Sorry, but I'm a Duke fan, so I'm recapping more on the Blue Devil side for this blog.
Last night #7 Duke (10-0) faced #9 Pittsburgh (10-0) in the Aeropostale Classic at Madison Square Garden. 99.9% of collage basketball fans thought it would be a very good, very close game. Well, I guess you can say they were half right. In the first half, the Duke Blue Devils were just owning the Pitt Panthers at each end of the court, and had a 2-digit lead at halftime. Then the second half came around, and it was a different story.
Pittsburgh showed up in the 2nd half, and halfway through it Pitt was right back in it. Their forward D. Blair was just dominating the boards, and really helped his team with 20 total rebounds. When you give up that many missed shots to one guy, you need to work on boxing out at practice. With 5 minutes left, there was a stat table on the TV screen. Duke only managed to get 14 points in the 2nd half 15 minutes in it. You could tell Pitt stepped it up. With 3 minutes left and only 17 points in the final half, Duke was in danger of losing a game they controlled in the beginning.
A few good bounces and calls, and Duke was in a good spot, though. The game was tied with the shot clock dead. All the Devils had to do was bring it down court, don't throw an awkward pass that could end the game like Georgia Tech's miscommunication in their near-upset against Kansas, and make a shot. Easy as that. Well, the shot went up, and there was some contact, but it bounced out. Duke got the board and went for the tip, but that barely fell out. Overtime.
Pitt already had a few wide open 3 point shots at the end of regulation that just couldn't go in, and they didn't drop in OT either, until when it counted. Overtime was back and forth, and Duke once again had time on its side. Pittsburgh gets the ball back though, and launches a three. Swish. Lead Pittsburgh. With 4 ticks left on the clock, Duke's chances weren't good. But there was a chance, I mean come on, did you ever here of Christian Laettner? Kyle Singler, the good freshman Duke got, took the in bound pass, rushed up, and shot a 3 pointer. It bounced right back to Singler, who followed his shot and put home a nice put-back. Last chance, and he was just off. The Panthers win, and all Duke gets is their first loss.
But I can't say I'm totally dissapointed in that game. Duke needs to work on keeping their early leads, that's for sure. But this team really matured from last year. Remember, they lost to a #9 team by one point in overtime (64-65), and that's not too bad. If you can play well against a team like that right now, your team is looking pretty good come March Madness. Even better for Duke, this is early on, so they can climb back up in the rankings. Also, it was non-conference, so this doesn't hurt them in the ACC. One loss doesn't mean everything in college basketball, and if Duke plays like they did in the first half in every game, it'll be pretty hard to beat them.
Hey, this is my first NCAAB blog, how'd I do?