ORLANDO, Fla. – Duke basketball saw its season end in a bruising 65-52 loss to Tennessee in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday.
Hoping to snag their 29th appearance in the Sweet 16 of March Madness, the fifth-seeded Blue Devils wer troubled by turnovers and fouls against the fourth-seeded Volunteers at the Amway Center.
Duke’s lowest scoring output of the season matched a program record for the Blue Devils’ fewest points in an NCAA Tournament game, according to ESPN Stats and Information. Forty-three years ago, Duke scored 52 points in a win against Penn in 1980.
Playing without one of its starters, Duke saw Tyrese Proctor, (16 points), Kyle Filipowski (13 points) and Jeremy Roach (13 points) lead the Blue Devils in scoring. Tennessee scored 18 points off 15 turnovers.
Duke missed nine of its last 11 shots and didn’t score in the final two minutes. After cutting Tennessee’s lead to four points, Duke saw the Vols close with a 19-10 advantage.
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Duke has no answer for Olivier Nkamhoua
The Blue Devils went to a zone defense with 15 minutes left and switched defenses the rest of the way in an attempt to slow down the Vols. It didn’t work against Olivier Nkamhoua, who scored 23 of his 27 points in the second half to keep Duke at bay.
He scored 13 consecutive points in a four-minute stretch after Duke had pulled with four points midway through the second half. Nkamhoua had three of the nine three-pointers by Tennessee, which was 9 of 21 from beyond the arc. Duke was 6-for-23.
Mark Mitchell injury
After starting the first 35 games of the season for the Blue Devils, freshman wing Mark Mitchell was sidelined because of a knee injury Saturday.
Mitchell, who entered the game averaging 9.1 points and 4.5 rebounds, was injured during practice Friday. The 6-foot-8 freshman had eight points and seven rebounds in Duke’s 24-point win against Oral Roberts in the first round.
Mitchell was sorely missed in a game that seemed perfectly fitted for his physicality and slashing ability. His absence shortened an already short bench. Fellow freshman Dariq Whitehead replaced Mitchell in the starting lineup. He scored eight points and had two rebounds.
Duke plagued by fouls, turnovers in fist half
Tennessee took the fight to Duke in the latter stages of the first half, winning the first round of a two-half heavyweight bout. The Blue Devils finished with more turnovers (11) than made shots (8) – with eight fouls – and trailed 27-21 at halftime. The Vols scored 12 points off Duke’s turnovers, and the Blue Devils, who missed five of their final six shots in the half, didn’t score in the final five minutes. Tennessee used a 9-0 spurt during that stretch to widen the margin.
Story Credit: usatoday.com