HOUSTON — Breaking down No. 1 seed Duke’s 63-57 feat opposite No. 5 seed Utah in a NCAA South Region semifinals during NRG Stadium on Friday night.
WHAT WE’LL BE TALKING ABOUT: Duke has a intensity tip collect in a NBA breeze in Jahlil Okafor. But a Blue Devils are good when associate beginner Justise Winslow excels. And he excelled opposite Utah.
The 6-foot-6 Houston local is intensely jaunty and versatile. And fifth-seeded Utah had no answer for Winslow, who was superb altogether and had one of a game’s pivotal baskets: A unresolved brief jumper that also drew a tainted with usually underneath 4 mins to play. He finished with 21 points on 8 of 13 shooting.
BOX SCORE: Blue Devils 63, Utes 57
The other transparent regard from this informal semifinal was that Utah had a terrible time sharpened in cavernous NRG Stadium. Some of that was since of Duke’s defense, though not all of it. At a game’s start, conjunction group could shoot. It took 4 mins for a initial margin idea to be scored. At a initial radio timeout, a teams had total for 2-for-17 sharpened from a field. Duke’s sharpened recovered. Utah? Not so much.
Utah got some open shots. But in a initial 12 mins of a initial half alone, Brandon Taylor and Delon Wright were among a Utes to toss adult airballs. The initial 10 Utah points were all scored by frontcourt players. The rest of a group was 0 for 13 from a floor. NRG Stadium played some of a best invulnerability of a tournament.
THE BIG PICTURE: After disproportionate postseason performances of late – opening-game waste to Lehigh (2012) and Mercer (2014) — Duke now has all a mixture required to win a inhabitant championship. Freshmen Okafor, Winslow and indicate ensure Tyus Jones are gems. Senior Quinn Cook is a romantic leader.
Two issues: This is a deteriorate in that one undefeated group — Kentucky — is attack by a bracket. Yes, Duke manager Mike Krzyzewski has defeated one dominant in a Final Four (1991 UNLV) en track to his initial inhabitant title. But a charge this deteriorate will be formidable. A intensity Kentucky-Duke inhabitant pretension diversion would be rich, though let’s not get forward of ourselves.
The other emanate is that second-seeded Gonzaga will be no pushover in Sunday’s Elite Eight matchup (5:05 p.m. ET). The Bulldogs have scoring and copiousness of distance as they try to mangle by that potion roof and finally strech a Final Four. It should be a superb informal final.
Utah resolved a argent deteriorate in that it returned to inhabitant aptitude underneath manager Larry Krystkowiak, one of a game’s brighter basketball minds. The Utes will remove comparison Wright, who will be personification in a NBA subsequent season, though as prolonged as Krystkowiak is on a sideline, Utah will be a contender.
THE DECIDING PLAY: The initial half, and most of a game, incited when Wright picked adult a argumentative third tainted with usually underneath 5 mins to play. Not usually did that send a Utes’ best actor to a bench, though Krzyzewski wisely afterwards employed a section press. That entirely perplexed a Utes, forcing them into a 10-second defilement on one possession and another turnover a next.
The Blue Devils went on an 8-0 run after Wright went to a bench. Considering how offensively challenged Utah looked throughout, 8 true points were value some-more than usually 8 true points. Wright struggled mightily sharpened via a game.
THE TWEET: Cavernous NRG Stadium looked generally cavernous Friday night. Whether it was a participation of 3 western teams or other factors, a segment semifinals here were not good attended.
Official attendance: 21,168. Sounds like a ability of a normal basketball locus …
— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) March 28, 2015
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