DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Matthew Hurt helped eighth-ranked Duke shoot itself out of a two-game skid.
The freshman scored 15 of his 22 points in a dominating first half to help the Blue Devils beat Miami 89-59 on Tuesday night.
Tre Jones added 16 points for the Blue Devils (16-3, 6-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who were coming off their first back-to-back losses since February 2018. They were never in any danger in this one, following a 33-point win in the first meeting by turning this one into another blowout by midway through the opening half.
Duke shot 53% for the game and hit 11 of 25 3-pointers, nine of those coming in an opening half that saw the Blue Devils start the game by knocking down open look after open look against Miami’s zone.
“This team would be definitely dangerous,” said Tre Jones, who had 16 points for Duke. “When everyone’s being aggressive like that, looking for their shots, taking them when they’re open, we all believe in each other and we all have the confidence.”
Hurt, a 6-foot-9 forward, buried a 3 from the left corner on Duke’s first possession then followed with another — in which he pumpfaked Sam Waardenburg off his feet to set up the shot — from the opposite wing on the next possession.
He went on to make 4 of 7 from behind the arc, his sixth game this season with at least three made 3s.
Hurt pointed to all the defensive attention that goes to freshman big man Vernon Carey Jr. inside as a key reason for the Blue Devils getting so many clean looks from outside, while coach Mike Krzyzewski said Hurt has gotten quicker at getting his shot off by being better prepared when the ball comes his way.
“We have a beast in Vernon down low,” Hurt said. “You try and double him, we just have to hit open shots so they can play 1-on-1 against Vernon, and he’ll probably win that matchup every time.”
Once Hurt got things going, the Blue Devils didn’t stop hitting in that opening half.
“Well, our game plan was to pack in the paint and give them 3s,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. “And I guess we did a good job of that. … When you score 27 points on 3s in the first half, you know your defense is in trouble.”
Rodney Miller had 13 points and 13 rebounds for the Hurricanes (10-8, 2-6) who missed 25 of their first 31 shots as this game got away quickly. Miami came in shooting 45% and ranked in the top 30 nationally of KenPom’s adjusted offensive efficiency in rankings, but the Hurricanes couldn’t hang in against Duke’s early onslaught.
Miami shot 30% for the game.
“We missed some golden opportunities early in the game,” Larranaga said, adding: “So once we dug ourselves a hole, it was all she wrote.”
Miami: The Hurricanes have lost three straight and five of six, a skid that includes a 95-62 home loss to the Blue Devils on Jan 4. This one wasn’t much better.
Duke: The Blue Devils were coming off a loss at Clemson followed by Saturday’s home game against now-No. 6 Louisville, but cleaned up some issues from those games. They had a combined 31 turnovers in the two losses, then shot just 37% against the Cardinals while making just 6 of 25 from 3-point range. They surpassed that number long before halftime Tuesday and had just 10 turnovers.
“They really responded to the two losses in a very positive way,” Krzyzewski said. “Our practices yesterday were excellent, our team meetings, I think we grew a lot as a team yesterday. It showed today.”
Miami leading scorer Chris Lykes struggled again against Duke.
The 5-foot-7 junior came in averaging 16.1 points but missed his first eight shots and didn’t score or manage a field goal until early in the second half — by then Miami was down 28 — before finishing with nine points on 3-for-13 shooting.
He had eight points on 2-for-15 shooting in the first meeting.
Miami: The Hurricanes visit North Carolina on Saturday.
Duke: The Blue Devils hosts Pittsburgh, led by former Duke player and assistant Jeff Capel, next Tuesday.
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