It was shades of Notre Dame for Duke fans with the Blue Devils letting a huge lead diminish. Luckily for the Crazies this story had a much better ending with Duke not succumbing to the Yale Bulldogs and backing into a win 71-64.
Duke led but as much as 27 points before seeing that lead dwindle to 3 points. Duke did just enough to squeak by Yale who seemed to just start clicking around the 15 minute mark of the second half. For Duke there was a lot of standing around and guys looking at each other but eventually Duke would snap out of the haze and even more importantly Yale started to go cold. Credit Duke’s 1-3-1 zone and the fatigue of mounting a huge comeback and the ball finally bouncing the Blue Devils way. Credit also the clutch shots and free throws in the waning moments from Grayson Allen and Brandon Ingram who scored 29 and 25 respectively.
Duke shot the ball well in the game from beyond the arc going 11 of 23 (48%) interestingly enough Duke shot better from 3 than they did from 2 point range. Duke did not do well in the rebounding department losing that battle 42-28 which yielded a 21-2 advantage for Yale in second chance points.
For Duke it was all about accentuating the positive: shooting the 3 and getting to the line. They did 1 of 2 and it was good enough to advance to the Sweet 16.
Shooting the 3 – Duke shot 11-23 for 48%, probably the main reason they won this game
Foul shooting percentage – Duke shot 87.5% for the game, something they will need to continue to do no matter how many times they get there.
Playing through the run/ Taking the whuppin’ – I believe it was Johnny Dawkins that said that sometimes in basketball you have to take or withstand the whuppin’, meaning a team is going to put a run on you and you have to be able to take, withstand, and not let it color the outcome or your performance.
Rebounding – Duke lost that battle and it wasn’t even close 42-28, it contributed to a 21-2 second chance points advantage for Yale.
Aggressiveness – I think Duke bailed out Yale by not driving the ball aggressively enough in this game that showed in the low number of free throw attempts – its been Duke’s bread and butter, not so much today.