There really isn’t much to say about the effort Duke put forward against Miami on Wednesday night. After regaining the No. 1 ranking and getting almost a whole week of rest, the Blue Devils came out flatter than flat while the Hurricanes came out flying and hitting everything en route to a 90-63 blowout win.
Now 3-2 in the ACC and still reeling in the aftermath of Ryan Kelly‘s foot injury, searching for positives is futile. 29.7 percent shooting from the field and an unreal 4-for-23 from the three-point range; combined 1-for-29 shooting night by Quinn Cook, Seth Curry and Tyler Thornton; Mason Plumlee‘s complete aversion to anything resembling post moves; and a complete unwillingness to compete in transition lead directly to the Blue Devils losing what could have been a signature win in the post-Kelly era.
Instead, Miami took advantage of a Duke team that had no fight in them and beat them in every emotional aspect of the game. Every time they needed a basket, they got it. When they needed a stop, they got one. And when they smelled blood in the water, they went straight for the jugular and put the game away before halftime came around and left Duke dumbfounded, shellshocked and utterly without hope. Emotionless, the team walked to the locker room trying to process what just happened and failing, just like everyone watching the game.
Here’s what happened, though. A good team (Miami) got a lift from a player returning from injury earlier than expected (Reggie Johnson) and a crowd that was ready to go six hours before the game started. Miami got defining games from their three best players (Shane Larkin, Durand Scott and Kenny Kadji) and made shots that they wouldn’t normally make. Roll all of that together with a team that left their will to compete back in North Carolina and is it really that hard to believe that Duke trailed by 34 at one point?
The one positive that can be taken away from this game was the play of Alex Murphy. Someone who has been questioned by everyone — especially me — for not being a bigger part of this team, Murphy scored 11 points in 23 minutes and was the first player to reach double digits for the Blue Devils in the second half. Even with the world falling apart around him, Murphy hustled on defense, moved without the ball, crashed the boards and looked for opportunities to score the basketball.
So kudos to you, Murph, you made me smile for a few minutes on Wednesday night. Everyone else? Get some sleep, if you can.
- Duke out rebounded Miami 15-8 on the offensive boards… but Miami shot 56.9 percent from the field, so yeah.
- Miami turned the ball over 16 times to Duke’s eight. But Duke missed 52 shots, so yeah.
- Mason Plumlee recorded his 12th double-double of the seasons. But most of it came in garbage time, so yeah.