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Duke Wins A Cameron Thriller Over Miami, 68-66

An encouraging afternoon for Duke, but not a perfect one by any means

Miami v Duke
 DURHAM, NC - JANUARY 21: Isaiah Wong #2 of the Miami Hurricanes drives against Ryan Young #15 and Kyle Filipowski #30 of the Duke Blue Devils during the first half of their game at Cameron Indoor Stadium on January 21, 2023 in Durham, North Carolina.
Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

A young Duke team had some stumbles along the way against Miami to be sure, but ultimately did what it could not do against Clemson and closed the Hurricanes out, 68-66. It was an important milestone for the Blue Devils in many ways.

And make no mistake: Miami is a tough and well-coached team. All Jim Larranaga teams are.

To an extent, you could argue that this game came down to Miami’s superb perimeter vs. Duke’s inside power. Nigel Pack kept the ‘Canes in the game with 14 in the first half and 18 for the whole game while Jordan Miller finished with 19. However, Pack shot just 6-15. Miller was better at 7-13 but Isaiah Wong, their best player, was just 2-8 for seven points. Duke really put a blanket over him.

Norchad Omier, who has been a huge asset for Miami since transferring in, is a really neat player. Just 6-8, he is powerfully built at nearly 250 and knows how to leverage that strength.

Still, he had a lot of shots that were against either Kyle Filipowski or Dereck Lively, and he couldn't get much going against either guy. Omier finished 3-9 and had just nine points. However, he pounded the boards as usual, finishing with 14 rebounds.

Duke held Miami to 34.9 percent overall although the Hurricanes did hit 10-21 on threes, led by Miller, who was 3-4 and Pack, who was 4-9.

Miami also had just six turnovers.

For Duke, although it seemed like more than that at times, the Blue Devls had just 10 turnovers, which isn’t too bad, particularly given recent stretches where they seemed to just throw the ball to the other team.

The best news was that not only was Jeremy Roach back after his toe injury setback, he played very well. Roach finished with 14 on 6-10 from the floor. He was also incredibly tenacious and hit several key baskets.

Filipowski had 17 points and 14 boards and refrained from some of the mistakes he’s made recently where he either spun into traffic and got stripped or lowered his shoulder for a charge.

Tyrese Proctor had a solid game as well. He shot well and ran the point very nicely when he was in.

But the nicest surprise, to an extent, was Dereck Lively. He’s struggled to find his game after an early injury and clearly he’s not as strong as he needs to be. And he did get in a spot of foul trouble early.

But he didn’t pick up a fourth, and he had five blocks, six points and 10 rebounds. He was really immensely valuable inside.

Duke’s offense was very good, although there were some things that the coaches will probably dwell on in the next couple of days. And there were some mistakes that could have been critical but fortunately weren’t.

All in all though, it looked much better.

The key though was the defense. Wong was obviously a main target and, as we said, he was pretty much shut out until late. Miami is a smallish team so they need to score in transition. Duke took that away and forced them to take contested shots. Pack kept them in the game in the first half but in the second, Duke put serious pressure on the ‘Canes.

Good thing because the Blue Devils didn’t hit a field goal for the last five minutes or so. Yet the defense held. Miami missed three straight shots down just 66-64. Ultimately Ryan Young got the rebound and Filipowski was fouled and sent to the line, where he hit both.

Miami got the ball back with :13 left and Jeremy Roach, in a ballsy move, stole the ball from Pack near the half court line. Wong, having no choice, fouled him.

Roach could have put the game on ice but missed the front end and Miami got a layup from Pack to cut the lead back to two. Proctor went back to the line and missed his.

If you're counting, that’s four points Duke gave up in the last :09, which, again, could have been fatal - but wasn’t.

No one is going to remember that in a week or two. What they’ll remember is that Duke showed heart and character in beating an older, more experienced team.

They still need to learn how to execute in crunch time, but that’s coming. It’s fun to watch this team grow. And with Roach back, that trend is likely to accelerate.