It looked bleak for the Duke Blue Devils early, but the team came alive late. After falling behind by 23 points in the second half, No. 2 Duke pulled off an incredible win over the No. 16 Louisville Cardinals.
That didn’t seem possible in the first half. Zion Williamson showed up for the Blue Devils, but his teammates were nowhere to be found.
By halftime, only Williamson had made a significant impact for the Blue Devils. He scored 13 of the team’s 29 points heading into the second half.
HALFTIME. Shot just 36% from the floor (3-15 from deep).
Zion leads the way with 13 points, 7 boards. pic.twitter.com/IZG0weNROQ
— Duke Basketball (@DukeMBB) February 13, 2019
Duke freshman Tre Jones couldn’t get anything going early.
Tre Jones has played all 24 1/2 minutes for Duke tonight. He's 0-5 from the field and has one assist. Outside of Zion, every Duke freshman has been pretty brutal.
— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) February 13, 2019
Jones finished with just six points.
Cam Reddish picked up some points early for the Blue Devils, but couldn’t hit from 3-point land. He started the night 0-for-5 from beyond the arc. His first successful 3-point attempt came with nine minutes left in the game.
It looked like it would be more of the same early in the second half. Duke scored just 10 points during the first 12 minutes of the second half, which allowed Louisville to jump out to a 23-point lead.
A late surge by the Blue Devils made things tense late. With five minutes to go, Duke had whittled down Louisville’s lead to just 10 points.
The Blue Devils kept up that pressure, eventually tying the game 69-69 after Reddish got hot from 3-point range. Reddish finished the contest with 22 points.
With 40 seconds to go, Reddish was called for an offensive foul that would have given Louisville the ball back with 14.9 seconds left. That foul was reviewed, and it was determined it was actually a defensive foul. Reddish drained both free throws to give Duke the 71-69 lead.
Louisville had a last-second chance to tie things up, but missed the shot. Williamson pulled down the rebound, and held the ball until the clock hit zero.
Williamson’s rebound finished yet another impressive night for the freshman. He finished with 27 points and 12 rebounds in the 71-69 win.
Williamson also revealed the message from Mike Krzyzewski that inspired the team in the second half.
Zion asked what Coach K told them in the huddle.
"I don't coach losers. I coach winners."
— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) February 13, 2019
The loss drops No. 16 Louisville to 17-8. They’ll look to bounce back against Clemson on Saturday.
With the win, Duke improves to 22-2 on the season. They should also at least retain their No. 2 ranking, which seemed improbable after the team’s rough first half.
Duke will look to carry over their second half momentum when the team takes on N.C. State on Saturday.
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