I have to admit as a Duke fan this game worried me quite a bit, Michigan teams are generally a scrappy bunch, usually long and can get to the basket and are disciplined as their coach John Beilein. What was a surprise to me is the way Duke came out on fire hitting shots from all over the place. Duke shot 65% from the field in the first half and 67% from 3 point range, which is unheard of. Unfortunately only 57.1 percent from the free throw line, which at some point is going to come back to haunt this team if it isn’t righted.
Luckily Duke did have some margin for error in this game, Michigan did prove a worthy opponent, getting the score close, Duke was able to keep the Wolverines at bay but Michigan made it interesting, and continually would hit Duke with run after run that the Devils in turn would answer. Michigan never got the lead below 5 in the second half, but did keep the pressure on the Devils. Michigan was lead by Tim Hardaway Jr. and Trey Burke who had 19Â and 17 points respectively. Hardaway took until the second half to make his mark on the game but did so in chunks, giving the Devils fits with his length and quickness. Burke gave Duke fits all night dishing out 9 assist to go with his 17 points. Dukes defense on Michigan was stellar, holding the hot shooting Wovlerines to only 7 3-point makes in the game, Duke also kept them off of the line only allowing 9 attempts.
Duke was able to counter with good shot selection andÂ strong drives from Austin Rivers who paced the Devils with 20 points. What I like about Austin Rivers is his fire, he took it personally when Michigan made their runs and usually had the answer. Rivers got help from the usual suspects: Ryan Kelly who had 17 points and Seth Curry matching that total. Kelly seems to returning to the form we saw in China, and while he didn’t take a lot of shots was 9 of 10 from the free throw line. Curry hit shot after shot only missing 1 from the field, perfect from 3 and the free throw line while dishing out 3 assists.