Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
No. 1 Duke holds off Indiana in Big Ten/ACC Challenge to remain unbeaten
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski saw how tired his team was Wednesday night.
He heard it, too.
Fortunately for the Blue Devils, Marvin Bagley III and Grayson Allen still had enough energy to persevere.
Bagley scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, Allen had 21 points and No. 1 Duke used a late scoring run to fend off pesky Indiana 91-81 in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
“When you’re tired, especially guys when they’re tired, they don’t talk,” Krzyzewski said. “They talk to themselves and that’s how we played most of the game. We wanted to win but we were in ‘This is what I have to do instead of what we have to do.'”
Eventually, Duke (9-0) figured it out and went on a decisive 17-4 run that sealed Indiana’s fate.
But after logging nearly 8,500 miles and playing nine times in 20 days, fatigue clearly was a factor.
In the first half, the teams traded the lead 10 times, had 11 ties and the Blue Devils couldn’t get any real separation.
Once they did, early in the second half, they couldn’t maintain the momentum and got into foul trouble.
That’s how college basketball’s winningest coach drew it up, but he also understood.
“We’re exhausted,” Krzyzewski said. “They’re dead right now, but they certainly played those 5 minutes at the end with an incredible will to win.”
Indiana was led by Robert Johnson with 17 points and De’Ron Davis with 16 as its three-game winning streak came to an end.
Duke appeared to seize control with a 10-4 spurt to close the first half and another 10-4 run to start the second for a 52-42 lead.
Instead of pulling away, though, the Hoosiers scored seven straight, tied the score at 57 on Collin Hartman’s long 3-pointer and took a 61-59 lead when Hartman made two free throws with 12:17 left.
For the next 10 minutes, the teams essentially played to a draw. Neither team could take more than a two-possession lead until Gary Trent Jr. capped the big spurt with a three-point play that made it 86-77 with 2:24 left.
“I think it gave us kind of a baseline standard of where we’ve got to play every night,” Johnson said of the Hoosiers’ effort.
BIG PICTUREDuke: Few teams could get through an opening stretch like this. The fact the Blue Devils may mean they’re even better than advertised. But first they’ll take advantage of a short, well-earned break.
Indiana: The Hoosiers fought valiantly. They played defense, took care of the ball and hung around most of the game. It was an impressive performance, a better effort and the first significant indication new coach Archie Miller has things on track in Bloomington.
KEY NUMBERSDuke: Shot 55 percent from the field but was 3 of 17 on 3-pointers. … The Blue Devils committed only eight turnovers and had a 33-31 rebounding advantage. … Ended a three-game road losing streak. … Earned Krzyzewski’s 499th career win outside Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Indiana: Juwan Morgan had 14 points and six rebounds while Hartman scored a season-high 11. … The Hoosiers finished with only nine turnovers but went 16 of 26 from the free throw line. … Indiana was 5 of 21 on 3s.
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.