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    Duke takes one from Louisville 63-52
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    Once upon a time (last week) there was a tempest in a teapot regarding ESPN’s College Gameday not visiting the KFC Yum! Center when the sixth ranked University of Louisville Cardinals (15-3, 3-2) took on the fourth ranked Duke Blue Devils (15-2, 3-2). After all, Duke coach Mike Krzyzeski was going to be going for his 1000th win. Coach K did get the win though as Louisville fell 63-52.

    Along the way, the Blue Devils dropped a couple of games and Krzyzeski was no longer on pace to hit his milestone against the Cardinals. The tempest died as quickly as Twitter tried to spin it up.

    The teams hadn’t met since the infamous NCAA Midwest Regional Championship in 2013. The game was memorable because that’s the contest where Kevin Ware suffered his horrific injury. Somehow Louisville pulled it together and trounced the Blue Devils 85-63 and went on to win the national championship.

    Duke came into the game with a little bit of a chip on its shoulder. On Tuesday they lost to Miami at Cameron Indoor Stadium which killed a 41 game home winning streak. It was their second straight conference loss. They started the game with a methodical style of play and trailed early, but kept themselves in it.

    The Cards, for their part, out hustled the Blue Devils on both sides of the floor. “In the beginning we were playing great defense,” Coach Rick Pitino said. But in the first half Louisville was done in by their lack of offense, shooting only 23% from the floor. Pitino added, “We had good ball movement, good player movement. We just couldn’t knock down shots.”

    True enough, Duke had freshman sensation Kahlil Okafor in the middle which helped the points in the paint stat, but Amile Jefferson was the main threat throughout the game. With those two scoring 37 of Duke’s 63 points it was up to Louisville to hit their shots which they only slightly improved on, finishing the game at 30% shooting to the Blue Devil’s 49%.

    Terry Rozier did his usual phenomenal job, scoring 17 points followed by Montrezl Harrell’s double-double 10 points and 14 rebounds. There were no other Cardinals in double figures. “We are offensively challenged and I knew that from day one,” Pitino said.

    The Cards trailed 30-20 at halftime, perhaps buoyed by a Harrell jumper at the buzzer that bounced around the rim for a full second and a half before dropping. The score didn’t get any closer than that in the second half, even though the Cards played Duke nearly evenly, scoring 32 to the Blue Devils’s 33.

    “We’re not somebody’s great shooting team,” Pitino said. “We missed a lot of layups.”

    Next for Louisville is a trip to Pittsburgh on Sunday, January 25th for a 4pm game broadcast on CBS.

    Photos by: Tim Girton/Louisville.com

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    About Tim Girton

    Tim Girton writes about University of Louisville sports here at Louisville.com and his love for Louisville continues on his photoblog, called This Is Louisville.

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