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Duke runs out of answers in second half against Louisville

Mar 31, 2013, 9:17 PM EDT

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Despite 10 first-half turnovers and three fouls for senior forward Ryan Kelly the Duke Blue Devils trailed Louisville by just three points at the half, 35-32. With those two facts in mind the Blue Devils had to like their chances against the tournament’s top overall seed.

But after a solid start to the second half Duke found itself on the wrong end of a dominant performance, as their struggles on both ends of the floor would ultimately result in an 85-63 Louisville victory.

Duke shot 32% overall and 2-of-10 from three in the second half as they were outscored 50-31 by the Cardinals. With just two second-half turnovers one would assume that the Blue Devils would be in very good shape. But even with the lack of turnovers the ball ended up being funneled into positions where Duke could not hurt Louisville.

“What they do, and Rick’s done an amazing job with them, because they have depth and they keep coming at you, but they make you have multiple decision‑makers,” said Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski. “You have to have more than one guy making a decision out on the court.

“And in switching their defenses and their quickness and their athleticism, you have to‑‑ it’s tough to run plays.  You have to make plays against them.”

As for the other end of the floor, Louisville struggled to shoot from the perimeter (2-of-13 3PT) outside of a few mid-range jumpers from center Gorgui Dieng and a couple long twos from Peyton Siva.

But their ability to crack the Blue Devil defense and get into the paint proved to be the difference.

The Cardinals shot 59% from the field and 16-of-23 from the foul line in the second half, making 14 of their 19 shots from inside of the arc. That proved to be too much for Duke to overcome given their offensive struggles.

Duke will look to account for the graduation of Kelly, Seth Curry and Mason Plumlee (not to mention assistant Chris Collins, who is the new head coach at Northwestern), and the addition of players such as Matt Jones, Jabari Parker and Semi Ojeleye will help and the same goes for Mississippi State transfer Rodney Hood.

On this day however, Duke simply ran into a better team.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

  1. thebadguyswon - Mar 31, 2013 at 10:01 PM

    That’s funny….because as a Duke fan I did NOT like their chances at the half. You could see they could not handle the press. Louisville is twice the team Duke is defensively.

  2. cpanthersfan - Mar 31, 2013 at 10:01 PM

    Proud to be a Duke fan and the team had a great run. Will def miss the seniors they were awesome. Just lost to a damn good team, unbelievable effort on Louisvilles part. Gotta respect a team that takes all the the refs/bad calls/home crowd advantage guess work out of it and just plays hard and plays ball. Well coached as well. Heart goes out to Ware hope he can come back one day. Good luck to the Cards and congrats to all Final Four teams.

  3. packhawk04 - Mar 31, 2013 at 10:44 PM

    Duke ran into a better team. But another great year for them. Im a michigan guy, i dont really like duke. But it really will be a for college basketball when coach k calls it quits. All class in wins or losses.

  4. astrozac - Mar 31, 2013 at 10:50 PM

    This might be the best shot Duke had at a title for a few years. They had the senior leadership, with talented pieces around them to form a good team. But they have not had any mid size athletic guys or a true small forward since Gerald Henderson left and Kyle Singer graduated to a degree. Amile Jefferson and Alex Murphy weren’t hardly allowed off the bench to develop and Jefferson was pretty much used as a power forward. I think it would be a mistake to try and bulk him up too much…
    Next year they will have that with Parker, Hood and Ojeleye there, plus Jones and Andre Dawkins returning presumably. But aside from Cook and Suliamon they won’t have the experienced talent to go along with it. Dawkins, Thornton and Hairston are role players.
    And I wouldn’t be surprised to see some transfers and unhappy players, because that’s eleven people fighting for mintues I just mentioned. And the last player highlights the biggest issue Duke will struggle with is, height and size. Marshall Plumlee is the only one next year presumably to fill the center spot. Hairston’s got bulk but no height and they will forced to play people out of position if Plumlee isn’t ready to step up. It might look the 08 and 09 teams with Singler and Lance Thomas forced to play out of position a lot.
    But theres enough talent for Coach K for 25 wins, but don’t know how far they can get. And another good job by Louisville in shellacking an opponent

  5. coltsravens - Apr 1, 2013 at 9:48 AM

    Duke continues to be the most overrated program in the country. Always good not great. Coach K has a simple formula. Duke starts the season at their highest playing level and they don’t get any better as the season progresses. So beat good teams early, pad the resume, fade down the stretch and play the NCAA selection committee like puppets for a top 4 seed. Works ever year.

  6. thebadguyswon - Apr 1, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    Yeah…very overrated. Those 4 titles were handed to them. padded their schedule with the hardest RPI schedule in the nation. Wow. How’s the water in Maryland anyway?

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