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LIVE BLOG: Miami at Duke

POSTGAME THOUGHTS:

1. David Cutcliffe is angry. That’s the only way to sum up Cutcliffe’s eight minutes in front of the microphone, as he wasn’t too happy with the Blue Devils’ performance in the second half. Cutcliffe even seemed to imply that the team quit, and he wondered aloud who would respond this week with the team facing its biggest adversity of the season. The coach seemed particularly displeased with Eron Riley, who totaled at least four drops. Riley’s been struggling with a hand injury, but Cutcliffe said he was making those catches in practice. Further, Cutcliffe said his team was conditioned enough to play two more quarters, again implying that the late-game meltdown may have been more about a lack of effort than fatigue.This certainly wasn’t the same Cutcliffe who has cracked jokes in most of his postgame pressers.

2. The word from the Duke players was execution. The Blue Devils simply didn’t execute in the second half, with several drops and penalties killing drives.

3. In contrast, Duke did execute its gameplan to perfection in the first half, moving the ball on the ground and dominating time of possession. Those stats evened out in the second half, as Miami more or less manhandled the Blue Devils from midway in the third quarter on.

4. The big turning point was Matt Bosher’s 76-yard punt. Miami had consecutive three-and-outs inside its 20, and Bosher’s booming kick pinned the Blue Devils inside their 10-yard line. Duke’s offense couldn’t rebound, and the Hurricanes capitalized on good field position to take the lead. All day, the Miami offense looked skittish when backed up but unstoppable once they got around midfield.

Duke now goes on the road for its next two games at Vanderbilt and at Wake Forest. The Commodores dropped their second straight today, losing to Georgia after they had risen to No. 13 in the rankings. Expect an angry team looking to get back on track and qualify for its first bowl game in a quarter-century in Nashville Saturday.

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LIVE BLOG: Blue-White Scrimmage

POSTGAME THOUGHTS:

1. Nolan Smith is ready to lead the Duke offense. After playing a complementary role in conducting the trio of Scheyer-Henderson-Singler in this first half, he took control in the second with a lineup that wasn’t as offensively minded and still thrived, this time as a scorer. He should get equivalent playing time to Greg Paulus, and we might even see more of the two of them together, especially after the Blue team ran a quasi-two point guard set with Smith and Jordan Davidson in the second period.

2. Pocius has recovered well from the ankle injury that sidelined him most of last season. He looked mobile, was an effective scorer in the second half, and played his role well without rushing any shots, Krzyzewski said. Expect the junior to compete for minutes at the guard position like he did last year before he went down against Eastern Kentucky.

3. Miles Plumlee was the most comfortable freshman out there. Krzyzewski said that he protected the basket, ran the floor well, moved well without the ball and had good hands. Defensively, he helped take Singler out of his rhythm in the second half. All of the freshman will have a learning curve, but Plumlee looked the most game-ready. Olek Czyz didn’t see much playing time, and Elliot Williams had the unenviable task of guarding the red-hot Henderson in the first half and Smith in the second half.

4. Krzyzewski was most effusive in his praise for Smith, who he said “played as well as anyone”, but also commended Dave McClure’s defense-particularly in the second half on Henderson-and Pocius’s veteran presence.

79-70 Blue, END OF SECOND HALF: And that’s a wrap. The second half took a significantly different trajectory than the first and with a different result. Pocius and Nolan Smith were the high scorers will 11 points apiece in the second session and Smith, David McClure and Miles Plumlee were the three Blue Devils to win both “games”. Postgame recap and quotes to follow.

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LIVE BLOG: Georgia Tech 27, Duke 0 (FINAL)

Zachary Tracer/The Chronicle

Zachary Tracer/The Chronicle

POSTGAME NOTES: It was a rough day all around for Duke. The Blue Devils failed to get anything going offensively until it was far too late, and even then Duke couldn’t  put any points on the board. Lewis finished 15-of-28 for just 97 yards, and the rushing attack netted 35 yards on 20 carries — not nearly enough production against a quality ACC opponent like Georgia Tech. Some notable quotes from the postgame press conference:

  • Head coach David Cutcliffe has been known to crack some jokes in his press conferences. Despite the loss, today was no different. Upon walking into the Hugh Spruill Fitness Center — which is exactly what it sounds like, a weight room — Cutcliffe quipped, “It’d be nice to get a workout while I’m in here, get something out of this. Do you mind if I lift while we talk? I probably should, in all honesty.” It was that kind of day for Duke.
  • But Cutcliffe wasn’t down on his squad by any means: “We can’t measure ourselves as a team just in wins and losses alone at this stage. There’s a lot of growth involved in everything that we do…. Obviously, we failed the test on the field to a great degree. We played a team that played really well, played far superior to us today…. We’ll learn from it.”
  • Navy head coach Paul Johnson, on backup QB Jaybo Shaw having a lot of time to think about his upcoming start this week in place of injured Josh Nesbitt: “I’m sure you couldn’t have driven a straight pin up his tail with a sledgehammer. I’m sure he was a little nervous.” Shaw did just fine, going 9-of-14 for 230 yards — all of them to WR Demaryius Thomas — and an 88-yard touchdown pass.

27-0 GEORGIA TECH, FINAL: Duke is shut out in its first road game of the year, mustering virtually no offense until it was too late. Quotes and more analysis to come later.

27-0 GEORGIA TECH, 0:54, 4TH QUARTER: Georgia Tech just misses a touchdown, as WR R.B. Clyburn is ruled out of bounds. Blair tacks on a field goal.

24-0 GEORGIA TECH, 2:25, 4TH QUARTER: Lewis’ third-down pass is tipped and picked off by Alex Walker. Walker returns it to the 12, putting Georgia Tech in great position to add to its lead in the final minutes.

24-0 GEORGIA TECH, 6:35, 4TH QUARTER: Facing a must-convert fourth-and-15 from the Georgia Tech 21, Lewis is pressured and has to dump it off to Clifford Harris, who is tackled short of the first down. The Yellow Jackets’ first play is a long completion to Thomas, who now has the second-best receiving day in Georgia Tech history.

24-0 GEORGIA TECH, 9:11, 4TH QUARTER: Georgia Tech puts an exclamation point on the game, in all likelihood sealing a victory on an 88-yard touchdown pass from Shaw to Thomas, the third-longest pass play in Yellow Jacket history. Thomas now has 197 yards receiving in the game, good for ninth-best in school history.

17-0 GEORGIA TECH, 13:05, 4TH QUARTER: Zack Asack enters the game, but a different quarterback produces the same result. The Blue Devils go three-and-out, with Asack’s third-down pass sailing past Riley. Kevin Jones rebounds with a 60-yard punt, but Duke needs to move the ball on offense and they have just been unable to do so.

17-0 GEORGIA TECH, 14:56, 4TH QUARTER: Georgia Tech punches it in on a Shaw keeper to the left side. Duke’s going to need a huge quarter to come back — a tall order for a team that currently has 48 total yards.

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LIVE BLOG: Duke 31, Virginia 3 (FINAL)

DUKE LOOK EVEN BETTER: With Navy’s 24-17 upset over No. 18 Wake forest and Northwestern’s road victory against Iowa, two teams on Duke’s schedule made the Blue Devils look even better. No one is going to mistake Duke’s opponents as anything close to SEC-caliber, but it does help that its non-conference foes are holding their own against legitimate competition.

QUOTE OF THE DAY II:When asked about the students chanting Cutcliffe’s name during the game, as they did against James Madison, too, Cutcliffe responded: “I’ve been in this business a long time, and I’ve had it chanted the other way. Add something, leave town, whatever adjective…and not that our sweet students would do that, but…”

QUOTE OF THE DAY: David Cutcliffe is an affable and gregarious coach, especially after wins. Conditioning has been the buzz word of the season, especially after wins. The combination added up to one of the best quotes we’ve ever heard, straight from Cutcliffe’s mouth: “I saw the fattest, softest football team I had ever seen in my life. I did! We had a 30, 40-minute workout and about a quarter of the way into it, I blew my whistle and stopped it, I was laughing. I said, ‘I’m sorry, guys, I gotta stop this. Y’all are the fattest, softest football team I’ve ever seen in my life. This is unbelievable.’   I hollered to the staff and I said, ‘The goose has laid the golden egg at our feet!’ We just get in shape and we’re gonna win four or five games around here!”

GAME STORY: First write-through up on The Chronicle’s website.

POSTGAME THOUGHTS: Finally back from the Yoh Football Center, where the Duke post-game interviews took about an hour. The star of the show was undoubtedly defensive lineman Clifford Respress, who even gave his own opening statement. The general theme of the players’ and Cutcliffe’s comments? Conditioning. Of course, that’s been the story all year, but perhaps none more so than today, when Duke absolutely dominated the second half…. For that matter, mea culpa on one of my statistics before. Duke forced six turnovers–four interceptions and two fumbles–not four. It does, however, further my point…. Cutcliffe said he benched Jabari Marshall after Marshall’s excessive celebration penalty because he wasn’t going to allow such behavior to go without retribution. Continue reading

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LIVE BLOG: Women’s Golf NCAA Championship

HISTORY DENIED (9:50 p.m. EST) — Duke had to go low on the last day of the NCAA Championship to win. That’s exactly what the Blue Devils did, shooting a round-best 7-under, but it wasn’t enough to capture an unprecedented fourth consecutive title. Amanda Blumenherst finished 4-under, carding three birdies and an eagle in her last nine holes, to move into a tie for fifth overall. After starting 4-under through three holes, Jennie Lee finished 3-under, highlighted by her early hole-in-one. The Blue Devils will finish third at 28-over, 12 strokes behind USC. We’ll have more later tonight.

NOT IN THE CARDS? (7:54 p.m. EST) — Duke’s still 22 shots behind USC on the back nine. It’s the Blue Devils’ best day on the links, but subpar rounds on the first three days and weather stoppages look like they’re going to prevent Duke from an unprecedented fourth national title. More updates later.

PLAY RESUMES (5:37 p.m. EST) — Just got a call from Sabreena Merchant that play has just resumed at the University of New Mexico Golf Course. We’ll see if Duke can maintain its torrid pace.

NOT SO FAST: LEE, BLUE DEVILS BEGIN ASSAULT — Just when top-seeded Duke seemed out of the mix to capture its fourth-straight national championship, Jennie Lee and the Blue Devils are starting to make their run. Lee, a junior, came out and birdied her first two holes (Nos. 10 and 11) before acing the 12th to start 4-under. Thanks to Lee’s scorching start and a birdie from freshman Kim Donovan, Duke is 5-under on the day, which is best on the course. The defending champs have moved to third place at 30-over, 15 strokes behind USC and nine strokes behind UCLA.

Lightning in Albuquerque, N.M. has stopped play for the third straight day, and our beat reporter, Sabreena Merchant, is stuck on a bus with the rest of reporters on the middle of the course. Once play resumes, we’ll keep you updated and see if the Blue Devils can maintain their hot play and find a way to put the pressure on the leaders.

–by Ben Cohen

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OVERTIME: Duke-Pitt Live Blog

FINAL Pitt 65, Duke 64. Fields made a step-back 3-pointer over McClure with less than 5 seconds remaining. Scheyer raced up the floor and missed a 3, then got his own tip but missed that too. The Garden explodes as the last shot falls and Pitt wins. What a game.

16.0, Duke 64 Pitt 62: Scheyer loses the ball as he is driving, but Fields turns the ball over again, this time with an offensive foul. On the inbounds, Scheyer was trapped in the corner and threw a cross-court pass up to Henderson, who out-jumped his defender and kicked to Singler, who was fouled. The freshman missed the first and made the second. Pitt called a timeout, and the Panthers have the ball with a chance to tie or take the lead. Expect them to take a quick shot.

56.3, Duke 63 Pitt 62: Wow. Duke has the ball with 56.3 seconds left and 16 seconds on the shot clock with the chance to take a two-possession lead. This comes after the play of the year, a Nelson and-1 where he drove, was fouled, hung, went up-and-under the basket and finished by putting enough backspin on the ball. Just a remarkable play from Duke’s captain, and he topped it off by making the free throw. Duke got a stop on the defensive end when Fields was whistled for a travel after another Pitt offensive rebound. Blair is out (he had 20 rebounds). The new play of the year may still be coming.

4:28, Duke 59 Pitt 58: Duke wins the opening tip and Nelson promptly is fouled on a drive. He makes one of two. On Pitt’s ensuing possession, Cook drove past Scheyer but, going up for the shot, his leg gave out and he traveled. Cook was on the floor for a few minutes before limping off to an ovation.

OVERTIME, Duke 58 Pitt 58: Scheyer got the inbound pass, and quickly found Henderson, who unexpectedly sliced into the lane with about six seconds remaining and babied his short jumper for the win. Singler was there for the putback, which fell just wide off the backboard. We’re headed to overtime–a fitting way to continue this classic. As Dick Vitale, who can’t be here tonight because of throat surgery, would say, we have no place to go, not yet.

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SECOND HALF: Duke-Pitt Live Blog

16.6, Duke 58 Pitt 58: Young makes a 16-footer from the baseline to give Pitt a two-point advantage, which is quickly negated when Henderson makes an NBA-like turnaround fadeaway from the corner to tie the score. Finally, Duke gets a stop when Young misses a 3 off a feed from Fields with little time left on the shot clock. Scheyer grabs the rebound, Paulus dribbles up floor, Duke timeout with 16.6 left. Who gets the last shot? At this point, it looks like a Henderson or Paulus dribble drive and a kick to Paulus, Henderson or Singler. Our call? Henderson for the win.

1:31, Duke 56 Pitt 56: Fields makes two free throws, Henderson drives the lane from the top of the key for an uncontested slam, Young makes a banked jumper, then Henderson finds Singler for a wide-open 3-pointer from the top of the key. The freshman swishes it. Timeout Duke. What a game.

2:34, Duke 51 Pitt 52: If you’re not watching this game, put it on. Right now. And if you don’t have access to a television–well, I apologize, because this blog simply can’t capture in words the last four minutes. The Panthers have taken their first advantage since leading 2-0, but Duke has not gone down easily. Pitt has owned the offensive glass and even though Duke has missed too many shots, Henderson and Singler have stepped up and it’s clear they are not afraid to take clutch shots. Play is getting chippy, and substitutions have been a plenty, but the team’s final lineups seem to be clear. The game is fast-paced, the crowd is feeling the energy and thriving off of it, and the best players on both sides (Henderson, Singler, Paulus for Duke; Fields, Ramon, Blair for Pitt) are taking the key shots when they matter most. Folks, this one is going to come down to the wire. If you don’t have access to ESPN–well, find someone who does. Quickly.

7:49, Duke 48 Pitt 47: The classic game that seemed unlikely in the first half is becoming a reality in front of our eyes. Pitt has embarked on a 10-0 run to cut the deficit to one, and the Panthers had a chance to take the lead on their last possession before Paulus drew an offensive foul. Despite impressive play by Singler, who took an intentional foul, converted both free throws and then finished a tough inside basket with authority on the ensuing Duke possession, Pitt has gotten back into this game doing exactly what it did in the first half: playing more physical than Duke. The Blue Devils have missed their past few shots and Krzyzewski even called a timeout when Fields sunk a 3-pointer to slice the deficit to three. After a steal on the next possession, Blair made a tough layup to almost even the game. There is a buzz in the crowd now that hasn’t been heard since before tip. One thing’s for sure: we look to be primed for a great ending.

11:47, Duke 43 Pitt 35: Apparently, no one told Pitt that the game was over. The Panthers have mounted an impressive run, cutting Duke’s lead down to eight and the Panthers head to the line, shooting two. The momentum clearly lies in their favor right now, especially after King just missed a 3-pointer that would have given the Blue Devils an 11-point lead. Scheyer had a rough sretch, missing three straight shots, but made up for his last miss on a layup to steal a short pass in the backcourt when no one was looking and scored when his layup was illegally goaltended. We’ll see what Duke is made of the rest of this game, especially in this upcoming stretch. This is the team’s first true adversity since the Marquette game, and the Blue Devils clearly overcame that challenge.


15:51, Duke 39 Pitt 26: A rough stretch for the officials did not affect Duke’s double-digit lead. After the Panthers cut the lead to 10, Singler dished a beautiful pass to Thomas down low, after the freshman was double-teamed. He found the open man, and Thomas laid the basket home. A few plays later, Nelson drove the lane and made a layup but was called for a charge; that charge was quickly overturned by the officials and Nelson was credited with an and-1 and made the free throw. The next play, Dave McClure was whistled for a loose-ball foul, but the referees initially charged it to Henderson. It would have been his third foul, and the Duke coaching staff reacted in turn before the correct player was hit with the foul. During the last timeout, Duke legend and Pittsburgh native Dick Groat was serenaded with a nice applause for his career accomplishments. For those of you watching on ESPN, stay tuned as new head football coach David Cutcliffe will be interviewed on the worldwide leader soon, we’re told.

HALFTIME: Some interesting statistics from halftime:

  • Nelson, and not Paulus, leads Duke with six assists.
  • Paulus’ assist-to-turnover ratio is 0-to-4.
  • Duke and Pitt both have 19 rebounds.

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