It might not have been what Duke fans wanted to see. A three point victory at home against Miami isn’t something to be proud of. However, the way Duke came back after being left for dead is inspiring and leads you to believe that some of the frustrating offensive funks might be on the way out.
It was an instant classic. An unbelievable overtime game with the teams going back and forth with time running down in the second half. For Miami, Jack McClinton made a case for All-ACC keeping his team in it. For Duke, Greg Paulus proved that he could still lead this team to bigger things.
After the debacle at Clemson, that last thing Duke needed was to come out flat against Miami. That is exactly what happened and everyone was wondering how far this team has fallen. Singler and Henderson couldn’t find any offense, and Scheyer’s offensive woes were still evident. And then the second half came and the next 25 minutes would be some of the best I have seen. Suddenly, Henderson and Scheyer started to find the basket much easier. Paulus was hitting shots and moving the offense with much confidence. And David McClure was doing everything else. Slowly, Duke crawled back and made some big shots to get the lead before McClinton’s late three pointer tied the game and eventually sent it to overtime. In overtime it was pretty much all Duke. They were hitting shots and grabbing the Miami misses, and just rode free throws to a very emotional victory.
The shooting percentages weren’t great. Singler, who struggled much of the game, had 17 points and 10 rebounds on 5-23 shooting. Scheyer had 22 on 5-13 from shooting. No matter how bad they might of shot, Duke made key plays in the end to close out the game.
You can’t say enough about the play of Greg Paulus. He got the start after Nolan Smith’s miserable game, and took advantage. He had 18 points on some of the biggest shots of the game, and always seemed to be involved in every play. He even drew a flagrant foul by simply making a lay-up. He might of forgotten seating on the bench, but he isn’t the opposing players favorite guy.
The other surprise guy who stepped up was David McClure. He has been always known as a role guy, but in this game his stats speak loudly to his place on this team. 13 rebounds and 7 of them were offensive. The entire Miami team could only grab 4 of those. McClure was a huge part of this victory.
This team had to be worn out after this game, as the starters played practically the whole game. But after a win like this, they have got to be fired up to get back on the floor. And it doesn’t take a lot to get a Duke team fired up when they are playing North Carolina. I think this is exactly what this team needed. One great half to get rid of the memory of the last three. No matter what anyone says about this victory, it was exactly that. A victory, which they absolutely earned and played like a team to achieve. Hopefully the fire is there for the entire game on Wednesday.