Despite a star-studded crowd and the electric anticipation of Duke’s return to Coral Gables, the Miami Hurricanes men’s basketball team (10-8, 2-4) was no match for the No. 18 Blue Devils (15-4, 5-2) in the 46-67 loss.
ESPN’s Dick Vitale, NBA stars Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, James Jones and Shane Battier joined 7,972 fans for Wednesday night’s ACC matchup. Plain and simple, it was a sloppy, lackluster night for the ‘Canes.
Winning the tipoff, Hurricanes starting center, sophomore Tonye Jekiri, was the first to score. Jekiri’s early layup marked the only moment in which Duke trailed on the night. UM forward Donnavan Kirk, a graduate student, led the ‘Canes with 11 points- shooting just over 45 percent from the field. Jekiri, guard Garrius Adams and junior forward James Kelly each added 8 points for the ‘Canes. Duke’s freshman forward Jabari Parker was 5-12 from the field and 7-8 at the free throw line to lead all scorers with 17 points. Forward Rodney Hood, a redshirt sophomore, also put up impressive numbers for the Blue Devils with 12 total points shooting 5-8 from the field with 2 three-pointers.
From early in the first half, UM was troubled by turnovers, giving up 8 in the first half alone. Also weak on the boards from the start, UM was outrebounded on both sides of the ball. Duke nabbed 42 total rebounds, 15 of those under the Hurricane’s basket. In stark contrast, UM came away with just 28 on the night – 9 offensive, 19 defensive. “Jabari was a beast on the boards tonight, terrific…I think the one stat that really stands out for me was our rebounding, for us to outrebound them like that was a key factor in us winning that game,” said Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski.
“One thing I told the players after the game is that rebounding is nothing more than going after a loose ball, a guard can get a rebound, the shortest guy on the court can get a rebound, it’s really about effort,” said Coach Jim Larrañaga. “They basically outworked us in the first half, 18 second-chance points, that hasn’t happened to us this year. We’ve got a good, big strong rebounding team, we can be very physical, but we didn’t show that tonight.”
Wednesday marked Duke’s return to the BUC after last season’s 90-63 rout. The Blue Devils came for their revenge. “This year is this year, we can’t play in the past,” said Krzyzewski regarding last year’s defeat in Coral Gables.
Looking forward, the Hurricanes are set to face No. 2 Syracuse at home in the BUC on Saturday. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m. “It really hurts when you lose, and we don’t want it to happen again,” said Kirk. “We’ve gotta fight… you’ve gotta be a player.”
words_kristen spillane. photos_zach beeker.