PORTLAND, Ore.—Duke's lone senior helped spark its dramatic comeback, scoring all 12 of his points in the second half, but when Grayson Allen fouled out with two minutes left in regulation, the Blue Devil freshmen finished the job.
No. 1 Duke rallied past Texas for an 85-78 win in overtime at the Moda Center in the Blue Devils' second game of the PK80 Invitational. After trailing by as many as 16 points in the second half, Duke came all the way back with a 22-6 run in a span of eight minutes, getting key contributions from freshmen Marvin Bagley III, Wendell Carter Jr. and Gary Trent Jr.
"We gave them a great punch and cut the lead, and they punched right back and got ahead by 16. I thought our kids could have gone, ‘That’s it,'’’ Blue Devil head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "There were some magical plays there, just the connecting of talent and instinct, and it was really something beautiful."
Down by two with less than two minutes left and its captain on the bench with five fouls, Duke (7-0) had three chances to score on the most critical possession of regulation. Carter grabbed an offensive rebound on a missed 3-pointer by Trent. After he pulled it down, freshman Trevon Duval was fouled but missed both free throws, and Bagley tipped the rebound from the second shot off fellow freshman phenom Mohamed Bamba.
Trent capitalized on the third chance with a driving layup through contact for a 3-point play, drawing Bamba's fifth foul in the process.
Matt Coleman tied it up for the Longhorns on the next play with a 1-for-2 trip to the line, but the Blue Devils could not get three more shots to fall in the closing seconds with their four freshmen starters and freshman reserve Alex O'Connell on the floor to send the game to overtime.
"I was really rooting for us to win it in regulation so they didn’t have to go into overtime and play even more minutes with five freshmen out there, but they played with incredible poise," Allen said. "The stuff that they did out there, they do it all the time, but to do it in that big of a game with so much game pressure and the time on the clock and score was huge and very mature of them."
Bagley scored the first five points of the extra session, and back-to-back lobs from Duval through the zone to his classmate for alley-oops put the Blue Devils in front 78-73.
"Grayson’s a big part of our team, but we felt really confident in ourselves. We knew that we could still win the game. We knew we were good," Duval said. "We just realized the mismatch. Mo Bamba was out of the game, so that kind of made it harder for their guards to be up there with our big guys."
Texas (4-1) scored four straight points to get back into the game, but Bagley responded yet again with a smooth post move for a layup, and Carter rebounded his own miss for a dunk to put Duke in front by two possessions for good.
Bagley led the Blue Devils with 34 points and 15 rebounds, with 24 points coming after halftime, and Trent and Carter combined for 31 points.
Allen knocked down a 3-pointer to start the second half for his first points of the game and Bagley followed that up with a dunk to trim a 12-point Longhorn lead to seven, forcing Texas head coach Shaka Smart to call a timeout.
Bamba had to go to the bench with three fouls shortly afterward, but Duke could not take advantage right away. The two teams traded baskets briefly before the Longhorns started to pull away with a 9-0 run.
But they never put the nail in the coffin.
"I actually thought that we had done a better job of coming back than we actually did, but they responded really well and even widened the lead.... We really just turned our focus to defense," Allen said. "There’s no 14-point play that we can make. We’ve just got to come down here, defend and then get good shots on offense. We did that for a stretch and continued to get stops and then Marvin and Wendell continued to be beasts down there, and that’s what led us to slowly chipping away at it."
Allen and Bagley both missed significant stretches of the first half in foul trouble, as Bagley was whistled twice in the first 11 minutes and Allen picked up his third on a charge less than 13 minutes into the half. Allen sat for the last 7:39 of the period and was scoreless on 0-of-4 shooting heading into the locker room.
Six-foot-4 Kerwin Roach II put the exclamation mark on the first half, elevating over 6-foot-10 forward Javin DeLaurier to throw down a right-handed dunk and put the Longhorns in front 43-29. The small group of Texas fans behind its bench roared, and the Blue Devils limped into halftime facing their first double-digit deficit of the season, but the Duke fans were the ones making all the noise by the end.
After the Blue Devils played a 2-3 zone for most of the first half with little success, Krzyzewski's squad moved back to its man-to-man defense for the rest of the night.
"We’re trying to figure out who we are while we’re on the road. We want to be on Broadway, but we’re off Broadway right now and trying to figure out who can dance, who can sing, what songs to put in," Krzyzewski said. "They kept scoring, so it’s not like it was some amazing strategy move, but it made our guys more comfortable I think."
The Blue Devils will face the winner of Friday night's matchup between No. 7 Florida and No. 17 Gonzaga Sunday at 10:30 p.m.
"I’m not as good as I want to be. I’ve still got a lot of work to do and a long way to go. I had a good game, a great game, but it’s over with now," Bagley said. "I’ve put it behind me and it’s time to get ready for the next one."