UM started off well. Very well. But yet again, turnovers and missed free throws foiled the team’s chances to get the victory. After leading by 11 going into halftime with all the momentum, the Hurricanes allowed the No. 18 Duke Blue Devils to explode on a 20-1 run to start the second half, and they could not recover, ultimately falling 70-58 in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Duke (15-4, 3-3 ACC) scored 31 points off 18 Miami (12-6, 2-4 ACC) turnovers, 12 of which came in the second half, to doom UM’s chances. After ending the first half on an 18-8 run, the Canes didn’t hit their first field goal until the 12:34 mark of the second period.
“It was clearly the tale of two halves,” Coach Larrañaga said. “They did a great job in the second half, and we didn’t respond.”
Miami’s bench did not score a single point; Duke’s scored 31. The Canes made seven free throws; the Blue Devils made 18. The list goes on.
“I think the guys must have thought we had won the game at halftime,” Larrañaga said. “We weren’t sharp right away [in the second half]. We were not there to compete with them at the rim.”
Coach Larrañaga said before the game that it would take dominant team defense and strong mental focus to win against Duke. The team took care of business in both areas in the first half, but learned that the exuberant fans of Cameron Indoor do not get silenced that easy.
Miami had three scorers in double-figures, but all three struggled on both ends of the court in the second half.
The Canes looked to have had the Blue Devils’ number without Coach Krzyzewski in the first 20 minutes of play. UM’s shots were dropping, and the team held Duke to just one assist and no three-pointers in the period. The Canes’ pick and roll game was working, and the players were attacking with no hesitation.
Everything changed in the second half, and the Blue Devils exploded for 45 points, led by freshman Jayson Tatum who had 14 points.
Senior captain Davon Reed drove the team with a game-high 19 points, and freshman guard Bruce Brown performed well with 15 points, five rebounds and six assists. Redshirt senior forward Kamari Murphy led the team in rebounds, pulling down 15 boards.
Miami looks to avoid its first three-game losing streak of the season when it returns home to play Boston College at 9 p.m. on Wednesday in the Watsco Center.