Miami's men's basketball team, long in the shadows of the school's much more successful football and baseball programs, enjoyed one of its best moments ever Wednesday, thrashing top-ranked Duke, 90-63. It was the third-worst loss ever by a No. 1 team and the worst since 1968. They're the Blue Devils, but they left Miami red-faced. "It was men against boys," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "They were the men, and we were the boys." It was the first time in school history that the Canes had beaten the nation's top-ranked team, and they did it before a rare home sell-out crowd as well as the ESPN cameras. And yes, Canes fans -- among a school-record-tying crowd of 7,972 -- rushed the court after the game. "I'd like to see our fans rush the court after every win," Canes coach Jim Larranaga said. "Part of being in college is having fun. You remember how stressful college was? To be able to come out here and enjoy an athletic event and rush the court with your friends, those are memories that will last a lifetime." There are so many memories the Canes will take from this game, including guard Durand Scott's game-high 25 points, the return of starting center Reggie Johnson, who hadn't even practiced since Dec. 21, or Miami's eight blocked shots, including forward Kenny Kadji stuffing a Mason Plumlee dunk attempt. Beating the No. 1 team for the first time in seven tries was great, but it was the dominating way the Canes played against basketball royalty that had fans roaring. The Canes led 42-19 at halftime, shooting a sizzling 59 percent to Duke's 22 percent. That was as good as Miami could play -- or at least that was the logical supposition. But the Canes refused to play it safe. They continued to attack, stretching the lead to 34. Their confidence soaring, the Canes took one-on-two jumpers -- and made them. Then they started dunking. First it was a dunk by Kadji, who finished with 22 points. Then it was seldom-used backup Tonye Jekiri. And then it got really embarrassing for Duke when 6-foot-6 reserve wing Rion Brown threw one down in reverse. Even Shane Larkin, all of 5-11, dunked in the final two minutes. The whole game seemed surreal, and Larkin -- who tied teammate Julian Gamble with a team-high 10 rebounds -- offered a snapshot. "I was at the foul line, I heard someone yell, I looked up, and it was Warren Sapp," Larkin said of the former Canes and NFL star. Another odd moment came in the final seconds, when Miami put in a couple of its walk-on players, and there they were, looking more like ball boys but playing with a huge lead against Duke's starters. Hours before tip-off, Canes students were so excited for this game that they camped out on what is now being called Larranaga Lawn. Larranaga visited the students at about noon -- seven hours before game time. "Me and my wife brought them doughnuts," the coach said. "We went to Krispy Kreme and bought about 300 of them." So what does this game mean? For Duke (16-2, 3-2 ACC), not a lot. This is a team with a championship pedigree. The Blue Devils will of course make the NCAA Tournament, which seems to be their birthright. This defeat will be long since forgotten by Duke fans come March. But for the 25th-ranked Canes, this is significant. Not only are the Canes 14-3 overall, but they are 5-0 in the ACC for the first time in school history. They are alone atop perhaps the most storied basketball league in the country. Not bad for a program that has had very little such history. The Canes made the NCAA's Sweet 16 in 2000 under coach Leonard Hamilton, but that is as far as they have advanced. This season's team, with five seniors among the top six players, is ultra experienced. Players such as Kadji and Gamble have taken redshirt years and are more mature than most NCAA players, especially in this one-and-done era of college basketball. "They are an old team," Krzyzewski said, meaning it as a compliment. "They are old and really good. They are men. And their one really young guy (sophomore Larkin at point guard) plays old." Maybe this win signals that Miami -- already with the NBA champion Heat -- has transitioned from a football city to a basketball town. That remains to be seen. But one thing is sure, Duke left Miami as quickly as it could, and Krzyzewski, combative and comical all at once in his postgame news conference, was left with the final words. Asked if there were any positives for him to take away, the legendary coach had a quick reply. "I can't think of any," he said. "Is the weather good?"
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