The Blue Devils dropped their first game of the season – losing 75-69 to the 8th ranked Michigan State Spartans.
Duke started the game strong, jumping out to a 13-3 lead. The pace would soon settle in Michigan State’s favor, as the Spartans closed the half on a 11-4 run – heading to the break with a 37-33 lead.
Tom Izzo’s squad picked up right where they left off in the 2nd half – starting the period on a 14-3 run. The Spartans would lead by as many as 16 with 12:14 remaining in the second, but a late surge led by senior Jordan Goldwire’s energy off the bench and defensive intensity brought the Blue Devils to within five with 20 seconds remaining.
It would be too little too late. Michigan State made their last four free throws – pushing the game out of reach for Duke. The Blue Devils shot just 32 percent from the field and allowed five Spartans to score in double figures.
“I thought we battled the whole time,” Coach K said after the contest. “We did battle the whole time. The thing we did not do was finish. In a game that’s very physical they sub talent and experience. When you do that, the level of intensity on the defensive end never wanes. It’s pretty much at a high level the whole time. For us, we’re not there yet and it can wane a little bit. I thought at the end of the half, we got a little fatigued and tired. At the start of the second half, we didn’t meet their level of intensity like we should have. But then we did and we put ourselves in a position to win. We missed shots right at the basket.”
“In a game like this – it was very physical and you have to play through it,’ Krzyzewski added. “The only way to learn that is to play in these games. Overall, I thought we made a huge jump from our first game and we have to keep getting better. I’m not disappointed with my team. They came to play and to win, but we didn’t. We lost to a really, really good team.”
Joey Hauser had 11 points and 10 rebounds for Michigan State. Aaron Henry had 14 points, five rebounds, five assists, three steals and three blocks. Malik Hall added 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Matthew Hurt led all scorers with 21 points and 13 rebounds for Duke, but freshman Jalen Johnson was limited to 11 points on 4-of-11 shooting after scoring 19 in his college debut.
Jaemyn Brakefield scored 11 and Jordan Goldwire had 10 points for the Blue Devils.
Duke hosts Bellarmine on Friday night.