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Duke Hammers Pitt In The Pete, 86-56

As Coach K’s 42 years of ACC road trips draws to a close

NCAA Basketball: Duke at Pittsburgh
 Mar 1, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward AJ Griffin (21) dunks the ball against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the first half at the Petersen Events Center.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Krzyzewski had an emotional pre-game ceremony with his former player and assistant Jeff Capel, who presented Coach K with a sculpted fist to represent K’s long-held metaphor of the fist as being superior to the five individual fingers of the hand. Coach K, clearly touched, hugged his surrogate son.

Then Duke balled up their own fist and beat the crap out of Capel’s team.

Duke won 86-56 and here’s the funny thing: while Duke got off to a hot start, it took a long time before it seemed like Pitt’s cause was hopeless.

And the Panthers didn’t help themselves with turnovers. Thirteen was less than they had in their last three games, but some of them they more or less just handed to Duke.

And Duke took full advantage of turnovers and defensive lapses. The Blue Devils shot out to a 16-3 lead before Pitt got going and they never got going enough to really cut the lead to less than 15.

Trevor Keels had a brilliant game with 27 points. He shot 5-8 on threes and 10-15 overall. Paolo Banchero racked up 21 on 7-10 from the floor. Wendell Moore had 13 on 4-6 from the floor and 1-2 on threes. he also had six rebounds and five assists. AJ Griffin hit 5-7 but just 1-3 on threes. He also grabbed seven boards.

Duke shot nearly 60 percent from the floor overall and 50 percent on threes (11-22). Toss in 11-13 from the line and it was a great shooting night.

Not so great: Mark Williams wasn’t much of a factor, shooting 1-4 and grabbing just two boards and two blocks. But we kind of worried about his matchup with Pitt’s John Hugley, who had a big night: he had 19 on 8-15 from the floor and his bulk - he’s 280 - was a lot for Williams to deal with.

It’s funny to say that shooting 60 percent and winning by 30 seemed routine and of course it wasn’t. You can’t do that unless you’re playing really well. But we never got a sense that Duke was anywhere near its peak. The reality is that Pitt would have had to have played nearly a perfect game to beat Duke and it’s just not there. Hugley was excellent - for a guy that size he’s really nimble - and Mo Gueye really had some nice moments.

But the only other guy who really stood out was Jamarius Burton.

So that’s it for the road in K’s final ACC season. Duke returns home to Cameron for Saturday’s match with those light-blue fellows from the academically challenged end of 15-501 having learned it can win in any number of ways: with outside shooting, inside muscle, defensive pressure and do it with aplomb.

They can even make a 30 point win seem vaguely insufficient which is ridiculous. Because this Duke team has more weapons now than a Swiss Army knife.


Player Of The Game vs. Pitt

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    Wendell Moore
    (11 votes)
  • 2%
    AJ Griffin
    (14 votes)
  • 3%
    Paolo Banchero
    (26 votes)
  • 0%
    Mark Williams
    (3 votes)
  • 88%
    Trevor Keels
    (603 votes)
  • 0%
    Joey Baker
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Theo John
    (6 votes)
  • 0%
    Jeremy Roach
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Bates Jones
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    Jaylen Blakes
    (3 votes)
  • 1%
    Michael Savarino
    (8 votes)
679 votes total Vote Now