Miami Hurricanes falter down the stretch and lose to Duke

MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 07: Dewan Huell
MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 07: Dewan Huell /

With just under eight minutes to go in the game, a Ja’Quan Newton layup gave the Miami Hurricanes a 66-53 lead over Duke. An 18-0 Blue Devils run over the next 4:32 completely changed the game and Duke won 83-75 at the Watsco Center on Monday night.

Duke’s run came after the Miami Hurricanes had a 16-0 run of their own early in the second half. The Hurricanes run came after the Blue Devils scored 30 seconds into the half to extend their halftime lead to 44-40. Miami’s run gave them a 56-44 lead eight minutes into the second half. Four minutes later Miami extended the lead to 66-53.

The loss drops the Miami Hurricanes to 13-4 overall and 2-3 in the ACC. The loss is likely to drop them out of the rankings next week. Miami plays at North Carolina State on Sunday.

Dewan Huell played very well against Duke’s dynamic inside duo of Marvin Bagley and Wendell Carter. The Hurricanes Sophomore center finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds. He shot 8-16 from the floor but missed his last three shots. Lonnie Walker led Miami with 19, Chris Lykes and Anthony Lawrence each scored 13.

Gary Trent Jr. led four Blue Devils in double figures with 30 points. He was 6-9 on threes, 6-8 from the foul line and added five rebounds. Carter had 15 points, 14 rebounds, four blocks and shot 7-11 from the floor. Bagley finished with 13 and 11 on 5-10 shooting and Trevon Duval had 17 points and eight assists.

Miami’s defense failed them for the second game in a row. Duke shot 55.4 percent from the floor and 52.4 percent on threes. Amazingly they were just 10-21 from the free throw line.

Those numbers are disturbing from a team that entered the game against Duke fourth in the nation allowing opponents to make just 37.5 percent from the floor. Duke’s 83 points were more than 20 points higher than the Hurricanes allow on the season. Miami is fifth in the nation in points allowed per game at 60.6.

The Hurricanes are going to have to get their defense turned around if they are going to contend in the ACC. Many experts liked Miami’s chances as a sleeper to win the conference this season.

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The Hurricanes now have to focus on themselves if they are going to make a third straight NCAA Tournament appearance for the second time in program history.

Miami made just 37.2 percent from the floor and 36 percent on threes. They settled for too many three-point attempts. They attempted 25 three-pointers against Duke. The Hurricanes are at their best when the guards are slashing to the basket and they are getting the ball inside.

When they penetrate it opens up the play inside for the big guys and for the shooters. Dejan Vasiljevic and Bruce Brown continued to struggle. Vasijevic was scoreless for the second straight game. Brown has 11 points on 4-20 from the floor in the losses to Duke and Clemson.

Next: For Miami Basketball to Challenge in ACC Brown and Walker need to lead

Next Game: At North Carolina State Sunday, January 21 at Noon. The Wolfpack is 12-6 with wins over Arizona, Duke and Clemson this season. They are 2-3 in the ACC. NC State hosts Wake Forest Thursday night.