For the second straight game, Duke struggled on defense and also struggled holding on to the ball offensively. The Blue Devils gave up a season high 22 turnovers Sunday at Wake Forest and surpassed that with 23 Wednesday night while the Demon Deacons scored a Duke opponent high 86 points Sunday only to be bested by 10 points by the Hurricanes.
Down 59-39 with 12:47 left, Duke put on a furious rally, scoring 56 points while shooting 17-of-28 from the field, 9-of-16 from three and 13-of-18 from the line over that timeframe, but also gave up 37 points to fall a point short. Jon Scheyer scored 22 of his career high 27 points in the last 12:47 and DeMarcus Nelson scored 14 of his 19 in that time frame, as well, including seven in the last 35 seconds.
Both teams got off to slow starts as the game was tied at 5-5 over five minutes into the game. Miami then founds its range a bit, outscoring Duke 12-6 in the next three minutes before the game's next stall came into play. The game stayed at 17-11 in favor of the Hurricanes until Lance Thomas hit a shot to bring Duke to within 17-13 midway through the first half.
The two played evenly over the next five minutes before Duke tied the game at 26-26 with a Brian Zoubek shot. Miami built up a six point lead at 39-33 with a minute left in the first half and the score at the break was 41-36 in favor of the Hurricanes.
The beginning of the second half was all Miami and after Kyle Singler hit a three-pointer 45 seconds into the half, Miami would outscore Duke 15-0 over the next six and a half minutes and build the lead to 59-39.
Duke's comeback started with five quick points from Scheyer seven seconds apart to cut the lead to 59-44. A Nelson three cut the lead to 14 at 63-49 before Miami built the lead back to 16 at 67-51 with 9:45 left. Duke kept scoring but couldn't stop Miami, either, and finally cut the lead to 10 at 82-72 with a three from Gerald Henderson at the 3:45 mark.
Scheyer hit a three 24 seconds later to cut the lead to seven at 82-75 before Jack McClinton hit two free throws to make it a nine point advantage. Greg Paulus hit a three and Nelson connected on a layup inbetween a McClinton jumper to cut the lead to six at 86-80 with 2:26 remaining. Miami pushed the lead back to eight twice on fastbreak layups as Raymond Hicks put Miami up 90-82 with just 1:45 left.
Singler hit a pair of free throws and then Hicks missed a pair for Miami before Scheyer was fouled on a three point attempt and made two of his three freebies to cut the lead to 90-86 with 1:29 left. Brian Asbury put Miami up 92-86 with two free throws and then Nelson drove and dunked with 35 seconds left to make it 92-88.
McClinton then connected on one of two from the line to make it 93-88 and Duke scored quickly to make it 93-90 on a Palulus lay-up. Asbury then hit one of two at the line, Miami, 94-90, before Nelson got a rebound and putback with just :05 on the clock. McClinton hit both free throws with 1.6 seconds left and then Nelson hit a three at the buzzer for the final score of 96-95.
Dwayne Collins lead the 'Canes with a career high 26 poitns while McClinton scored 22.
Duke returns to action Saturday as St. John's visits Cameron Indoor Stadium in the final non-conference game of the season for Duke. The game will start at 4 p.m. and be televised nationally by CBS. Duke then will hit the stretch run with the last quarter of the conference schedule with Georgia Tech at Cameron on Feb. 27.
Duke then has back-to-back road games at N.C. State March 1 and Virginia March 5 before North Carolina visits Cameron to close the regular season March 8.