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Duke Blows Pitt Out As Attention Turns To Saturday’s Finale Against UNC

That’s going to be some kind of day.

NCAA Basketball: Duke at Pittsburgh
Mar 1, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Paolo Banchero (5) drives to the basket around Pittsburgh Panthers forward Mouhamadou Gueye (15) during the second half at the Petersen Events Center. Duke won 86-56.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Duke clinched at least a share of the ACC regular season title and wrapped up the top seed in next week’s ACC Tournament with an 86-56 dismantling of Pittsburgh Tuesday night.

I think “clicking on all cylinders” is one of the ways we can describe Duke’s team,

“Juggernaut” would be another.

Or as Mike Krzyzewski said, “I like where my team is right now.”

No one doubts that Duke has a significant talent advantage over Pittsburgh. But still Duke was facing another large and vocal crowd and maybe Duke would get caught looking ahead to Saturday,

And Pitt did beat Duke last season, albeit a much different Duke team than the one that took the floor at Petersen Events Center.

More precisely that Duke team did not have Trevor Keels, Paolo Banchero and A.J. Griffin, the trio of freshmen who combined for 60 points, more than the entire Panthers team.

If Pittsburgh had any notion that they might catch Duke unfocused and looking ahead, they were quickly disabused of that notion. Wendell Moore, Jr. hit a triple 20 seconds into the game, then Keels followed 30 seconds later and it was 6-0 and Duke was off to the proverbial races.

The lead hit double digits at 14-3, barely four minutes into the game and got to 22-7.

The Panthers made a modest comeback. Jamarius Burton made a couple of jumpers and it was 27-18.

Duke snuffed it out in a hurry. Keels scored seven points in about two minutes and Duke took a 36-19 lead into the locker room.

Keels (15) and Banchero (12) decisively outscored Pitt in the first half, a Pitt team that could cobble together only eight first-half field goals in 29 attempts.

Duke never gave Pitt even a glimmer of hope in the second half. The closest it got was 49-35. Duke put it away with a 13-3 run keyed by 3-pointers by Banchero, Griffin and Keels that made it 71-45 and coasted to the win,

The victory was Duke’s seventh straight and puts the Blue Devils at 26-4 overall, 16-3 in the ACC. Duke finishes the road portion of its ACC schedule at 9-1, the only road loss by a point in overtime at Florida State.

Duke hardly did anything wrong on offense. The Blue Devils hit 59 percent from the field, 50 percent (11-22) on 3s, 85 percent from the line and turned it over a paltry six times, while forcing 13.

Pitt did battle Duke to a 27-27 draw on the boards but made only 5 of 18 from beyond the arc and got to the foul line only six times, making three.

And Pitt is a team that gets to the line.

Most of the time.

Keels (27), Banchero (21), Moore (13) and Griffin (12) scored in double figures for Duke. .

This quartet hit 26 of 38 from the field.

That’s 68 percent.

Moore added six rebounds and five assists, Griffin seven rebounds and two steals.

John Hugley led Pitt with 19 points and eight rebounds, while Burton ended with 13 points.

Krzyzewski made it clear that he wanted that ACC regular-season title but that he’s after bigger game.

“It’s great, you know but my goal every year is the NCAA Tournament and with an uneven schedule, I think we played a really tough schedule, probably the toughest in the league this year. But some years it’s one game and somebody else. So, I’m proud of it. Don’t get me wrong. But the main thing is we’re 16-3 and 26-4 and we’ve got a chance to play an outstanding team Saturday in what will be a great setting that’ll help us going into next week.”

If you have to ask about that game Saturday, well, you’ve not been paying attention.


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