By Sam Draut–
The storyline was eerily similar to Louisville’s game against Duke two weeks ago in Durham, North Carolina, but this time, Louisville completed a 13-point comeback to defeat 19th-ranked Duke 71-64.
Damion Lee made three 3-pointers during an 18-3 run in the second half after Louisville trailed 50-38 with 12:26 left in the second half. The graduate transfer scored 24 points and his three biggest shots came in a 138-second stretch as Louisville captured the lead.
“I always joke, if I hit one, then I’m on fire,” Lee said. “That’s the confidence that I have in myself.”
Lee’s first 3-pointer closed the deficit to two with 7:35 left, and his second came on the following possession to give Louisville its first lead in the second half. One minute later, Lee made his final 3-pointer to give Louisville a 61-57 lead with 5:17 left.
Managing a short bench, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski played seven players and two starters fouled out in the final minutes. Grayson Allen scored 29 points and made five 3-pointers as Louisville struggled to slow down the sophomore guard until he fouled out with under four minutes left in the second half. Brandon Ingram, Duke’s second leading scorer on the year was held to eight points on 3 of 10 shooting.
Deng Adel was the primary defender on Ingram, and forced the Duke forward into committing 10 turnovers. Adel started and played 28 minutes, scoring 12 points and adding five rebounds.
“I can give back to the team in different ways,” Adel said.
One of the nation’s top freshman in the country, Ingram was dogged by Adel and Louisville defenders after making two 3-pointers in the first two minutes.
“We jammed him as much as we could, we switched as much as we could,” head coach Rick Pitino said.”The young man is probably the number one player in the draft, so we had to get after him.”
At the 12:58 mark in the second half, Jaylen Johnson was charged with a technical foul after battling on the floor for a loose ball with Allen. After the game, Johnson said the scuffle happened “on impulse” because both players were fighting for the ball.
Johnson returned later in the game and made free-throws with 41 seconds left to give Louisville a 70-64 lead. He finished with six points and three rebounds, but said the technical foul didn’t spark him any further because the game already had so much energy.
“He made some big defensive plays and got some big rebounds,” Pitino said.
Along with Johnson, Chinanu Onuaku competed in the low-post against a physical Duke team. The sophomore center registered his tenth double-double of the season with 10 points and 11 rebounds. He also blocked four shots and had three assists. Onuaku tied his season-high with 37 minutes played, and Pitino said he tried to rest his center in brief moments.
“I was just trying to get him mini breaks in the game,” Pitino said. “I was glad to see he didn’t want to come out.”
Photos by Laurel Slaughter / The Louisville Cardinal