Duke survives Yale again

By Gethin Coolbaugh, The Sports Xchange  |  March 19, 2016 at 9:37 PM
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PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Duke already knew what Yale was capable of before Saturday's game.

Earlier this season, the Bulldogs stormed into Cameron Indoor Stadium and put up a fight against the Blue Devils before coming up short.

It was more of the same this time around.

Yale fell behind by 27 points in the first half but nearly pulled off another upset, cutting the gap to three in the final minute before the 12th-seeded Bulldogs fell to the fourth-seeded Blue Devils 71-64 in a second-round NCAA Tournament matchup.

"We knew going into the game, we're playing a championship-level team and a team that's old, extremely well-coached and together," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said.

Grayson Allen scored 22 of his game-high 29 points in the first half, making 10-of-15 shots, including 5-of-7 from 3-point range in the game.

Brandon Ingram had 25 points, and Luke Kennard added 13 for the defending champion Blue Devils (25-10), who are making their fifth Sweet 16 appearance in seven years.

Duke, No. 19 in the nation, faces top-seeded Oregon or eighth-seeded St. Joseph's in the Sweet 16 on Thursday.

"This tournament is crazy, and you saw two games today where all four teams won a half," Krzyzewski said, referring to 11th-seeded Wichita State's furious comeback to erase a 21-point deficit before falling 65-57 against third-seeded Miami in the early game in Providence.

"Thank goodness for us, we won the last minute of the second half."

Yale built its improbable run to its first NCAA Tournament since 1962 on defense, rebounding, and sharing the ball.

The Bulldogs accomplished the second of those with ease, outrebounding the Blue Devils 40-28 -- including a 20-5 margin on the offensive glass.

Defensively, it was a Jekyll and Hyde performance. The Bulldogs were run out of the gym in the opening half, allowing Duke to shoot 60.7 percent (17-of-28), including 9-of-15 from deep.

In the second, coach James Jones' team held the Blue Devils to 23 points at a 27.3 percent clip.

"It's kind of a tale of two halves," the Bulldogs' coach said. "I thought our guys got off to a rough start at the beginning of the game, and Duke was on fire."

Brandon Sherrod finished with 22 points, Justin Sears had 12 points and 11 rebounds, and Anthony Dallier scored a career-high 12 for Yale (23-7), which won six of its final seven games and 18-of-20.

The Bulldogs earned their first-ever NCAA Tournament victory Thursday, upsetting fifth-seeded Baylor 79-75 in their first trip to the Big Dance since 1962.

"I told these guys in the locker room, there are 351 teams that play Division I basketball," Jones said. "We made it down to the final 32, and we're three possessions away from being in the final 16. I couldn't be more proud of them."

The Blue Devils opened a 46-19 lead in the first half and were up 48-25 at the break.

"A heavy haymaker they hit us with," Sears said. "And we got in the locker room and we said, we have 20 more minutes to make a statement."

Yale brought the crowd back to life with a 15-0 run, capped by Sears' layup with 11:40 remaining, to pull to within 54-47.

Dallier and Sears each hit two free throws to bring Yale to within 65-61 with 1:08 left, and Sears' tip-in after Sherrod went 1-of-2 from the line with 39 seconds left made it 67-64.

Ingram and Allen made 4-of-5 free throws in the final 33 seconds to seal it.

NOTES: Duke is 5-0 all-time against Yale, including an 80-61 thumping at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Nov. 25. Bulldogs F Justin Sears scored a game-high 19 points and drew praise from Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski. "He would be an outstanding player (in the ACC)," Krzyzewski said. ... Duke has been a No. 4 seed or better in 29 of its 32 NCAA Tournaments under Krzyzewski. ... Yale coach James Jones' brother, Joe, is the men's basketball coach at nearby Boston University and attended both of the Bulldogs' games in Providence. "(James has) all the strengths that you need to be a very good coach ... and he cares about his kids," Joe Jones said. ... No team from the Ivy League has reached the Sweet 16 since Cornell did so in 2010. ... Yale's last victory against an ACC team came on Nov. 18, 2010, a 75-67 win at Boston College.

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