Charles Nailen/The Hoya Georgetown stumbled and eventually fell to No. 1 Duke Wednesday at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

DURHAM, N.C. – For 34 minutes the Georgetown Hoyas looked every bit the equal of the No. 1 Duke Blue Devils. But six minutes was all that the nation’s top team needed to dismantle any hope of a Hoya upset.

After trailing the Hoyas (8-2) by three at halftime, the Blue Devils (10-0) used those six minutes to pull away on a 19-5 run, taking the lead with 16:35 remaining, and never trailing again en route to a 93-86 victory before a raucous crowd of 9,314 at Cameron Indoor Stadium Wednesday night.

Georgetown matched Duke blow for blow in the early going and after a buzzer beater by sophomore Tony Bethel, headed into the locker room with a 44-41 lead, marking the first time this season the Blue Devils have trailed at the half.

Tight man-to-man defense held Duke’s top offensive threats, All-American point guard Chris Duhon and freshman shooting guard J.J. Redick, to a combined two points in the first half. But the Blue Devils showcased their depth as senior forward Dahntay Jones stepped up to shoulder the scoring burden in their stead, tallying 13 points in the half on the way to a team-high 22 for the game, matching his career high, to compliment his 11 rebounds. Sophomore Daniel Ewing sparked the Blue Devils off the bench, posting a career-best 19 points.

The Hoyas weathered a potentially devastating opening to the game as a three-pointer by Jones and a showtime alley-oop from Duhon to freshman Shelden Williams whipped the Cameron Crazies into a frenzy. But a three-pointer by junior forward Gerald Riley just 10 seconds later knotted the game at five, the first of 10 ties in a half that saw five lead changes.

“The intensity of both teams was sensational,” Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “I’m so proud of our guys because Georgetown played really well tonight. They’re a good team.”

Georgetown opened its largest lead of the night, 46-41, on a Riley follow-up basket to open the second half, but Duke rallied after junior forward Mike Sweetney picked up his fourth foul and was forced to the bench with 16:35 remaining. Two Duke three-pointers by Redick and Duhon ignited a 15-5 run as the Hoyas missed their next five shots with the star power forward on the bench.

“Those threes got the crowd going and we took four probably ill-advised shots,” Georgetown Head Coach Craig Esherick said.

“I was shocked it went in,” Duhon said of his three. “I haven’t hit a three in ages.”

By the time Sweetney returned, the Hoyas trailed 63-54 and never drew closer than five again.

Without Sweetney, Duke out-rebounded the Hoyas 7-1 and 24-10 for the entire second half. The Blue Devils out-rebounded their taller opponents 45-37 in the game.

“I can’t believe we out-rebounded them,” Krzyzewski said.

After being dormant in the first half, Duhon and Redick led the Duke resurgence in the second. Redick scored all 13 of his points in the second half while Duhon added seven second half assists in addition to his momentum-turning three-pointer.

“I thought Duhon was magical tonight in the second half,” Krzyzewski said. “The passes he made when he went to beat their pressure . they were pinpoint passes.”

The Blue Devils shot 68 percent from the field in the second half.

When Sweetney returned with just under 13 minutes remaining, he made his presence known, scoring 12 of his game-high 23 points with four fouls before finally picking up his fifth with six seconds left.

Riley and Bethel added 14 and 13 points respectively while sophomore Darrel Owens contributed 11 off of the bench.

“For three-quarters of that game I was extremely proud of the way we played,” Esherick said. “Now we have to go out and work on that one quarter.”

Throughout the game the crowd filled the close confines of Cameron Indoor with a cacophony of support for the Blue Devils. After the game both Krzyzewski and the team believed their fans figured largely into the game’s outcome.

“I’m glad we’ve got a sixth man like that,” Krzyzewski said of the fans. “Cameron was hungry tonight.”

“I think that if we were anywhere else tonight we wouldn’t have been able to overcome what we overcame tonight,” Duhon said.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.