No. 25 Hurricanes blow past No. 1 Blue DevilsBy Paul Borden, The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Wed, Jan 23, 2013 10:40 PM EST
CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- Miami likely made believers out of a whole lot of skeptics Wednesday night. Leading the Atlantic Coast Conference but barely cracking the national rankings coming into the game, the 25th-rated Hurricanes took apart No. 1 Duke 90-63 in what has to go down as one of the most stunning reversals of form of the college basketball season. After trailing 9-6 in the opening minutes, the Hurricanes (14-3, 5-0 ACC) used stifling defense and hot shooting to hand the Blue Devils (16-2, 3-2) their biggest defeat in nearly three years. And it could have been worse. The Hurricanes actually had a 34-point bulge with under two minutes left, but the reserves couldn't hold onto the cushion after both benches emptied. The 27-point margin was the largest loss for the Blue Devils since a 74-47 beating by Clemson on Feb. 4, 2009. "We didn't have answers the whole game," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said after his team shot under 29.7 percent for the game overall, including 17.4 percent on 3-pointers (4-for-23). "Our three veterans can't go 6-for-37. That's something I haven't seen." Seth Curry, Mason Plumlee, and Quinn Cook -- Duke's top three scorers with Ryan Kelly sidelined by a foot injury -- combined for only 20 points, with Plumlee accounting for 15. Curry was scoreless. Meanwhile, Miami got 25 points from Durand Scott, 22 from Kenny Kadji, and 18 from Shane Larkin. The Hurricanes shot 56.9 percent from the field (33-for-58) and made nine of 19 attempts from behind the 3-point arc. Larkin, a 5-foot-11 guard, shared rebounding honors for Miami with 6-10 Julian Gamble. They each had 10. "Our guys were very well prepared," Hurricanes coach Jim Larranaga said. "We had a week between Boston College (and Duke), and we needed that time. "First, to give our guys some needed rest because we were a little bit beat up. It also gave us a chance to prepare for the way we needed to play tonight, both defensively and offensively." Miami took command with a 32-6 run to turn a three-point deficit into a 38-15 lead with 2:54 left in the half. Amile Jefferson's layup at the 1:59 mark ended nearly an eight-minute field-goal drought for the Blue Devils. After going to the locker room ahead by 23, the Hurricanes scored the first six points of the second half to squash any thought they might be coasting. The closest the Blue Devils could come in the second half was a 24-gap on two occasions. Each time, the Hurricanes had the right answers. "Some teams go in at halftime and come out flat," Larkin said. "They think they have the game won. But we stayed with it and came out with the same energy in the second half. "We just played great the whole game, with great energy, and we got the win." The result was a stunning final score. "Am I surprise by the margin?" Larranaga asked rhetorically afterward. "Of course. Would I have been surprised if it was the other way, that Duke won 90-63? "I would have been disappointed." NOTES: This was the first visit for a No. 1 team in Miami's BankUnited Center, which opened on campus in January 2003. The Hurricanes' previous meeting with a top-ranked team was on Jan. 20, 1999, when they lost to Connecticut in the old Miami Arena in downtown Miami. ... Miami is now 1-6 against No. 1-ranked teams. ... Miami senior center Reggie Johnson, who broke his thumb in late December, made his first appearance since Dec.18, entering the game with 14:17 left in the first half. ... The 42-19 halftime deficit marked the third straight game the Blue Devils have trailed at the half and the fourth time this season they have been down at the break. He scored two points in 16 minutes. ... This was only the second true road game this season for Duke, which lost its first at North Carolina State. The Blue Devils played six non-conference games at neutral sites, winning them all.
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