clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

A Young Duke Falters In The Second Half, Falls To Ohio State 71-66

A tough night but a learning experience

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

NCAA Basketball: Duke at Ohio State
 Nov 30, 2021; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Duke Blue Devils guard Jeremy Roach (3) goes for the loose ball with Ohio State Buckeyes guard Jamari Wheeler (55) during the first half at Value City Arena.
Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

We knew going into the season that Duke was very talented but very young. For all but the final hours of November that talent was so impressive that it was easy to forget that Duke was starting two freshmen and two sophomores.

But underclassmen make underclassmen mistakes and those mistakes caught up with Duke in the second half of their 71-66 loss to Ohio State. Duke led by as much as 15 points early in the second half and by 11 with just over seven minutes to play.

But the foul-plagued Blue Devils couldn’t buy a basket against the physical home team down the stretch, missing seven of their final eight shots from the field, with some missed foul shots and costly turnovers mixed in. Freshmen Paolo Banchero and Trevor Keels were heavily involved in those miscues; chances to extend the lead, chances to regain the lead, chances to tie the game, one empty possession after another.

On the other end of the court, the Buckeyes were on fire, with Cedric Russell scoring six points and E.J. Liddell four in the final 2:34, as Ohio State finished the game on a decisive 12-0 run, the kind of run Duke usually throws on the other team and likely will again this season if they learn from their mistakes, of which there were many.

The suddenness of the collapse was stunning. Ohio State led 13-7 early but Duke used runs of 20-6 and 14-5 to take a 43-30 lead into intermission. Banchero and Wendell Moore, Jr. had 10 points apiece, while Duke shot a blistering 63 percent from the field.

But there were some warning signs. Banchero ended the half with three fouls, while Moore, Keels and Mark Williams all had two. Ohio State didn’t take advantage from the line, missing 7 of 10 from the line. But you can’t count on a good team shooting 30 percent from the line indefinitely. And many of Ohio State’s nine first-half turnovers were the kind of sloppy turnovers that a well-coached team can clean up.

And no one from Duke wanted to give that crowd of 19,000 any excuse to increase an already impressive decibel level.

Duke actually led by 15 points three times early in the second half. But the much-hyped Duke defense simply couldn’t get stops when it needed them. Preseason All-American Liddell wasn’t the unstoppable force. Instead wide-body center Zed Key abused Duke inside and scored seven points in three key minutes when Duke appeared to be poised to hold on.

And then Liddell and Russell took over.

Key ended with a game-high 20 points, while helping foul out Theo John, who played only 15 minutes.

Liddell had 14 points, 14 rebounds and six assists.

Moore led Duke with 17 points but Banchero scored only four points after intermission to finish with 14. No one else hit double figures for Duke.

And Duke didn’t get a single point from its bench in the second half.

Ohio State out-rebounded Duke 40-36 and committed only three second half turnovers, while making the big foul shots it needed to make down the stretch.

Duke ended up shooting 38 percent from the field overall, a woeful 22.6 percent in the second half.

So Duke enters exam break with its first loss of the season and that number one ranking a memory but with plenty of time to fix what needs to be fixed.

A season is still a lifetime.


Player Of The Game vs. Ohio State

This poll is closed

  • 74%
    Wendell Moore
    (214 votes)
  • 1%
    Paolo Banchero
    (5 votes)
  • 3%
    Mark Williams
    (11 votes)
  • 1%
    Jeremy Roach
    (5 votes)
  • 0%
    Trevor Keels
    (1 vote)
  • 2%
    AJ Griffin
    (6 votes)
  • 3%
    Joey Baker
    (11 votes)
  • 1%
    Theo John
    (5 votes)
  • 10%
    Bates Jones
    (30 votes)
288 votes total Vote Now