In a battle between two Hall of Fame coaches, Mike Krzyzewski and fourth ranked Duke defeated sixth ranked Louisville 63-52 on Saturday at the KFC YUM! Center.
Rick Pitino’s Cardinals shot just 18 of 61 from the field, struggling offensively throughout the game, trailing Duke (15-2) by as many as 21 points in the second half.
Krzyzewski stymied Louisville’s offense by playing a 2-3 zone, a defensive look the Cardinals did not expect.
“Zone is a smart move,” Pitino said. “We practice zone offense every game, every day. Do we expect them to play zone? Well they never did. But I told our guys I thought they played at the end of the shot clock to take Okafor, because two years ago we really hurt them with the pick and roll. We thought they would somehow take the pick and roll away either by sagging or playing some sort of zone.”
Terry Rozier led the anemic Cardinal offense with 17 points on 5 of 16 shooting.
Montrezl Harrell added 10 points and 14 rebounds.
Louisville (15-3) trailed 15-14 with 7:41 in the first half before Duke went on an 11-0 run and then went into halftime with a 30-20 lead.
Duke controlled the game in the second half and Louisville could only cut the deficit to 10 with under two minutes remaining.
The Cardinals had no answer for the Blue Devils interior presence of Jahil Okafor and Amile Jefferson.
Okafor finished with 18 points and seven rebounds while Jefferson countered with 19 points and seven rebounds.
“Okafor was just dominating us inside. We couldn’t get to him in time and that’s a problem with him. He’s awfully good,” Pitino said.
Louisville will have a week in between games before playing Pitt next Sunday.
“We’re going to have a lot of bumps in the road this year. A lot of them. Not just a few, we’re going to have a lot of bumps,” Pitino said. “I think come March we’ll be much better.”