BOZICH | Louisville loses 12-point lead in ACC Tournament loss to Duke
Louisville and Duke played Thursday afternoon in Brooklyn in the semifinals of the ACC Tournament, trying to earn in the spot in the semifinals against ACC champ North Carolina.
BROOKLYN, N.Y. (WDRB) – Drive these two teams, Louisville and Duke, to Rucker Park. Put them on the playground. Take away their jerseys.
Ask NBA wise guys to start picking the squads.
How many Duke players would the pros call before they summoned anybody from Louisville? Surely at least two.
How many Duke guys would be called taken before a second player from Rick Pitino’s lineup would get some love? Four? Five.
You know what I’m talking about. Four of Mike Krzyzewski’s players are ranked among the top 60 prospects for the 2017 NBA Draft, which is actually a bit of an underachievement considering the Blue Devils have seven McDonald’s all-Americans.
There’s only one Louisville guy NBA guys are looking at – Donovan Mitchell.
It showed over the final 13 minutes. Down 61-49, the Blue Devils roared to the finish line and defeated Louisville, 81-77.
The Cards could not overcome poor free throw shooting (15 of 26), poor three-point shooting (4 of 21) and too many personal fouls (23).
They also could not overcome the three-star Duke attack of Luke Kennard (24), Jayson Tatum (25) and Grayson Allen (18).
With Mitchell struggling with his shooting (missing 11 of 14) and foul trouble, the Cards were carried by Deng Adel, who scored 21, and Quentin Snider, who had 15. Mitchell managed only eight, missing six of seven shots from distance.
The first half was as nearly as tight as the pre-game point spread predicted it would be. On a day when Louisville was favored by two, the Cardinals finished the first 20 minutes two points (37-35) the Blue Devils when Grayson Allen made two free throws in the final six seconds.
Sending Duke to the foul line was an issue for the Cards. Duke shot 14 free throws in the first half, making 11. Louisville shot nine, making only four. Not a winning equation.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski also used more players than he did in the Blue Devils’s victory Wednesday against Clemson. In that game, five Duke guys played more than 30 minutes. Against Louisville, Coach K gave more time to Grayson Allen and Harry Giles.
Why not? Allen was the consensus choice before the season as the national player of the year. Many ranked Giles the best recruit in America a year ago.
That’s Duke – a team that can stick McDonald’s all-Americans on the bench and leave them there. Coach K has seven. Pitino has one (V.J. King).
The winner returns to the Barclays Center Friday at 7 p.m. for a semifinal game with top-seed North Carolina, the tourney favorite. The Tar Heels rolled over Miami by 25 points in the first quarterfinal game Thursday.
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