Miami, FL – The #15 Miami Hurricanes beat the #24 Duke Blue Devils at the Bank United Center by a score of 80-69. Top Duke players Brandon Ingram and Grayson Allen combined for 36 points, but couldn’t keep up with the deeper Miami team.
Miami’s Sheldon McClellan opened the game with a backdoor alley-oop slam on a beautiful lob over the D from his backcourt mate Angel Rodriguez. The first half was a back and forth battle with both teams relying heavily on the 3-pointer. Drive and kicks, offensive boards leading to outlet threes, and a couple of beat the clock distance 3s found the bottom of the net.
Duke’s was a balanced attack with contributions from both of their 6’5 guards: Allen and Luke Kennard. Both displayed a well-rounded game, but were aggressive in finding their own shots within the play. A scary moment happened about eight minutes into the game, when the #2 prospect in the country, the 6’9 Ingram fell to the floor. Thankfully, he returned immediately and showed why he is so highly regarded. He has an unbelievable first step and can get to the basket whenever he wants.
Despite his overwhelming size and athletic advantage over most opposing defenders, Ingram was adept at driving and kicking out to his teammates for wide open threes. Additionally, he took what the defense gave him when they dared go under a screen, flashing a silky shoulder jumper with a very high release. He relies on his length on defense a little too much and would benefit from getting lower in his stance so he can switch onto quicker players.
The Hurricanes were bailed out a couple times by their center, Tonye Jekiri. He first hit a midrange jumper as the shot clock expired and then grabbed a handful of offensive boards. Despite his size, he rarely goes straight back up with the ball and instead found McClellan and Ja’Quan Newton for 3s.
Canes 6’2” backup point guard Newton was my surprise of the first half. Towards the end, he and Angel Rodriguez played both guard spots. He showed solid combo guard ability, but was slightly erratic once the crowd got behind him. Miami led 35-31 at the break.
The second half was a different story. Miami pushed the lead to 12 after ten minutes and then hit the bonus. Duke responded by feeding Ingram and letting him work. His drives were thwarted mostly by a combination of Miami’s center Jekiri and forward Kamari Murphy ,who did an admirable job staying in front of Duke’s Ingram.
While trying to stay in front of him a couple possessions later, Ingram stepped back and nailed a three with a lightning quick release for a 6’9 player.
After a no look feed by Miami’s Rodriguez for a Murphy dunk, the crowd went wild. Duke’s point guard Derryck Thornton felt the need to egg them on with a hand to his ear. The Blue Devils immediately turned it over and Thornton looked out of control the next few minutes, but settled down with a three and a contact layup on back to back possessions.
Miami’s Newton continued his solid play by attacking the rack and finishing through contact on the right and finding McClellan for another monster backdoor alley-oop. It may have gone to his head though as he selfishly ignored a 3-on-1 break away and missed his layup with the defender in his face. He finished the night strong though with a couple nice cuts for layups. Then he shook Duke’s Ingram with a behind the back dribble and then a one handed dump off to Jekiri for the dunk.
Miami’s 6’6 guard Davon Reed had an efficient night and nailed spot-up threes, along with floater off the high-glass, after trailing on the fastbreak.
Coach K and his Blue Devils were definitely feeling the absence of starting forward Amile Jefferson, who leads the team with 9.3 rebounds per game. With Plumlee clearly outmatched by the Canes’ Jekiri and Ingram weighing only 190 pounds, the remaining big men for Duke just didn’t have enough muscle. Duke guard Matt Jones filled in nicely, but fouled out with a minute left.
Miami’s Rodriguez and Duke’s Allen showed their hustle and toughness by laying out on the floor for a loose ball with 47 seconds remaining. After a couple of Ingram free throws, Duke forgot about McClellan on the inbound and he wound up with a breakaway 2 handed slam to shut the door. McClellan would lead all scorers with 21 points.
This article was written by Jack Vlasic, a correspondent and scout for NetScouts Basketball. You can subscribe to our RSS feed from the upper right corner of our home page, follow us on Facebook, or on twitter.
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