Louisville basketball rallies to beat Duke Blue Devils 71-64

By Bucky Dent, The Sports Xchange   |   Feb. 20, 2016 at 2:50 PM
| License Photo

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Duke's incredible shrinking roster contracted one more time Saturday, leaving the No. 20 Blue Devils pitifully thin at the worst possible time against a deeper Louisville squad.

Point guard Derryck Thornton missed seven key second half minutes because of an apparent arm injury and the No. 18 Cardinals capitalized, wiping out a 13-point deficit to claim a 71-64 win at KFC Yum! Center.

Louisville (21-6, 10-4 in the ACC), went on a 25-7 run after trailing 52-41 with 11:38 remaining. Guard Damion Lee's 3-pointer from the top of the key with 6:16 left gave the Cardinals the lead for good at 56-55.

Thornton returned with under 2½ minutes left and hit two buckets to draw the Blue Devils to within 66-64, but Lee and forward Jaylen Johnson each canned two free throws in the final 1:03 to hold Duke at bay.

A rare loss of composure by the Blue Devils (20-7, 10-5) compromised their chances.

Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski and star guard Grayson Allen each drew technical fouls in a 74-second span late in the game, with Allen's happening after he fouled out on a charging call with 3:55 remaining.

Allen left with a game-high 29 points on only 12 shots, but didn't get enough support. No other Duke player finished in double figures, with freshman forward Brandon Ingram committing a whopping 10 turnovers.

Lee finished with 24 points for Louisville, which moved to within a half-game of first place in the ACC, pending the result of Saturday's Miami-North Carolina game. Freshman forward Deng Adel added 12 points, while center Chinanu Onuaku collected 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Duke led 37-29 at the half and pushed the margin to 44-31 at the 17:08 mark when guard Luke Kennard stroked a 3-pointer.

But the Cardinals, who started 10-of-14 from the field and then cooled off while the Blue Devils established their margin, kept running nine players in and out. They finally wore down Duke, snapping its five-game winning streak.

NOTES: Duke G Matt Jones (ankle) missed Saturday's game after being injured in the first half of Wednesday night's 74-73 win at North Carolina. There is no timetable for his return. ... Louisville C Chinanu Onuaku's 13 points and 15 rebounds Wednesday night against Syracuse represented his eighth double-double in ACC play this season. ... Louisville honored its 1986 national championship team, which defeated Duke in the title game, at halftime.

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