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In a highly-anticipated matchup featuring two top-10 teams with two of the best offenses in the country, No. 8 Notre Dame upended No. 4 Duke 77-73 Wednesday night at Purcell Pavilion in South Bend, Ind. The Blue Devils led by as much as 10 in the second half, but their woes at the free throw line and several clutch plays by Jerian Grant—who led the Fighting Irish with 23 points and 12 assists—proved to be too much to overcome as they failed to capture their third road victory against a top-10 opponent this season.
After securing a landmark victory with Sunday’s 77-68 comeback triumph against St. John’s, the Blue Devils head right back to the hardwood for the opening half of their toughest two-game stretch to date. No. 4 Duke travels to South Bend, Ind. to square off with No. 8 Notre Dame at Purcell Pavilion at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday before taking on undefeated No. 2 Virginia Saturday.
15 top-25 teams suffered losses last week to cause chaos in the AP Poll. Although this week was not quite as crazy, there were still some notable losses and shifts in the latest top 25:
RALEIGH, N.C.—With the AP Preseason Player of the Year controlling the post and several talented players complementing him on the perimeter, the Blue Devils were supposed to be a team that could beat you by dominating the paint or winning the battles on the perimeter. Or both.
RALEIGH, N.C.—Heading into the locker room at a packed PNC Arena, No. 2 Duke trails N.C. State 37-33, the first time this season that the Blue Devils have been behind at halftime.
In their first ACC road game of the season, the No. 2 Blue Devils will make the trip to Winston-Salem, N.C., to take on Wake Forest at Lawrence Joel Coliseum looking for their 14th consecutive double-digit win to open the season. Tipoff is at 9 p.m. Before each game this season, the Blue Zone will select a player on both teams that could make the difference for their respective squads:
After making it through the early portion of their schedule with an unblemished record, the Blue Devils kick off conference play against Boston College Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Eagles bring a 7-4 record to Durham for what will be their first true road game of the season, while Duke will be playing its third home game in less than a week following victories against Toledo and Wofford. Three keys to a Blue Devil victory in their ACC opener:
It didn’t look pretty—especially in the first half—but the No. 2 Blue Devils were able to escape with a 66-56 victory against a scrappy Connecticut team Thursday night at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, N.J. Despite having all five starters reach double figures—led by point guard Tyus Jones with 21—Duke was unable to find a true rhythm offensively, shooting less than 40 percent for the game. The Blue Devils used a 15-2 run in the early minutes of the second half to pull away from the defending national champion Huskies, who had erased an early deficit and tied the game at 30.
The Blue Devils will be drawing a lot of scouts in the spring—at least when Michael Matuella is on the mound.
In the most anticipated matchup of the season, No. 4 Duke prevailed against No. 2 Wisconsin, earning a 80-70 win at the Kohl Center Wednesday night. Although most people expected the game to hinge on the battle between the two preseason First-Team All-Americans—Duke’s Jahlil Okafor and Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky—it was the Blue Devil backcourt that carried the team to victory. Guards Tyus Jones, Quinn Cook and Rasheed Sulaimon combined to score 49 points, with each one hitting more than 50 percent of their shots as Duke recorded the most significant triumph for the ACC in the ACC/Big Ten challenge.
In a week that featured several matchups pitting ranked opponents against each other, the Blue Devils were not the only team to be knocked from the ranks of the unbeaten.
After suffering consecutive disappointing home losses, the Blue Devils were able to rebound and end their regular-season slate on a high note, dispatching Wake Forest 41-21 Saturday night at Wallace Wade Stadium. Duke (9-3, 5-3 in the ACC) got excellent 100-yard performances from its top two receiving threats—fellow seniors Jamison Crowder and Issac Blakeney—en route to a Senior Night victory in which the Demon Deacons (3-9, 1-7) never held a lead.
The Blue Devils were not in peak form Saturday, and ultimately their miscues caught up to them.
The Blue Devils were in control early on, but were unable to put the game out of reach as Virginia Tech clawed its way back into the game in the second quarter.
The Blue Devils open the regular season Friday at 6 p.m. against Presbyterian at Cameron Indoor Stadium as part of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. Three keys that will enable No. 4 Duke to get its season started on a high note:
The road has not been kind to the Blue Devils all year, and Sunday was no exception.
Jahlil Okafor may be collecting all the accolades—AP Preseason Player of the Year and first team All-American, just to name two—but there are three other reasons why Duke’s freshman class was ranked No. 1 in the Class of 2014.
No. 4 Duke closes out exhibition play Saturday afternoon at Cameron Indoor Stadium against Division II Central Missouri. Here are the three keys to this afternoon's contest, which will tip off at 1 p.m.: