LIVE BLOG: Duke 69, Wisconsin 73 (FINAL)

Duke 69, Wisconsin 73 (FINAL): Duke had every chance it wanted in the last minute to tie this game, but some poor decision making at the end cost them.  Despite being down three, Duke was unable to even get a three point shot attempt off—first after Nolan Smith drove to the basket instead of trying for the three with under ten seconds to go, and then again after Singler's bomb pass to Scheyer went off his hands and out of bounds.  With five seconds to go, one had to think a more conventional pass would have yielded an OK opportunity, but alas it was not to be.

The students storm the court and celebrate with the team.  Check out The Chronicle tomorrow morning for more from Duke's first loss of the season.

Duke 65, Wisconsin 69 (20.3 seconds left): Kyle Singler drives one-on-one and forces a shot that goes off the side of the backboard— can't have been the shot Coach K wanted.  The Badgers sink both FTs to make it a two possession game, but Duke is bailed out by an iffy foul call that sends Scheyer to the line.

Duke 65, Wisconsin 67 (37.5 seconds left): Jordan Taylor ate up the shot clock and tried to take Lance Thomas one-on-one, but after crossing Thomas up missed the layup.  Duke calls a full time-out after bringing the ball across half court.

It will be interesting to see who gets the ball here.  Dawkins is obviously the hot hand but is only a freshman, and while Kyle Singler dominated the first half he's gone cold since.

Duke 65, Wisconsin 67 (1:09 2nd Half): Dawkins hits another three on the fast break to make it a two point game, and the freshman is now 4-for-4 from deep.

Duke 62, Wisconsin 67 (3:11 2nd Half): Gotta hand it to Andrew Dawkins who is making his shots in a very hostile environment, another three there an example.  Afterwards Scheyer emphatically slapped him high five, so lets see if Duke has a littl emor eenergy now.

Duke 59, Wisconsin 65 (3:23 2nd Half): Trevon Hughes just can't miss, as his latest three pointer, which did everything to come out of the rim but didn't, evidenced.  But Duke is not giving up here, after Singler made two FTs on a play that looked like it was very close to a travel (especially from the point of view of Badger fans here), and then a Miles Plumlee rebound turned into a fast break turned into a turnover turned into another turnover turned into an Andre Dawkins three pointer (phew!) brought Duke back within six.  Duke then turned to the press, but Kyle Singler was called for what seemed like a tick-tack foul, which will send the Badgers who are already in the bonus, back to the line.

Duke 54, Wisconsin 62 (6:39 2nd Half): There is one word for players like Trevon Hughes: clutch.  AFter the guard sunk two FTs after the break, he came down on the next possession and buried a three from the corner, singlehandedly making a one posession game a three possession game in a matter of seconds.  Duke needs to figure out how to stop Hughes and his 21 points if they hope to come back here as time is getting short.

Duke 54, Wisconsin 57 (7:40 2nd Half): Got to give Badger fans credit: after Jon Scheyer fell awkwardly into the stands trying to save a loose ball, they immediately applauded after he returned to the floor unscathed.  Duke was able to get the lead down to a single point after two FTs by Singler, but a few solid plays by Jordan Taylor reenergized the crowd.  Duke battled back though thanks to some more timely FTs from Scheyer, and the lead stands at three.  Interesting to note the foul disparity—six to three in Wisconsin's favor— at this point in the half, especially after the officials just called a block on Singler after it appeared he was set in the lane for at least a couple of seconds.

Duke 48, Wisconsin 53 (11:18 2nd Half): Duke is finally starting to do the little things it needs to do to win, thanks to a little extra hustle from Nolan Smith and Miles Plumlee.  After Smith was blocked on a drive, he was able to recover and get the ball out to Andre Dawkins for a wide open three.  Minutes later, Miles Plumlee saved an offensive rebound from going out of bounds, allowing Kyle Singler to eventually get an open three of his own.  But Duke remains unable to stop Trevon Hughes, as the Badger star continues to sink every shot he takes even with as many as three Blue Devil defenders in his face.  Every time it looks as if Duke has finally silenced the crowd and is about to go on a run, Hughes answer with an impressive play to rile up the students once again.  This one is going down to the wire, folks.

Duke 40, Wisconsin 47 (14:22 2nd Half): It looked as if Duke was going to go on a run early in the 2nd half after the Blue Devils got the lead down to two thanks to good pressure defense and some solid shooting from Singler and Scheyer.  But every time it looks like Duke is going to make a run the Badgers answer right back.  In this stretch it was Trevon Hughes, who first burned Andre Dawkins on a backdoor cut and then sunk a three with a hand in his face to put Wisconsin back up seven.  The Badger fans remain loud and energized thanks to Hughes' efforts.

Duke 32, Wisconsin 38 (HALFTIME): Smith fumbles the ball on the final play and forces up a shot that doesn't fall, and Duke goes into the half down 6.  Singler leads Duke with 17 points, while Leuer leads Wisconsin with 12.

The difference in the game so far has been the secondary scoring for both teams.  Duke has gotten no points from its bench, and only four from players who don't have S as their last initial (four from Miles Plumlee).  Wisconsin, meanwhile, has seven players who have scored in the game.  The other key factor has been three point shooting: while Duke has shot only 1-5 from beyond the arc, Wisconsin if 5-11.  It seems as if every player on the court for Wisconsin can shoot from nearly anywhere on the court, which has proved to be a problem when Duke's big men have had to switch on pick and rolls.

It will be very interesting to keep track of Duke's defensive strategies for the rest of the game.  For about a five minute period the Blue Devils went to their new 3-2 zone, first with Kyle Singler on top and then with Lance Thomas.  The defense proved successful as Wisconsin looked legitimately confused and committed a few turnovers, but then Coach K siwtched back to man to man as the half expired, and Wisconsin answered with a few quick baskets.

In other news, the Red Panda Acrobat just wowed the crowd with an act that involved a unicycle and a lot of paper bowls.  Impressive.

Duke 32, Wisconsin 38 (0:37 1st Half): Duke's aggressive defense finally pays off, as a steal by Scheyer leads to two free throws, and Singler almost gets another steal but is called for a kicked ball.  Scheyer's struggles could be a concern for Duke, as the senior has only four points so far in the contest.

Duke 30, Wisconsin 38 (2:32 1st Half): The Kohl Center has gotten loud again after Keaton Nankivil nailed an open three to put the Badgers back up 8.  The story for the Badgers remains Leuer, who now has 12 points and continues to sink every open shot he gets.  On the defensive side of the ball Duke has returned to the man-to-man defense... the continuously changing defense schemes is proving to be an interesting strategy from Coach K especially since the 3-2 seemed to be working even better with Lance Thomas up top.

On the offensive side of the ball, Singler still appears like he can't be stopped, although he has finally missed a few shots.  Nolan Smith also appears to be heating up, as he's sunk a couple of nice fade away jmpers.

Duke 26, Wisconsin 30 (5:58 1st Half): Singler has finally missed a shot, a forced three from the corner, but before that he had made 9 straight shots, including four three free throws, for 15 first half points.  But the real reason Duke is back within four is a change in defensive strategy.  Duke has gone to a 3-2 zone with Singler playing up top, and it has so far stifled the Badgers.  While early on Wisconsin was able to get offense by penetrating the lane and dropping the ball off to its big men when help came, now such a scheme is not available to them.  If Trevon Hughes hadn't nailed a three from a few feet past NBA distance, this would be a one point game.

Keep an eye on forward Jon Leuer for Wisconsin, who has seven points, three rebounds, an assist and a block thus far, and has been the beneficiary of many of those previously mentioned penetration passes.

Duke 19, Wisconsin 25 (11:29 1st Half): There is one reason Duke is within six points, and his name is Kyle Singler.  Singler has certainly rebounded from a subpar performance in New York and is 5-for-5 from the field and has 12 points so far.  But on the defensive end, Duke's aggressive man-to-man scheme continues to get burned by Wisconsin's pick-and-roll.  Blue Devil defenders, especially Miles Plumlee, seem to be having difficulty switching on those picks, which has led to a few open jumpers for the Badgers.

In other news, Mason Plumlee did little of note in approximately two minutes of action, but certainly seemed tentative, especially on the defensive end, where he had a few rebounds taken away from him by Badger big men.

Duke 7, Wisconsin 15 (15:41 1st Half): This is certainly not the start Duke wanted entering a hostile environment.  The Blue Devils certainly look like they're playing in their first real road test of the year: uncharacteristic turnovers, poor shot selection, and bad fouls are hounding Duke.  On the defensive end Duke is sticking with man-to-man and is forcing Wisconsin to hold the ball deep into the shot-clock, but the Badgers are simply hitting their shots.  It seems as if every Badger on the court can make the open, or even contested, three point shot.

But out of the time out Mason Plumlee enters the game, hopefully to give the Blue Devils an energy boost.  Andre Dawkins enters as well.

PREGAME: And the Kohl center just got loud.  Really loud.  The Badgers make their way onto the floor and everyone in attendance stands in welcome.  This is a very impressive environment for a college basketball game.  The Kohl Center certainly knows how to do start a game off right... the lights dim, a hype video plays, and the starting lineups are introduced to deafening applause (or boos) from the student section.

Starting lineup for Duke remains the same: Scheyer, Smith, Singler, Thomas, Miles Plumlee.  It will be interesting to see how Mason Plumlee is used today.

PREGAME: Oh, by the way... my colleague Joe Drews is getting acquainted with Twitter during the contest today... so for those of you who actually use one of the (in my humble opinion) most useless pieces of technology Western Civilization has ever created, feel free to check it out.

PREGAME: Welcome to the Big Ten-ACC Challenge Duke fans!  We're blogging live from the Kohl Center in Madison, Wisconsin as the Blue Devils get set to take on Bo Ryan's Wisconsin Badgers.  As previously reported on this very blog, Mason Plumlee is expected to see the first regular season action of his career today, and he indeed did warm up with the team, although he did appear to have some sort of brace on his wrist.  In fact, the Blue Devils just left the court after shooting around and received a very polite and hospitable welcome from the Wisconsin student section (which has a few conspicuous spots of Duke blue scattered about).

In other news, the Kohl Center is HUMONGOUS.  From the outside and within it seems more like an NBA arena than a Big Ten one, especially considering Madison's, umm, unwelcoming conditions.  That makes the Badgers' streak of 122 straight sellouts even more impressive.

Elsewhere in the Challenge today, Clemson is handling Illinois by nearly 20 points in the second half, and Boston College is (surprisingly) up 15 against Michigan in Ann Arbor (which gives the Wolverine in me an excuse to remind everyone that Manny Harris is sick-nasty), and Minnesota and Miami are locked in a close one in the second half.  Florida State will tip off against Ohio State soon after Duke's own contest begins.

Well, the Blue Devils are back on the floor, and are greeted by what appears to be the "gator chomp" by the student section (not quite sure of the significance there).  We'll be back to let you know the starting lineups in a bit.


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