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Duke Takes Out Louisville With A Star Turn From Mark Williams

Okay this guy clearly has earned a nickname

ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament - Second Round
 GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA - MARCH 10: Jae’Lyn Withers #24 of the Louisville Cardinals grabs a rebound against Mark Williams #15 and Matthew Hurt #21 of the Duke Blue Devils during the second half of their second round game in the ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament at Greensboro Coliseum on March 10, 2021 in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Duke has had a frustrating time with Louisville lately and had lost three straight to the Cardinals including an overtime loss in Cameron near the end of the regular season.

As we’ve said before, a young team has to at some point just decide it’s not going to take losing anymore and Duke appears to have hit that point. We’re not saying Duke can’t be beat but we are saying the other team will have to earn it.

Duke came out and really went after Louisville and on top of everything that went well for the Blue Devils, Mark Williams had what Mason Plumlee once called a “man’s 2” with 23 points and 19 rebounds.

That was a tremendous performance, not least of all when you consider how often Louisville affected his shot or knocked the ball loose. Williams could easily put on 30-40 lbs. as he matures and when he does, he’s going to be impossible to deal with. Strength is about the only thing he lacks right now.

But it wasn’t just Williams. Duke has made a typical late-season adjustment, giving Wendell Moore more ball-handling responsibilities. It’s helped out the freshmen guards DJ Steward and Jeremy Roach, who have been mistake prone and had way too many turnovers. In this game Steward had one and Roach had none.

True, Moore has had four in each game so far but he is much steadier now than he was earlier in the season and is playing like a veteran. And look at his stat line: nine points, six boards and five assists. His play has made a huge difference.

Matthew Hurt played well too, shooting 7-12 and scoring 20 while grabbing five boards of his own. Duke lacks a serious power player right now but Hurt at times does a pretty good job of that.

Duke also held Louisville’s Carlik Jones to 13 on 5-14 shooting and just one three. In the previous two games, he had had 24 and 25 and Duke lost by five and seven.

So the Devils live to fight another day which means Florida State Thursday night. And they’re looking reasonably fresh too, which is good because FSU can wear a team out.

Jim will be along soon with his take from courtside.

Poll

Player Of The Game vs. Louisville

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    Wendell Moore
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    Matthew Hurt
    (3 votes)
  • 96%
    Mark Williams
    (450 votes)
  • 0%
    DJ Steward
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    Jeremy Roach
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    Henry Coleman
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Jaemyn Brakefield
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Joey Baker
    (4 votes)
  • 0%
    Jordan Goldwire
    (2 votes)
466 votes total Vote Now