This season is the year of the Hurricane; not the Carolina Hurricanes on Tobacco Road, however. The most surprising team in the college basketball has been the Miami (FL) Hurricanes. Although this is true, tonight was all about the return of Ryan Kelly. This game marked Kelly’s first appearance since Jan. 8th, 2013. He was the best player for the Duke Blue Devils tonight. Kelly finished the game with 36 points, seven rebounds and two steals. Kelly was 10-14 from the field and he nailed seven of nine three-point field goals. His heroic effort powered No. 3 Duke past No. 5 Miami, 79-76. Other key contributors from Duke included Mason Plumlee with 12 points, five rebounds, two assists and two blocks. Quinn Cook had 15 points, five assists and four rebounds.
Miami was led by Shane Larkin, who amassed 25 points, four rebounds and four assists. Kenny Kadji had 17 points and 10 rebounds. Trey McKinney-Jones and Durand Scott added 12 points and five rebounds individually. The shocking statistic for Miami was that Reggie Johnson was scoreless for this game. Last season, Miami upset Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Johnson scored 27 points in this match-up. However, this season Duke made sure that he did not dominate the post.
Miami led the entire first half. They also were winning the game at halftime, 36-34. In the second half, Miami and Duke went back and forth. The lead switched hands several times, until Duke took the lead for good with nine minutes left in the game. If you look at some of the overall team statistics, you may assume that Miami won the game. For instance, Miami had 37 rebounds whereas Duke had 25 rebounds. In addition, Miami made 28 out of 64 field goals (43.8% field goal percentage) whereas Duke only made 26 out of 50 field goals (52% field goal percentage). However, Duke won the game from the three-point line. Close to half of Duke’s field goals were three-pointers. Duke connected on 11 of their 23 three-point field goals. Kelly made seven of Duke’s 11 three-pointers.
Duke won this game simply because they made more three-point field goals than Miami did. This win goes to show you that if you live by the three, then you can win by the three. Moreover, Saturday’s game could possibly have been the deciding factor that will make Duke a No. 1 seed and Miami a No. 2 seed in the 2013 NCAA Tournament, which takes place later on this month. This is due to the fact that Kelly did not play in the first match-up between these two teams on Jan. 23rd, 2012.