'Canes Fall, 92-83 In Front of a Full House

The ‘Canes were good Wednesday night. But against the undefeated fourth-ranked Duke Blue Devils, good wasn't good enough. Against Duke (14-0, 4-0), they needed to be great. And with that, Miami (12-4, 3-2) fell to the mighty Blue Devils 92-83 in front of a sold out crowd of 7,000 at the Convocation Center.

And had the building been bigger, there would have been more people as over 1,000 students were not granted admission as the arena was already full.

A first half that was played before as electric a crowd as any Hurricanes' team has ever seen saw the ‘Canes play neck-and-neck with Duke.

After falling behind 13-6, the ‘Canes responded with an 11-5 run to cut the Duke lead to one at 18-17 with 12:54 to play in the first half.

But Duke's Shelden Williams simply couldn't be stopped.

The junior missed one shot all night going 11-for-12 from the field and 8-for-8 from the free throw line en route to scoring a career high 30 points.

"Shelden's a really good player," Duke coach Mike Kryzewski said. "You don't expect him to score 30 points, but at times, a really good player can do that. He was terrific tonight."

But so was pretty much everyone else wearing blue and white as Duke shot a season-high 60.8% from the field, by far its best shooting game of the year.

"This was our best by far," Kryzewski said. "We executed our offense very well tonight. I thought our second half execution was great."

In the second half, the Blue Devils shot 61.5% from the field, after shooting a blistering 60% in the first half.

The ‘Canes were able to cut the lead to two at 26-24 on an emphatic alley-oop dunk by Guillermo Diaz on a pass from Anthony Harris that sent the crowd into a roar, but as they did all night, the Blue Devils responded with three-point bombs.

Daniel Ewing's back-to-back three's gave Duke a 32-24 lead with 5:25 to play in the first half, but the ‘Canes inability to convert a few easy lay ups allowed the Blue Devils to hold the lead in the six to eight point range.

Although shooting only 43.2% in the first half, the ‘Canes stayed in the game in large part to dominating the boards. They out rebounded Duke 37 to 30, but also had 20 offensive rebounds.

Trailing 41-34 coming out of the half, the ‘Canes had a quick 4-0 spurt to cut the lead to three, but once again Duke responded.

This time, it was Williams whose lay up and free throw to complete a three-point play gave the Blue Devils a 44-38 lead.

The ‘Canes cut the lead to four on a basket by Will Frisby. Frisby finished with 18 points and six rebounds.

Duke took over from there going on a three-point barrage. The Blue Devils went on a 12-2 run behind three's from Sean Dockery and Lee Melchionni that gave them a 56-42 lead with 14:20 to play.

"It's like a double-edged sword," UM coach Frank Haith said. "If you double-down on Shelden Williams, he'll kick it out to open shooters and they shoot the ball very well, so most of the stuff he did came one-on-one."

Diaz responded with a three from the wing to cut the lead to 11, but once again Duke dropped another bomb, this time by J.J. Redick. He scored 14 of his 21 points in the second half.

"Redick is an outstanding player," Haith said. "He's very patient and I think we may have relaxed against him the second half a little bit at times and he took advantage of it."

After the Blue Devils pushed the lead to 17 and 74-57 with 7:20 to play, the ‘Canes ran off four straight points.

Robert Hite's first basket of the game came on a put back dunk off a Diaz miss with 6:22 to play cut the lead to 74-61. Hite scored only six points on 2-for-7 shooting.

"They did a great job on Rob," Haith said. "They were denying him the ball. We tried to run him off some screens to get him the ball, but they played great defense."

But the ‘Canes could not slice into the lead more because of Duke's unconscious shooting, particularly from three-point range where they shot 47.6%. Overall, Duke was 10-for-21 from three-point range.

Down 87-73, the ‘Canes surged one last time.

Following a free throw by Anthony Harris, Hite hit a short jumper to cut the lead to 11. After Reddick hit two free throws, Diaz scored to cut it to 11 again. Ewing broke free for a dunk to push the lead back to 13, but a lay up by Harris and a three by Diaz cut the lead to eight with 29 seconds to play.

Diaz led the ‘Canes with 25 points on 11-of-23 shooting. He also had seven rebounds and two steals.

After Duke's Demarcus Nelson missed two free throws, Harris had a chance to cut the lead to five with a three from the win with 20 seconds to play, but it rimmed out.

"I am proud of the guys," Haith said. "They never stopped playing. The first half was pretty much a 3 to 4 point game until the final minute when they made a little run, but the kids fought to the end."

The ‘Canes remain confident following the loss.

"We proved we can contend with anyone," Frisby said. "They hit all their shots tonight and we stayed with them and fought. We lost by nine and they shot 60 percent from the field. Any team can be beaten. You saw that last night with FSU beating Wake Forest."

Next on tap for Miami is North Carolina as the ‘Canes travel for an 8 p.m. contest with the Tar Heels at the Dean Dome on Saturday. The 'Canes return home next Wednesday to take on Clemson at 7:30 p.m.

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