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Miami upsets No. 7 Duke

By Nate Taylor, McClatchy Newspapers –

DURHAM, N.C. — In the game before the big game, the Duke Blue Devils ran into a feisty Miami team that showed no fear inside Cameron Indoor Stadium.

The Blue Devils did rally as they usually do at home – only this time the Hurricanes were ready to respond.

Even when Duke forced overtime, the Hurricanes never wavered.

Center Reggie Johnson led Miami with a career-high 27 points, and the Hurricanes never trailed in overtime to pull a 78-74 upset of the seventh-ranked Blue Devils.

The Blue Devils did have their chances, especially at the free-throw line.

Backup guard Quinn Cook missed two foul shots in the final minute that could have given Duke the lead. He also missed a running floater in the lane. As a team, Duke missed nine free throws.

The Blue Devils (19-4, 6-2 ACC) also struggled with turnovers, rebounding and defending Johnson in the paint.

With less than 30 second remaining in regulation, guard Austin Rivers drove to the basket and was fouled. He missed the first free throw, but made the second to tie the game at 69-69.

Miami could have won on the final possession of regulation, but the Blue Devils had one of their best moments on defense – which resulted in the Hurricanes not getting a shot off – to force overtime.

Still, the Blue Devils will remember this game for what they didn’t do down the stretch.

And with a game against an improving North Carolina team on the road Wednesday night, this wasn’t the type of performance Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski wanted just before one of the biggest conference games of the season.

The Hurricanes (14-7, 5-3 ACC) exposed the Blue Devils inability at times to rebound and stopping dribble penetration throughout the game.

Miami’s performance was similar to Florida State.

Against the Seminoles on Jan. 21, Duke let its lead escape in the second half before falling 76-73 on the game’s final possession when guard Michael Snaer made a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

On offense at times, Duke settled for long-distance jump shots, which left forwards like Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly out of position for rebounds.

Rivers and guard Seth Curry were the few exceptions. Rivers had 20 points by driving to the basket and making open jumpers.

Rivers also found Curry for shots. The two played off one another in the second half. Curry, who led Duke with 22 points, was able to make a few shots on the perimeter.

Curry gave the Blue Devils their lead of the second half with a jumper on the free-throw line with less than two minutes remaining.

Duke trailed by as many as 16 points. The last time Duke trailed by that many at home, the Blue Devils rally to be UNC 79-73 last year. This time, Duke was able to play well in spurts, but not once overtime started. In that period, the Blue Devils rushed shots and didn’t double team Johnson, who averages 10 points a game.

In the first half, when the Blue Devils lost the lead, they were outrebounded, outhustled and even shot poor from the 3-point line.

The Hurricanes finished the first half going on a 14-4 run. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski went to the locker room at halftime not speaking to any of his players or assistant coaches. When the final buzzer sounded, and the Cameron Crazies gasped in disappointment, Krzyzewski left court the same fashion.

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