ACC Basketball: Duke 86, Washington 80
By Jim OíConnell
NEW YORK ó Duke feels comfortable playing in Madison Square Garden. It seemed to be that way again Saturday except for when the Blue Devils were at the free throw line.
Austin Rivers scored 18 points and the seventh-ranked Blue Devils overcame a 27-for-44 performance at the line to beat Washington 86-80.
ěToday, one of the stories, quite obviously, is our missed free throws,î Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. ěYou know, we make free throws itís not that close at the end. And so the fact that we did that and still won doesnít negate the really good performance that we had.î
The Blue Devils (9-1) seemed in control, taking a 19-point lead three times in the second half. But the Huskies (4-4) shook off a terrible first half and started chipping away. They were able get as close as six points late when Duke, which entered the game shooting 67.4 percent from the line, made 12 of 18 free throws over the final 2:30, including a stretch where the Blue Devils made 1 of 2 on four consecutive trips.
ěSo overall, with the foul trouble, missed free throws and playing a good opponent, I thought this was a heck of a win for us,î Krzyzewski said.
Abdul Gaddyís drive got Washington within 78-72 with 58 seconds leftwhen Andre Dawkins made two with 57 seconds to go. The free throw shooting was a lot better over the final 51 seconds as the Blue Devils made 6 of 8 with Dawkins making 1 of 2 with 7 seconds left for an 86-77 lead. Terrence Ross hit a long 3 at the buzzer in front of a crowd of 15,525.
Dawkins added 17 points for Duke, while Ryan Kelly had 16 and eight rebounds and Mason Plumlee had 12 points and nine rebounds.
ěWe knew they would score in spurts and they did,î Dawkins said. ěWe got a little lax but we were able to finish the game out.î
Dawkins said the trouble his teammates had at the line didnít affect him.
ěI took those free throws like they were the first of the game,î he said. ěYou canít worry about what happened in the past. You have to take care of right then.î
Plumlee entered the game shooting 42.3 percent from the line (22 of 52) but was just 2 of 11 on Saturday.
ěThat canít happen,î Plumlee said of the free throw shooting. ěThat was on me and nobody else. Iíve got a lot of work to do.î
Freshman Tony Wroten had a season-high 23 points for the Huskies while C.J. Wilcox added 22 and Ross had 16.
The Blue Devils were in the building for the first time since Krzyzewski became the winningest menís Division I coach with victory No. 903 last month against Michigan State. They have won 14 of their last 16 games at Madison Square Garden and are 22-7 there under Krzyzewski.
ěWe love coming up to Madison Square Garden,î Krzyzewski said. ěWe try to do it once every year and, great crowd, our school loves it. … I love playing at Cameron, but outside of Cameron, Madison Square Garden is the place.î
Rivers loves it.
ěI could play here every day, this is fun,î said Rivers, the son of Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers. ěWe play here all the time so we might as well get used to it.î
Rivers and fellow guard Seth Curry both fouled out, giving valuable minutes down the stretch to Tyler Thornton and Quinn Cook.
ěQuinn Cook really gave us some huge minutes in handling the ball and he was 4 of 6 from the line,î Krzyzewski said.
Washington was playing in the Garden for the second time in five days. The Huskies lost 79-77 to No. 11 Marquette in the Jimmy V Classic on Tuesday. The team got to spend plenty of free time in New York City, seeing Broadway shows and visiting the 9/11 Memorial, but the trip didnít do much for the won-loss record.
ěWe concluded a very long road trip where our team has learned some valuable lessons,î Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said.
Dawkins had 14 points as the Blue Devils took a 40-26 halftime lead, outrebounding the Huskies 27-18 and outscoring them inside 22-10. Washington shot just 32.3 percent in the half (10 of 31). The Huskies were able to even the numbers out, finishing tied at 38 in points in the paint and getting within 41-36 in rebounds. They shot 61.8 percent in the second half (21 of 34).
ěI was proud that our guys didnít quit,î Romar said. ěOur guys hung in there, battled, scrapped.î
Kelly, who was 2 of 10 from the field in the first half, scored seven points as Duke opened the second half on a 9-4 run to lead 49-30 with 17:53 to play.
The loss dropped the Pac-12 to 0-10 this season against ranked teams.
The Associated Press