No. 6 Blue Devils rally past 'Canes
Mike Krzyzewski claimed his halftime pep talk had nothing to do
with Duke's dramatic turnaround Wednesday night.
"I don't even remember what I said," Krzyzewski said. "Nothing complimentary."
At the time, there was little to praise. The No. 6-ranked Blue Devils dug a 12-point halftime hole, then used smothering defense to rally and beat the Miami Hurricanes 81-74.
Jon Scheyer missed his first nine shots and Nolan Smith missed his first six for the Blue Devils, who shot 31 percent in the opening half to fall behind 37-25. But 22 turnovers doomed the Hurricanes, who attempted only 45 shots to 60 for the Blue Devils.
"In the second half our defense, especially in the first eight or nine minutes, was sensational," Krzyzewski said.
Better shooting helped, too. Scheyer, Smith and Kyle Singler combined for 49 points in the second half after totaling nine in the first half.
The Blue Devils (22-4, 10-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) increased their league lead with their fifth win in a row. Smith said Krzyzewski made reference to the standings at halftime.
"He called us out," Smith said. "He let us know, 'It's now or never. You can take control of the ACC right now or put ourselves in a hole."
Miami (17-9, 3-9) lost for only the second time in 13 home games, and the defeat ensured they'll finish below .500 in the league. They've never been better than 8-8 in the ACC.
"As long as we've got games on our schedule, we've got opportunities," coach Frank Haith said.
The way the Hurricanes started against Duke, they had a shot at an upset. But the Blue Devils outscored Miami 29-9 to start the second half and shot 9 for 15 from 3-point range after halftime.
"We just needed to come out and play angry," Duke center Brian Zoubek said. "We know we can play harder than anybody."
Despite starting poorly, Smith finished with 21 points, and Scheyer scored 15 while shooting 3 for 15. Singler scored 22, had 11 rebounds and played all 40 minutes.
"In the first half we did a great job on the big three," Haith said. "They all just completely took over the game in the second half."
Scheyer was 1 for 12 before sinking 3-pointers on consecutive possessions for a 64-59 lead with five minutes left.
"I was killing us by not hitting those open shots," Scheyer said. "I don't really get open shots like that in games. My teammates have confidence in me, and that made a big difference."
Krzyzewski said Scheyer has been playing for three weeks with a sore back that may have affected him. Singler played with a black eye after getting elbowed in practice Monday.
Smith's 3-pointer capped an 8-0 run that put the Blue Devils up 69-59, and the margin was at least five the rest of the way. Duke went 9 for 10 from the free-throw line in the final 90 seconds to seal the win.
Dwayne Collins had 21 points and nine rebounds for Miami, and Durand Scott scored 19 points.
The Blue Devils scored 56 points in the second half -- remarkable considering that in the first 12 minutes, they shot 4 for 19 with seven turnovers and fell behind 23-12.
Smith was shut out for the first 18 1/2 minutes. Scheyer struggled even longer, finally scoring 24 minutes into the game to pull Duke even at 39.
Duke missed nine of its first 11 shots, and Miami scored 11 consecutive points -- eight by Collins -- for a 15-6 lead. Scott sank a runner at the buzzer to end the half and give the Hurricanes their largest lead.
Then the Blue Devils cranked up the defensive pressure.
"We knew we had to get stops to get back in the game," Singler said. "That was our focus -- just get stops and just try to fight our way back into the game."
Singler scored nine points on four baskets in the first 2 1/2 minutes of the second half to trim the margin to five, and his 3-pointer gave the Blue Devils their first lead since the early minutes at 42-41.
On next possession, Smith's 3-pointer put Duke ahead to stay.
The Hurricanes were outscored by 27 points from 3-point range, and Duke enjoyed a 17-11 edge in offensive rebounds.