It was a re-match of last season’s National Championship. The Duke Blue Devils were leading, 61-59, over the Butler Bulldogs. The Bulldogs were the Cinderella team entering this match-up, but the Blue Devils came out on top with their great veteran experience from coach Mike Krzyzweski. Gordon Hayward had a chance to win the game for Butler, almost making a half-court shot to win the game, but it barely missed!
With Hayward gone, the Bulldogs hoped to bring revenge still on the Devils. It was basically a game going back and forth. But later in the game, star-player Shelvin Mack would injury himself with cramps. He would not return. With that, the Bulldogs were in a hole. But they would bounce back. But later in the second half, Kyrie Irving would get hot, and he would help end the game for a Duke win, 82-70. The Blue Devils improve to 8-0 while Butler falls to 4-3.
This would be Coach K’s 876th career victory, passing coach Rupp on the all-time wins list.
“I’m going to win more I think than Coach Rupp, God bless him, who won’t win any more,” Krzyzewski said of the late coach. “He won a lot of them and he won them in his way and they didn’t play as many games then. Each era has outstanding achievements by individuals, whether they be players or coaches and in this era I’ve been fortunate to have some.
“It’s tough to compare,” Krzyzewski said. “I much rather would have tied him in April than today because I’m going to keep coaching and we should win more games. You get too caught up with what your own team is doing to focus on that kind of stuff.”
It’s the 18th straight win overall for Duke now. Nolan Smith had 24 points while Irving had 21, including 17 in the second half. Like mentioned earlier, Irving hit two keys three-pointers to finish the game off.
“Nolan did a tremendous job tonight. He played like a veteran,” Irving said. “He put us on his back in the second half of this game.”
Smith said, “Kyrie brings a lot. He’s a dangerous point guard.”
Butler will face Xavier next while Duke will the Bradley Braves.