Vermont had the ball in the final seconds with a chance to win, but couldn’t get a shot off before time expired, giving Duke the one-point escape.
In many ways, Vermont was the better team for much of the game and deserved to win. The Catmounts, who entered the game averaging 63 points per game and shooting 39 percent from the field, shot nearly 65 percent against Duke and scored 47 points in the second half.
A few missed free throws in the closing minutes ended up being the difference in Vermont coming away with the huge upset.
Without Jabari Parker, the Blue Devils likely don’t win. The freshman did everything he could to guide the team to another victory, finishing with 26 points and nine rebounds, many of them coming down the stretch when his team needed it most. Rodney Hood also added 22 points.
But, this game had nothing to do with offense. This team has proven it has no trouble scoring the ball.
For Duke, it showed the glaring weaknesses on the defensive end.
The Blue Devils interior defense was virtually non-existent and the defensive rebounding down the stretch was atrocious, particularly by Rodney Hood, who failed to box out on multiple occasions.
Vermont’s guards were able to penetrate into the lane at will and draw defenders, which often led to easy baskets for their teammates. The Catamounts moved the ball beautifully and had assists on 21 of their 34 baskets.
It was an impressive performance for a Vermont team that entered with a 1-4 record, but didn’t show any signs of being intimidated by playing in Cameron Indoor Stadium. With the way Duke played defense, it’s hard for a team to feel intimidated when all it has to do is make layups.
This will count as a win in the standings, but the Blue Devils can’t feel good about anything from this performance. And this type of defense isn’t something Mike Krzyzewski will tolerate moving forward.
Duke must now get back to work in a big way. The lack of defense makes the Blue Devils vulnerable against any team on the schedule and it absolutely won’t cut it when Duke travels to Madison Square Garden to take on Alabama and potentially Arizona later this week.