Published January 13, 2015
A good day for the University of Miami athletic department turned into an even better night.
Hours after receiving a temporary reprieve of potential NCAA sanctions, the No. 25 Hurricanes went out and knocked off the nation's No. 1 team for the first time in school history with a 90-63 drubbing of top-ranked Duke at BankUnited Center.
Durand Scott scored 25 points and Kenny Kadji had 22 as Miami (14-3, 5-0 ACC), which had been 0-6 all-time against teams atop the polls, dominated the Blue Devils on both ends of the floor to record its sixth consecutive victory in surprisingly easy fashion.
"It's something that's never been done before, so this is a moment for us to enjoy as a team, as a university and as a program," said Scott. "I think the guys are very excited about it, but we know this is just now. We've got more to work on, there's more ahead for us."
The Hurricanes, ranked for the first time since January of 2010, made a sizzling 56.9 percent of their field goal attempts and knocked down 9-of-19 tries from 3-point range, while limiting the frazzled Blue Devils to a 29.7 percent shooting clip that included a woeful 4-of-23 performance from beyond the arc -- by far Duke's lowest numbers of the season.
Seth Curry, the Blue Devils' second-leading scorer at 16.9 points per game, did not register a point while going 0-for-10 from the floor.
"There's not much to say after that," Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski remarked. "They were men, we were boys for 40 minutes, and the score and the performance reflected that disparity. I thought [the Hurricanes] were terrific. We did not hold up our end of the bargain."
Shane Larkin added 18 points and 10 rebounds in the rout, with Julian Gamble also pulling down 10 boards for Miami.
The win came in the wake of the NCAA announcing on Wednesday that it would be suspending its investigation of the Hurricanes' athletic program for the time being after acknowledging that former enforcement staff members had previously worked with the criminal defense attorney for former Miami booster and convicted felon Nevin Shapiro, whose revelation of giving improper benefits to several Hurricane student-athletes triggered the inquiry.
Mason Plumlee finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds in Duke's most lopsided defeat since a 27-point setback at Clemson on Feb. 4, 2009.
Rasheed Sulaimon had a team-high 16 points for the Blue Devils (16-2, 3-2), now 0-2 in true road games this season. Duke was dealt an 84-76 loss at 18th- ranked North Carolina State on Jan. 12.
Duke's usually potent scoring attack was thrown completely out of sync by a suffocating Miami defense all throughout the night, with the Blue Devils shooting a woeful 18.8 percent (6-of-32) to begin the contest and being held without a field goal for a stretch of more than eight minutes in the first half.
The Hurricanes proceeded to go on a 25-1 run during that drought to build a convincing 38-15 lead.
Scott and Kadji drilled back-to-back treys to start the game-changing spurt and netted eight and nine points, respectively, over that stretch. Another Kadji triple extended Miami's advantage to 35-15 with 3:28 remaining in the half, and his layup and free throw on Miami's next possession accounted for a 23-point differential the Blue Devils were never able to overcome.
Scott finished with 15 points on a 6-of-8 success rate from the floor in the opening period, with Kadji tallying 11 to help send the Hurricanes into the break in front by a whopping 42-19 score.
Miami's margin would swell to 30 points shortly afterward, with the 'Canes starting the second half with a 7-0 burst capped by a Larkin layup to go up 49-19 less than two minutes into the session.
A 10-2 run in which Alex Murphy scored seven points brought Duke within 51-29 with under 16 1/2 minutes to go, but Miami countered with a 7-0 flurry to all but end any thoughts of a Blue Devils' comeback.
"We stayed with it with the same energy in the second half," said Larkin. "We played great the whole game."
Duke never cut its deficit under 23 points thereafter and shot less than 30 percent for the first time since a 67-55 win over Virginia Tech on Feb. 21, 2010, when the Devils made just 29 percent of their attempts.
Miami had lost nine straight encounters with opponents ranked in the top five of the Associated Press poll since a 96-95 triumph over No. 5 Duke on Feb. 20, 2008 ... Duke came into the contest shooting 42.2 percent from 3-point range ... Reggie Johnson, Miami's leading rebounder (10.1 rpg) on the season, returned from an eight-game absence caused by a broken left thumb on Dec. 21 and contributed two points and five boards in 16 minutes ... The Blue Devils played a third straight outing without starting forward Ryan Kelly, out indefinitely with a foot injury. Duke is 2-4 in the six games Kelly has missed over the past two seasons ... The Hurricanes moved to 5-0 in conference play for the first time since winning its first five tests while in the Big East in 1997-98.