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Duke Rips Pitt 87-52

As the Blue Devils take the Panthers to the woodshed.

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NCAA Basketball: Duke at Pittsburgh
Jan 10, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Marvin Bagley III (35) shoots against Pittsburgh Panthers guard Shamiel Stevenson (23) and guard Marcus Carr (5) during the first half at the Petersen Events Center. 
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Duke had no particular trouble with Pitt, racing out to a 12-2 lead and never looking back.

To be sure there is a big difference in Duke’s talent versus Pitt’s, but Duke approached this game with supreme intensity.

A handful of stats sum up what Pitt was up against:

  • The Panthers had 15 turnovers to 17 baskets.
  • Pitt had 13 offensive rebounds, Marvin Bagley had nine by himself.
  • Duke hit 12 three pointers to Pitt’s four.

So you have to give Pitt credit for the second-half heart the team showed.

Duke went into the half up 50-24 and the game basically over. Pitt really did fight, outmanned though they were, and cut the lead to 58-41 on guts, hustle and a three point shot by Parker Stewart.

It was enough to make Coach K call a timeout to refocus his team. Like us, he’s seen teams let up in the second half and found themselves on the wrong end of momentum and the outcome suddenly in doubt.

Toss in foul and apparent ankle trouble for Wendell Carter and the missing Marques Bolden (knee sprain) and Javin DeLaurier (hamstring) and the potential for disaster, however slight, was there.

Didn’t happen.

Duke met and surpassed Pitt’s impressive intensity and the game was pretty much in the bag.

Duke got another double-double from Marvin Bagley with 16 points and fifteen rebounds. He might’ve scored more but Pitt usually double-teamed him and hammered him relentlessly when he tried to move. Duke had six turnovers and four of those were Bagley’s, at least some resulting from Pitt’s very physical defense.

Trevon Duval, who had eight turnovers against NC State, had just one against Pitt.

Despite his injury and foul trouble, Carter nearly had a double-double with 10 points and seven boards. Gary Trent finished with 14 on 6-10. Among the starters, only Grayson Allen had a poor shooting night, hitting 4-12 for 11 points.

Duke got a solid contribution from bench players too.

Justin Robinson finished with 10 points and hit three three pointers. Alex O’ Connell had eight. Antonio Vrankovic and Jordan Goldwire both scored a bucket.

We know it was Pitt and not Michigan State but Duke’s bench came through nicely and in particular Robinson.

It’s easy to focus on his three point shooting, which was really nice, but there’s no public stat for rotating to an open Pitt player under the basket. There’s no way for most of us to place a value on his ability to communicate to his young teammates.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Robinson barely plays, but he’s one of the most important players on the team. He’s really something.

Overall, the best thing in this game was the verve and confidence Duke showed. This team showed immense confidence and heart. It shut Pitt down constantly, took the ball away repeatedly and simply outworked Pitt.

The defense was dramatically improved as Pitt was held to 52 points and 33.3% from the floor (and 25% from deep).

The Blue Devils are young and despite immense talent, unpolished. This game could really help them.


Player of the game vs. Pitt

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    Grayson Allen
    (20 votes)
  • 28%
    Marvin Bagley
    (202 votes)
  • 0%
    Wendell Carter
    (4 votes)
  • 4%
    Trevon Duval
    (31 votes)
  • 4%
    Gary Trent
    (29 votes)
  • 0%
    Alex O’ Connell
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    Jordan Goldwire
    (1 vote)
  • 54%
    Justin RobinsonJustin Robinson
    (388 votes)
  • 3%
    Jack White
    (28 votes)
  • 0%
    Antonio Vrankovic
    (3 votes)
709 votes total Vote Now

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