Throughout Jim Larrañaga’s 12-year tenure at Miami, his teams have shown their resilience time and time again.
This year’s team has been no different. The Hurricanes have battled back from improbable deficits and pressure-inducing circumstances all season long, but they failed to do enough on Saturday at the hostile Cameron Indoor Stadium, as the Blue Devils (14-5, 5-3 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)) edged them out, 68-66.
Kansas State transfer Nijel Pack kept Miami (15-4, 6-3 ACC) afloat in the first half. His game-high 14 points withstood Duke’s offensive execution.
The Blue Devils, led by first-year freshman Kyle Filipowski’s nine points, totaled 13 assists and shot 45.5% from beyond the arc. The two ACC opponents were deadlocked at 38 apiece at the break.
Duke landed the first punch of the second half, jumping out to an eight-point lead with 11:45 remaining in the second half. This strong start was shouldered by veteran guard Jeremy Roach.
The junior playmaker was sensational in his first game back after missing three contests with a toe injury. He finished with 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field, including two pull-up jumpers that gave the Blue Devils their second-half advantage.
The Blue Devils held this advantage throughout the rest of the second half, but the ‘Canes kept chipping away, trimming this deficit to as little as a point with 2:04 remaining in the game.
Duke’s late-game execution was better than Miami’s during this final stretch of play. The Blue Devils’ defense buckled down during these last two minutes, limiting UM to just one made basket on four attempts.
Duke also held Miami under its season average in scoring, as the Hurricanes’ 66-point total paled in comparison to the 78.4 points per game the Hurricanes averaged heading into Saturday’s contest.
Filipowski led Duke with 17 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Roach also had a game-high four assists.
Fourth-year guard Jordan Miller led all players with 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the field, and Pack ended with 18 points of his own.
Miami will travel back to the Sunshine State for the second game of its three-leg road trip, as it will face in-state rival Florida State at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center on Tuesday. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
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