No. 21 Duke and No. 14 Miami arrive at their next meeting having taken starkly different routes. But they should have each other’s attention after splitting two regular-season meetings.
Friday night’s clash comes in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament semifinals in Greensboro, N.C.
Duke (24-8) is riding a season-best seven-game winning streak, including Thursday’s 96-69 romp past fifth-seeded Pitt.
The fourth-seeded Blue Devils were so efficient that they shot a season-high 62.1 percent from the field and set a tournament record with 27 assists. Ten of the assists were delivered by freshman guard Tyrese Proctor.
“We just need to know what the winning recipe is,” Duke coach Jon Scheyer said. “We’ve learned it, and we need to continue to do that.”
Duke had the luxury of resting its core players during late portions of the game because of the margin, which was more than 30 points for several minutes.
Top-seeded Miami (25-6) pulled out a 74-72 victory against ninth-seeded Wake Forest. Jordan Miller had 18 points and nine rebounds and Norchad Omier added 14 points and 10 rebounds as the Hurricanes held off Wake’s late push.
“We won. We’re moving on,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. “I like these guys. I wish we would have won by double figures, but I’ll take it.”
Duke won 68-66 at home against Miami in January before the Hurricanes posted an 81-59 romp in last month’s rematch.
That outcome resulted in a players-only meeting among the Blue Devils, whose only setback since then was a controversial overtime loss at Virginia.
“Obviously we had a meeting after that game (at Miami), and since then we’ve been a lot better,” Duke forward Mark Mitchell said. “I think (Friday night) will be a lot better.”
The Blue Devils said they learned from that Miami game.
“They definitely came out and punched first and we weren’t able to punch back,” Duke center Dereck Lively said. “I feel like each and every one of us as individuals weren’t in that game. Being able to be in this setting, being able to be in this position to get a game back against them, we’re very fortunate.”
Miami has been in tight finishes in its last few games. There was a one-point upset loss at home to Florida State followed by two-point victories against Pitt and Wake.
Yet the Hurricanes have experience in some spots.
“I feel like I bring a lot of great experience going into this, my fourth time in the tournament,” Miami senior guard Isaiah Wong said. “It just helps. I feel like it helps the team more, being more composed and taking the pressure.”
One glitch for the Hurricanes: They went 6-for-11 on free throws against Wake Forest.
Wong is the ACC Player of the Year, while Duke’s Kyle Filipowski, who scored a game-high 22 points in the quarterfinal game, is the ACC Rookie of the Year.
Miami is 12-2 all-time when facing a lower-seeded team in the tournament.
Duke and Miami also met in last year’s semifinals in New York, with the Blue Devils prevailing.
Duke is trying to reach the tournament final for the 35th time. Miami’s lone spot came in 2013, when it won the tournament in Greensboro. The Blue Devils are 100-40 all-time in games at the Greensboro Coliseum.
The tournament final is slated for Saturday night.
–Field Level Media