Fresh off an invigorating defeat of archrival UNC on Saturday night, Duke traveled to Miami to try and get some momentum going in its quest to climb the ACC standings. Instead, they fell behind early and suffered a big loss to the Hurricanes, 81-59. Miami improves to 13-0 and remains in striking distance for first place in the conference.
Coral Gables has proven to be a tough place to play this season, and Jon Scheyer’s squad was not up to the challenge. The road has been unkind to Duke all year, but Monday night’s rout stands out as a particularly sore spot. Miami’s margin of victory was 22 points, but this was a 20-point lead around halftime and swelled to nearly 30 early in the second half. Duke simply could not keep up with Miami’s offensive prowess. The tough two-point victory over the Hurricanes in Durham a few weeks back now seems like ages ago.
Miami had several major contributors in its balanced approach. Big man Norchad Omier scored 17 points and gathered 10 rebounds. Jordan Miller chipped in 16 points. Role player Wooga Poplar provided a spark with 14 points. Star guard Isaiah Wong had 11 points in a steady performance. Normally, holding Wong to only 11 points would bode well for the opposing squad. Not this time.
Duke struggled offensively for the entire game. Transfer big man Ryan Young scored 11 points, as did Dereck Lively II. Jeremy Roach had 10. Duke’s inability to take care of the ball doomed them from the start. They committed 21 turnovers for the game. Many of the turnovers resulted in runouts for Miami, which led to easy transition points and also got the crowd pumped up.
Duke drops to 8-5 in conference play, with 7 games to go. Needless to say, this is not where Jon Scheyer expected to be at this point in the season. This team of highly decorated recruits simply has failed to gel in the way necessary to win in the ACC. Duke’s down, but are they out? It’s not going to get any easier with a trip to Virginia next. That could be either an energizing win, or the nail in the coffin for the Blue Devils’ ACC title hopes. Stay tuned.