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Duke Muscles Past Kentucky 79-71

It wasn’t easy but Duke got a great win and no doubt learned a lot too

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State Farm Champions Classic - Kentucky v Duke
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 09: Trevor Keels #1 of the Duke Blue Devils drives to the net against Selton Miguel #3 of the Kansas State Wildcats during the State Farm Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden on November 09, 2021 in New York City.
Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Duke overcame some adversity to post a very impressive 79-71 win over Kentucky Tuesday night in the Garden.

The adversity? Starters Paolo Banchero and Wendell Moore both had second-half cramps.

The funny thing is right about when that all started is when Duke broke a close game open.

Duke was up just 49-48 with 15:45 to go.

That’s when Trevor Keels went to work, scoring six of the next eight points for Duke while Banchero was out and Moore was struggling, eventually leaving too.

By the time Keels hit his third shot Duke was up 57-50. Kentucky would rally, cutting the lead to 69-65 with 6:09 left.

But it was Duke’s night. The Blue Devils rebuilt a double-digit lead and Kentucky was never in position to threaten again.

It was too bad for the Cats because Oscar Tshiebwe was sensational. He had seven offensive rebounds early, finished with 12 offensvie rebounds, 19 overall and 17 points. He was a real handful for Mark Williams and Theo John, who racked up six fouls between them. Tshiebwe is like a free radical just bouncing off of everything and grabbing the ball. Coach K at one point asked him in high school if he was a machine: “No, I’m Oscar.” We love him.

Oscar had a bit of Moses Malone’s toughness and Hakeem Olajuwon’s bounce. He was a lot of fun to watch.

Keels finished with 25 for Duke while Banchero had 22 and Moore 12. Williams had three blocks and seven boards. Banchero and, impressively,Jeremy Roach matched him on the boards.

Jim will be along soon with his take.


Player Of The Game vs. Kentucky

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    Wendell Moore
    (7 votes)
  • 2%
    Paolo Banchero
    (17 votes)
  • 0%
    Mark Williams
    (4 votes)
  • 0%
    Jeremy Roach
    (3 votes)
  • 93%
    Trevor Keels
    (718 votes)
  • 0%
    AJ Griffin
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Joey Baker
    (7 votes)
  • 1%
    Theo John
    (10 votes)
  • 0%
    Jaylen Blakes
    (4 votes)
772 votes total Vote Now