A severely short handed Duke team showed a lot of toughness, but ultimately came up short against Utah on Saturday afternoon in Madison Square Garden, losing 77-75.
The Blue Devils lost their second game of the season on Saturday, falling to Utah 77-75 despite a furious rally that afforded Coach Krzyzewski’s team a chance to win on the final possession. But Brandon Ingram’s 7 footer bounced off the rim and Utah escaped.
It shouldn’t have been that close, however.
Playing the majority of the game without a center and primarily with six players, the Blue Devils missed 54 attempts from the field, shot 29.9 percent from the floor and 28.6 percent from the perimeter.
With starting center Marshall Plumlee battling foul problems, Amile Jefferson lost for most of the season, and freshman Chase Jeter still not ready for major minutes, Duke elected to play small and was predictably pounded on the interior. Utah out-scored the Blue Devils 48-26 in the paint.
Duke was led by freshman Luke Kennard who came off the bench to score a game high 24 points. Kennard, along with Marshall Plumlee who went 1-of-1 from the field, was the only Blue Devil to play significant minutes and not miss at least 10 shots from the field. Ingram missed 10, Matt Jones missed 13. The starting backcourt of Grayson Allen and Derryck Thornton combined to shoot just 5-of-31 from the field.
Ingram finished with 15 points and five rebounds while Jones added 18 points and four rebounds.
With the loss the Blue Devils fall to 9-2 on the season. The team will return home for Christmas before playing against Elon on December 28th and Long Beach State on December 30th. The team will then open ACC play on January 2nd against Boston College in Boston.