No. 25 Miami destroyed No. 1 Duke on Jan. 23 by a final score of 90-63. The post play of the Hurricanes was a point of emphasis from beginning to end. Senior forward Kenny Kadji knocked down his shots in the post and from outside. Senior F-C Julian Gamble did everything else for head coach Jim Larranaga.
Gamble was huge defensively and on the boards. He ended the game with 10 rebounds, 4 blocked shots and 2 steals. Three of his rebounds were offensive, giving Miami second chance scoring opportunities. In the opening 5:35 of the game, Gamble had 2 offensive rebounds, 2 blocks and a steal. The Hurricanes only converted on one of those plays, but it sparked an energy boost for the team that they rode into an early lead.
Kadji was once again superb from the floor. He was 2-for-3 from behind the arc and 9-for-11 total. That is remarkably efficient for a 6’11” forward who shoots from anywhere on the court. Kadji’s excellent outside shooting also allows him to get his defender in the air so he can slash to the rim, where he can finish strong or draw a foul. He scored 22 points and grabbed six boards.
Hurricanes senior center Reggie Johnson returned to play from a broken left thumb. He was eased back into the action, logging 16 minutes. In those minutes, he recorded five rebounds and a block.
On the opposing side’s front-court, the Blue Devils were still without senior forward Ryan Kelly. Kelly missed his third consecutive game for coach Mike Krzyzewski with a foot injury. If Kelly is on the court for coach K, maybe Miami’s bigs aren’t able to dominate the same way, but on this night Kadji and Gamble reigned supreme.
When these teams meet again at Duke on March 2, Krzyzewski will have made the proper adjustments and we should see a more competitive match-up.