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CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami/SportsDirect) – A big-time ACC basketball matchup is coming to Coral Gables.
No. 12 Duke and No. 14 Miami (Fla.), both coming off wins resulting from big second-half performances, will look to avoid falling any further behind North Carolina in the ACC race when they meet Monday night.
The Blue Devils will be seeking revenge in south Florida after the Hurricanes blew away the eventual national champions 90-74 at Cameron Indoor Stadium last season.
Riding a rare three-game losing streak and trailing 43-36 at halftime against N.C. State, the Blue Devils shot 70.8 percent and scored 52 points in the second half to win 88-78 behind sophomore Grayson Allen (28 points) and freshman Brandon Ingram (25).
“Brandon Ingram and Grayson Allen, we recruited both of them and they were just terrific today,” North Carolina State coach Mike Gottfried told reporters after the game. “We’ve played against Ben Simmons this year from LSU, we played against Brandon Ingram, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see his name called first this year (in the NBA draft). He’s that good.”
Miami, which led 35-33 at halftime against Wake Forest, pulled away with a 17-3 run for a 74-61 victory thanks to its defense and free-throw shooting (16-of-17 in the final 20 minutes, 24-of-28 overall).
“Our defense in the second half was the difference,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga told reporters after the game. “That kind of defense was what separated us when the game was tied at 48 and they couldn’t get as many easy baskets as they did in the first half.”
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
ABOUT DUKE (15-5, 3-3 ACC): The Blue Devils are just 7-4 since forward Amile Jefferson was sidelined with a foot injury and offensive rebounding had been a big reason – they gave up 52 offensive boards during their losing skid – but 7-0 graduate student Marshall Plumlee (eight rebounds per game) has been coming on strong and helped Duke outrebound N.C. State on Saturday.
Allen, second in the ACC in scoring (20.5 points), and Ingram (17.1) are dependable offensive stars while junior Matt Jones (12.5) and freshman Luke Kennard (12.3) are also talented scorers but have been inconsistent.
The bench isn’t contributing much, which is a concern against a Miami team that usually goes nine or 10 deep.
ABOUT MIAMI (15-3, 4-2): As has become a habit, the Hurricanes’ top two scorers – senior shooting guard Sheldon McClellan (team-leading 16 points per game) and sophomore backup point guard Ja’Quan Newton (11.8) – both started slowly but came up big in the second half against Wake Forest, combining to score 23 of their 32 points after intermission.
Miami’s recent shooting woes continued with the Hurricanes missing 11 layups and two dunks on the way to hitting 35.9 percent. With 7-0 senior center Tonye Jerkiri defending the paint and the trio of Angel Rodriguez (five steals against Wake Forest), McClellan and Newton applying pressure on the perimeter, Miami’s defense has made up for the offensive inconsistency by allowing 66 points or fewer in 10 of the last 11 games.
- Since Larranaga took over in 2011, the Hurricanes (3-2) and Notre Dame (4-1) are the only ACC teams with at least three wins over Duke.
- Rodriguez is one of three current NCAA players with career totals of 1,200 points, 450 assists, 180 steals and 150 3-pointers.
- Jefferson is out of the walking boot protecting his right foot but at least a few weeks away from playing again.
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