ORLANDO, Fla. — Duke Basketball saw its season end in a bleeding 65-52 loss to Tennessee in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Saturday.
Hoping to land their 29th Sweet 16 of March Madness appearance, the fifth-placed Blue Devils were troubled by turnovers and fouls against the fourth-placed Volunteers at the Amway Center.
According to ESPN Stats and Information, Duke’s lowest point total of the season equaled a program record for the Blue Devils’ fewest points in an NCAA tournament game. 43 years ago, in 1980, Duke scored 52 points in a win against Penn.
Duke played without any of his starters and saw Tyrese Proctor (16 points), Kyle Filipowski (13 points) and Jeremy Roach (13 points) lead the Blue Devils in scoring. Tennessee had 18 points from 15 turnovers.
Duke missed nine of his last 11 shots and didn’t score in the last two minutes. After cutting Tennessee’s lead to four points, Duke saw the Vols close with a 19-10 advantage.
Duke doesn’t have an answer for Olivier Nkamhoua
The Blue Devils went into a zone defense with 15 minutes left and switched defenses the rest of the way to slow the Vols. It didn’t work to keep Duke at bay against Olivier Nkamhoua, who scored 23 of his 27 points in the second half.
He scored 13 straight points in four minutes after Duke drew with four points midway through the second half. Nkamhoua had three of Tennessee’s nine threes, which was 9 of 21 from across the arc. Duke was 6-for-23.
Injury to Mark Mitchell
After starting the first 35 games of the season for the Blue Devils, freshman Mark Mitchell was sidelined on Saturday with a knee injury.
Mitchell, who came into the game averaging 9.1 points and 4.5 rebounds, was injured in practice Friday. The 6-foot-8 freshman had eight points and seven rebounds in Duke’s 24-point win over Oral Roberts in the first round.
Mitchell was sorely missed in a game that seemed to suit his physicality and batting skills perfectly. His absence shortened an already short bench. Fellow rookie Dariq Whitehead replaced Mitchell on the starting lineup. He scored eight points and had two rebounds.
Duke plagued by fouls, turnovers in the fist half
Tennessee picked up the fight against Duke in the latter stages of the first half, winning the first round of a two and a half tough fight. The Blue Devils ended the game with more turnovers (11) than shots on goal (8) – with eight fouls – and were down 27-21 at halftime. The Vols were 12 points short of Duke’s turnovers and the Blue Devils, who missed five of their last six shots at halftime, didn’t score in the last five minutes. Tennessee used a 9-0 sprint during that stretch to increase the lead.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Duke eliminated from NCAA tournament after disappointing loss to Tennessee
Source : sports.yahoo.com