The streak was 41 games in a row at home in front of the Cameron Crazies. Arizona now holds the longest home court winning streak in men’s college basketball at 30 after Miami (Florida) turned up the screws defensively in the second half as Duke kept misfiring from long distance as Coach K’s squad was upset for the second straight game. The final score was Miami 90, Duke 74.
The last time that Duke suffered back-to-back losses to unranked teams was in 2007. You have to go further back when Atari video games were all of the rage when Duke lost double digit contests in the ACC, back in 1982-83 to the teams that won those particular championships: Dean Smith and North Carolina along with the late, great Jim Valvano at North Carolina State.
The Hurricanes were led in scoring by senior guard Angel Rodriguez with 24 points as Miami shot 67 percent after trailing by the slimmest of margins, 35-34 at halftime. Miami scored a whopping 56 points in the final 20 minutes of action. Also coming up huge for Miami was Manu Lecomte. The 5’11” sophomore guard who originally hails from Belgium posted a career-high 23 points (12-4, 2-1 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, with an RPI of 80 but I am sure that number will go up a few notches). A major difference besides the suffocating defense was them attacking the dribble penetration, and the Blue Devils couldn’t recover from that large of a deficit. For the game, Miami shot an impressive 51.8 percent, 18 for 27 during the second half alone (6 of 9 from three-point range). Duke did hold the edge in rebounding, 39-31 but again it was their outside shooting that doomed them from the start. The Blue Devils finished the game 6 of 21 from long distance, and that will not win your team a lot of games.
Elsewhere on Tuesday night…
Kentucky simply toyed with Missouri at Rupp Arena, 86-37. After the game, UK Coach John Calipari told Robert Flores and John Buccigross who were both doing SportsCenter live inside Rupp Arena, “We are the fifth youngest team in the country…We are trying to build up (a solid resume) towards March.”
In the Big 12, Kansas dominated Oklahoma State 67-57 at Phog Allen Fieldhouse, even though there was a skirmish late in the contest.
West Virginia won another game against a very good team, 86-65 at home over Oklahoma.
In the Big East, Butler continues to impress again by winning a huge road tilt at Seton Hall, 79-75 in overtime.
In another key mid-major battle, Rhode Island appeared to have a statement win at hand at home over 13-3 VCU. The Rams led 49-40 with 9:04 left to play, but Shaka Smart’s bunch rallied and won going away in the final minute 65-60. My award for courageous player of the night goes to Treveon Graham. Several minutes after hitting the floor hard and nearly suffering a concussion in the process, the 6’6″ senior combo guard/forward tallied 16 of his game-high 26 points in the second half. For Rhode Island, a major chance to grab one of the final at-large berths to the Big Dance appears to be slipping away. For VCU, this was another huge win for their program and another step in the right direction.
Good night, and like Tina Fey used to say many years back on SNL’s Weekend Update, “And may you all have a pleasant tomorrow.”