The Duke-Miami game changed almost immediately after Norchad Omier came down on Dereck Lively’s ankle just about a minute into the game. He was taken off the court for X-rays which were fortunately negative. Good news for him, bad news for Miami.
It quickly became a contest of Miami’s quickness vs. Duke’s size and Duke ultimately won that battle.
Not that it was easy.
In the first half, Miami overcame the loss of Omier brilliantly, forcing eight turnovers and shooting very well. At the half, it was 41-36 Duke but it wasn’t like Duke ran away.
In the second, Duke held the lead for the entire half although Miami did cut it to one at 66-65.
Miami fouled Dariq Whitehead at that point though and he converted all three to put Duke a bit further out front and Miami could never catch back up.
It didn’t help when Isaiah Wong got back-to-back fouls for his third and fourth and had to come out.
In the closing minutes, Duke showed a lot of maturity and Miami kept attacking. There were multiple occasions when the ‘Canes really pushed Duke hard and almost came away with steals.
Ultimately though the young Blue Devils showed that they have grown up and have learned to deal with pressure and difficult situations.
The only exception to this was a bit of exuberance when Dariq Whitehead stole the ball with time running down and attempted a monster dunk, which he missed. A more mature move would have been to have burned clock, but it worked out okay. No doubt that will be discussed.
Four of Duke’s starters finished in double figures and Lively had eight. Whitehead had 16 off the bench.
You can make some criticisms of Duke tonight - any night obviously - and we’re sure the staff will pick the video apart.
But the big picture is this: a young team has come together and is playing as well as anyone in the ACC and possibly nationally as well. Duke is seen as around a 5 seed and no one is going to want to see this team coming.
The Blue Devils now move on to play the winner of the Virginia-Clemson slugfest in the nightcap. We’ll have more soon.
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Player of The Game vs. Miami
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