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Devilish Comeback!

Duke pulls off an amazing comeback in Miami

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Duke vs Miami
Miami Hurricanes’ Dewan Huell (20) fights for a rebound with Duke Blue Devils’ Marvin Bagley III (35) and Wendell Carter, Jr. (34) in the first period at the Watsco Center Monday, Jan. 15, 2018 in Miami.
Charles Trainor Jr./Miami Herald/TNS via Getty Images

Duke had 19 turnovers, were down 13 late and looked dead in the water at Miami, pun intended. But the Blue Devils pulled off a tremendous comeback to beat Miami 83-75 and move to 4-2 in the ACC.

So how the hell did they do that?

We’re still trying to figure it out.

Duke pulled off a 30-9 run over the last 7:59 to close the game out scoring 18 points before Miami managed to score again. It took Duke just 3:30 to erase the lead and tie the game at 66-66. And from there, it was pretty much all Duke.

It sure wasn’t like that early. Duke looked awful. The Blue Devils had those 19 turnovers but it was more than that. Marvin Bagley left the game in the first minute, apparently with a shoulder injury, but came back.

Whether it was the injury or not, Bagley wasn’t his usual self. He’s been a devastating offensive rebounder all year but in this one, Trevon Duval got more than he did. He finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds.

This time out Wendell Carter was the big man inside with 15 points and 14 rebounds.

But a lot had to change for Duke to come back and win this one.

After the 19 turnovers that just killed Duke early, the last one the Blue Devils recorded was with 11:10 left in the game. That was a big deal.

And a big part of it was Gary Trent.

Everyone turned it up late but no one more than Trent.

The freshman from Minnesota hit for 30 including one three to cut it the lead to ten then another three after Duval bobbled a bad from Bagley under the Miami basket. Duval came down and hit Trent in the right corner for a quick three to cut Miami’s lead to seven at 66-59.

Bagley made a three point play the old-fashioned way to cut the lead to 66-62 with 6:24 left.

Then Grayson Allen, who has struggled with his shot terribly the last few games, stole the ball from Bruce Brown and went down for a dunk to cut it to 66-64, much to Larranaga’s disgust (he thought Allen grabbed his arm, something Dick Vitale agreed with on air).

Carter, who was sensational all night, then hit a spinng layup with 5:14 left to tie the game.

Miami at this point looked absolutely stunned.

On the next trip down court, Carter blocked a shot and Trent picked it up and threw it at Lonnie Walker’s leg and it went out of bound to Duke.

Duval hit a go-ahead layup next trip down to give Duke a lead it would not relinquish.

Everything was different now. Miami was shellshocked while Duke was playing with immense alertness and passion.

Then something happened we’ve seen a bit more of lately but it’s still a surprise: with 3:32 left, Duval hit a three to put Duke up five.

Miami finally scored again as Bruce Brown converted a layup and finished a three point play.

Carter spun to the baseline and hit a layup to give Duke a four point lead back at 73-69.

Miami cut the lead back to three before what to us was one of the most special plays of the game and season: with 1:36 left, Miami’s Dewan Huell, all 6-11 of him, drove to the basket with only Carter in front of him.

Carter went up with him and not only blocked the shot but came down with the ball.

This was one of the great blocks in recent Duke history. If someone showed the play to Bill Russell, he’d cackle because it was that good: not only was it a block but Duke got the ball back with a three point lead.

Trent came to the top of the key and on a pass from Duval nailed a three to give Duke a 76-70 lead.

Look how key that block was.

Miami fouled after a Lonnie Walker miss and put Duval on the line. He missed but got the back and drove for a twisting layup, giving Duke a 78-70 lead.

Gary Trent hit a pair of free throws before Miami hit a three to cut the lead back to 80-73 then he hit another pair to put Duke up nine.

Duval stole the in-bounds, was fouled and split his. Walker then Walker then with 14.2 left and Miami conceded, not challenging Duke as time wound down.

It certainly wasn’t a perfect game. Anyone who watched it knew that Duke was on the verge before the Blue Devils took care of the ball and started to defend. Duke had 19 turnovers in 30 minutes - that’s disastrous.

And until the comeback, Duke didn’t really defend very well.

Make no mistake though: this was an important game for Duke. Miami played very, very well for most of the game. For Duke to come back on the road, against a more mature team playing about as well as it is capable of was tremendous.

After the game, Trent was interviewed on ESPN and said the reason Duke won was because it cracked down on defense.

That’s absolutely true but it wasn’t just that. It was that Duke’s composure suddenly returned. The Blue Devils, as Trent also said, began to play like men.


Player of the game vs. Miami

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    Grayson Allen
    (11 votes)
  • 0%
    Marvin Bagley
    (9 votes)
  • 14%
    Wendell Carter
    (133 votes)
  • 80%
    Gary Trent
    (740 votes)
  • 1%
    Trevon Duval
    (10 votes)
  • 0%
    Jack White
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    Alex O’ Connell
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    Justin Robinson
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Jordan Goldwire
    (9 votes)
918 votes total Vote Now

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