Early in the season, all Reggie Johnson could do Florida Hurricanes got off to a disappointing 5-4 start.
Recovering from offseason knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus, Johnson made his season debut on December 17. Since then the Hurricanes have played stellar basketball, but they still didn't have a signature win on their resume.
On Sunday, Miami finally got it.
Johnson scored a career-high 27 points to go with 12 rebounds as the Hurricanes shocked No. 7 Duke in overtime, 78-74.
"It is big. It is really big man," said the Winston-Salem, North Carolina native Johnson of the win. "My friends and family are here. You know growing up here, I know about Duke. I know about North Carolina. I know about N.C. State. So to come in here and get a win, it is real big time."
Austin Rivers and Ryan Kelly both had a chance to tie the game with three- pointers in the final eight seconds of overtime, but both shots were off the mark. Johnson made 1-of-2 from the line with a second left to seal the win for Miami.
Kenny Kadji netted 15 points to go with eight boards while Durand Scott added 11 points for the Hurricanes (14-7, 5-3 ACC), who have won four straight games. They are now 9-3 with Johnson in the lineup.
"To come in here and play with the kind of poise and defense we did, especially in the first half and overtime, was something that we can be very proud of," said Hurricanes head coach Jim Larranaga.
Seth Curry scored 22 while Rivers added 20 for Duke (19-4, 6-2), which has lost two of its last three games at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Its 45-game home winning streak was snapped by Florida State last month.
The Blue Devils missed all six of their foul shots in the extra session.
"I think for 24 minutes we weren't really good at all. We had no energy and [Miami] did. I thought they played really well. The last 16 minutes of regulation, I thought we played extremely well and gave ourselves an opportunity to win, but we missed free throws...Then in overtime, we missed all our free throws. You can't do that," said Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Duke overcame an 16-point deficit in the second half before Curry's jumper gave the Blue Devils a 66-65 lead with 2:49 to play in regulation. It was their first lead since 22-21 with 7:52 to play in the opening half.
A pair of Johnson baskets sandwiched around Kelly's layup gave the Hurricanes a 69-68 advantage with 1:26 to play.
Following a Miles Plumlee steal, Rivers drove hard to the basket and drew a foul with 21 seconds left. But he made just 1-of-2 to tie it. The Hurricanes didn't get a shot off on their final possession of regulation.
Johnson netted four of the first six points for Miami in overtime as the visitors took a 75-69 lead with 2:11 to play. Rivers and Curry each missed a pair of foul shots during the stretch.
A Kelly trey, followed by a Mason Plumlee dunk on Duke's ensuing possession cut the margin to one, 75-74, but the Blue Devils didn't record another point in overtime.
DeQuan Jones calmly sank two free throws with 13 seconds left to make it 77-74, but Rivers and Kelly both missed their three-pointers in the closing seconds.
The Hurricanes used a 17-2 surge late in the first half to take a 36-24 lead with 3:39 to go. The visitors took a 42-28 advantage into the locker room as Johnson netted 10 points to pace Miami.
A 16-2 Duke run was capped by Quinn Cook's short jumper in the paint as the Blue Devils pulled within 55-53 with 8:33 to play.
It was the Hurricanes' first win at Duke. They are now 3-15 all-time against the Blue Devils...Duke was 9-of-31 from beyond the arc and finished 13-of-22 from the foul line.