 1951 and Houston suffered a 32-point loss to UCLA in 1968.
As it is, Duke suffered its worst loss since a 74-47 drubbing at Clemson on Feb. 4, 2009.
“We have just got to get better,” Duke freshman Rasheed Sulaimon said. “We can’t keep coming out like this. It’s going to keep biting us in the butt if we keep coming out flat.”
Duke (16-2, 3-2) pressed throughout the second half, rotating in fresh players to try to keep its effort at a high level even though its results continued to be lacking. But the Blue Devils couldn’t even manage to outscore Miami over the final 20 minutes of the blowout.
“There’s a disconnect between how good we think we are and how good we actually are,” Duke senior center Mason Plumlee. “We have to get better. That’s the bottom line.”
Getting better starts with Plumlee and Duke’s veteran players, who all turned in sub-par games. Plumlee, fellow senior captain Seth Curry and sophomore point guard Quinn Cook combined to make just 6 of 37 shots, as Duke finished a season-low 29.7 percent from the field.
Curry went scoreless for the first time since his sophomore season in 2010-11, missing all 10 of his shots from the field.
It’s the first time Duke made less than 30 percent of its shots since Feb. 21, 2010 — nearly three years ago.
“Look, you are not going to win if Seth, Quinn and Mason go 6-for-37,” Krzyzewski said. “That’s so unusual that it impacts you in other ways, and it impacts guys that they are supposed to be leading.”
Playing its third game since its third senior captain, Ryan Kelly, suffered a foot injury that has him out indefinitely, Duke continued to appear out of sorts. The Blue Devils have lost two of those three games.
While Duke’s best players faltered, seniors Kenny Kadji and Durand Scott were the ringleaders for Miami. Scott, a guard, scored 25 points and made three of Miami’s nine 3-pointers.
Kadji, a 6-11 forward, made 9 of 11 shots and scored 22 points.
Guard Shane Larkin added 18 points and 10 rebounds. Former Southern High School standout Julian Gamble grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked four shots while scoring five points.
“You have old guys and old, really good guys who are accustomed to playing together,” Krzyzewski said. “They’re men. One young guy, Larkin, plays old. He’s just a terrific player. They’re a great team.”
Miami took control of the game with a 25-1 run in the first half. Duke went eight minutes and 10 seconds without scoring a field goal.
But the Hurricanes shot with confidence and made most of their attempts. The Hurricanes drilled five 3-pointers during that dominating stretch, when they went from trailing 14-13 to leading 38-15.
Miami had enough weapons, but Kadji and Scott did most of the damage with nine points each during the 22-1 stretch.
“We played a complete game, we did everything we planned on doing and we did it the highest level,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. “We played very well. They didn’t have a great game.”
Meanwhile, Duke’s shots bounced around and off the rim with regularity. It didn’t matter if it was a 3-pointer or a layup, a running jumper or a free throw. The Blue Devils couldn’t get a shot to drop.
The Blue Devils shot 22 percent in the first half, making only 2 of 11 from 3-point range to fall into a deep hole from which there was no way to recover.
“We looked horrible tonight,” Krzyzewski said. “They made us look that way, and we helped them.”
No. 25 Miami 90, No. 1 Duke 63
Percentages: FG .297, FT .652. 3-Point Goals: 4-23, .174 (Sulaimon 2-6, Murphy 1-3, Cook 1-5, Thornton 0-4, Curry 0-5). Team Rebounds: 2. Blocked Shots: 2 (Jefferson, Mas. Plumlee). Turnovers: 10 (Mas. Plumlee 4, Thornton 2, Sulaimon 2, Cook, Curry). Steals: 7 (Sulaimon 4, Jefferson, Curry, Thornton).
Percentages: FG .569, FT .556. 3-Point Goals: 9-19, .474 (Scott 3-4, Kadji 2-3, McKinney Jones 2-4, Larkin 2-6, Brown 0-2). Team Rebounds: 5. Blocked Shots: 8 (Gamble 4, Kadji 2, Jekiri, Johnson). Turnovers: 16 (Scott 3, Kadji 3, Larkin 2, Brown 2, Johnson 2, McKinney Jones, Sorenson, Heller, Gamble). Steals: 8 (Gamble 2, Scott 2, Larkin, Jekiri, Kadji, McKinney Jones).
A—7,972. Officials—Karl Hess, Ray Natili, Sean Hull.