The No. 15 Miami Hurricanes came out of the BankUnited Center Monday night with a major victory over the defending national champions, the No. 24 Duke Blue Devils 80-69.
Fans started lining up outside for this contest at around 4 p.m. in order to get the best seats in the house.
The wait was worthwhile. So far, this bout is the game of the year for the Canes, as there were several alley-oop dunks that brought tremendous energy from the fans. Former Canes baseball great Alex Rodriguez was spotted courtside taking in the action.
It was the Angel Rodriguez to Sheldon McClellan show out there, as they connected for several alley-oops. The Canes finished with an impressive 24 assists in the game compared to only eight by Duke.
McClellan finished with a team-high 21 points on an impressive 8-of-12 shooting from the field. He continues to shoot well from the field at around 52 percent.
Rodriguez finished with a double-double, with 13 points and 11 assists along with three 3-pointers in the first half.
Sixth man Ja’Quan Newton had 15 points, along with a fast break dunk in the closing seconds of the game. That solidified a Hurricanes victory and got the crowd roaring in celebration.
Tonye Jekiri defended Duke center Marshall Plumlee well in the paint, holding him to only one field goal.
Duke only played six men with the exception of two minutes by Chase Jeter, as forward Amile Jefferson sat out the game due to an injury.
The win brought the Canes to a 16-3 record and 5-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. That is tied for third in the ACC behind North Carolina and Louisville.
Last year, the Canes had one of their best games ever, as the team defeated Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium 90-74. Home court advantage in the ACC is crucial, as a large student section always helps out the home team. This win may have just topped that.
The Canes still have five home games remaining against quality ACC opponents Notre Dame, Pitt, Virginia Tech, Virginia and Louisville. As a Pittsburgh native, I am still uncertain if I will wear a Pitt or Miami shirt Feb. 9.