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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


No. 12 Arizona MBB defeats No. 2 Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium

The road win puts the Wildcats among the country’s best
Jackie Cabrera
Arizona men’s basketball player Keshad Johnson dunks on Tuesday, Nov. 7, in McKale Center. The Wildcats won the game against Morgan State University 122-59.

The Arizona men’s basketball team collected a statement road win over the No. 2 Duke University, beating the Blue Devils 78-73 Friday, Nov. 10. Behind Keshad Johnson’s 14 points and eight rebounds, the Wildcats fended off a late second-half rally by the Blue Devils, handing Duke its first home loss under second-year head coach Jon Scheyer.

First Half: 

Arizona jumped out in front, right from the get-go, with Oumar Ballo scoring less than 10 seconds into the game. The Wildcats would go on several runs throughout the first half, but each time, Duke would quickly counter, cutting into Arizona’s lead before the Wildcats could stretch it past six points. 

Kylan Boswell’s nine points, including seven in the final five minutes, helped Arizona pull away late in the first half, taking a 41-33 lead at the break

The Wildcats’ unwavering control over the glass and the paint was a testament in the first half. Arizona outrebounded the Blue Devils by 14 in the first half and outscored them in the paint 22-16.

The Wildcats played a well-rounded opening half but were forced to navigate early foul troubles by several key players, including Ballo, Pelle Larsson and KJ Lewis, each of whom collected two fouls. Towering Motiejus Krivas, standing at “7’2”, made his presence felt on the court, as the freshman received valuable playing time due to Ballo’s foul trouble. Krivas grabbed five rebounds, three of which were on the offensive end, and scored five points. 

Arizona head coach Tommy Lloyd was thrilled with his team’s performance in the first half. 

“I’m really proud of our guys, we’re a tough team,” he said. “It’s in our DNA.”

Second half:

After a well-rounded first half, the Wildcats were far from perfect in the second half. Arizona opened the half playing sloppy basketball, enabling the Blue Devils to quickly cut into Arizona’s lead. 

Five minutes into the half, the Wildcats led 50-44, but Duke, using a 10-2 scoring run, shifted momentum into its favor, grabbing its first lead in roughly 15 minutes, as the Wildcats found themselves trailing 54-52.

Both teams exchanged runs over the final 12 minutes of the half, with neither team cementing themselves as the controller. With less than two minutes left, Duke led 67-65, but Johnson had other ideas, scoring five points in less than a minute, including a three-point play giving the Wildcats a 70-69 lead. Arizona hit its free throws and locked down on defense in the final minute to knock off No. 2 Duke on its home court.

The Wildcats had five players finish in double figures: Johnson, Ballo, Boswell, Larsson and Caleb Love. Johnson scored a team-high 14 points and eight rebounds, while Ballo finished with 13 points, nine of which came in the second half. 

Larsson and Boswell each scored 12 points, with Boswell co-leading the team with eight rebounds on the night. Meanwhile, Love, the former North Carolina Tar Heel, heard it from the “Cameron Crazies” all night. Love overcame a slow start, scoring 11 points on the night, including a banked-in three at the buzzer to close the first half.  

Looking ahead:

After improving to 6-4 all-time against Duke, the Wildcats return home to face Southern University on Monday, Nov. 13 at 6 p.m.

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