Duke is headed back to the Sweet 16! That’s the most important thing to take from today’s game.
The Blue Devils nearly suffered one of the all-time second half collapses, but they held on to secure the 71-64 victory over Yale and advance to Anaheim.
In the first half, Duke played arguably its best 20 minutes of the entire season, with stifling defense and incredible outside shooting. It held a 48-25 halftime lead and appeared on its way to coasting to a spot in the Sweet 16.
The 2nd half was the exact opposite, and Yale nearly erased a 27-point deficit.
Fortunately, Duke had the luxury of having the best player in the building in Brandon Ingram, who made some clutch baskets down the stretch and finished with 25 points. The team also got a key defensive play by Grayson Allen in the closing seconds as he forced Yale’s Brandon Sherrod into a difficult reverse layup that he missed.
Allen also finished with a game high 29 points on 10-of-15 shooting from the field, including 5-of-7 from 3-point range.
Duke fans probably don’t feel particularly great about this win due to how the squad struggled in the 2nd half, but it gets to fight another round.
It’s earned a spot in the Sweet 16, which is quite an accomplishment considering how it started conference play earlier this season.
And if we can see more of the Duke team that showed up in the first half against Yale, this is a group that’s capable of surviving a few more rounds.