LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A Jordan Nwora three-pointer with 9:58 left gave #16 UofL a 59-36 lead over #2 Duke. The Cards were dominating the Blue Devils.
That all changed in the final 10 minutes.
Duke outscored UofL 35-10 down the stretch to escape the KFC Yum! Center with a win.
“I’m really proud of my team,” UofL head coach Chris Mack said. “They played their tails off. We played as hard as we’ve played all year. We dominated the best team in the country for 30 something minutes and we have to figure out how to close games. I say we, that’s me, that’s all of our players. We’ve got to figure out to how finish games and close games when teams are in panic mode and they’re drawing up defenses in the sand. Give Duke great credit. Their kids never quit, they battled, they turned us over, it seemed like 1,000 times in the last four or five minutes, I am stunned. I love my group. I feel for them, as I said I thought we outplayed the best team in the country for a long time and our team will grow from this. As hard as it is to accept, we’re gonna grow from it and there will be better times.”
A Cam Reddish three tied the game at 69 with 1:29 left, and then he added two free throws with :14 left to give the Blue Devils a 71-69 lead.
UofL had one final possession, but Christen Cunningham’s shot in the lane bounced off and Zion Williamson came up with the rebound.
Williamson finished with 27 points and 12 rebounds. Nwora lead UofL with 23 and 12 boards.
UofL turned the ball over 17 times, giving Duke a chance to get back in the game.
“We’re not going to get a magic potion, sprinkle it over our guys, or come up with some elaborate press break,” Mack said. “We just have to be men with the ball. We’ve got to meet our passes, we have to pass fake and we have to make the right decisions.”
Duke improves to 22-2, 10-1 in the ACC. The Cards fall to 17-8, 8-4 in the league. They host Clemson (15-8, 5-5) on Saturday at 12 p.m.