|Kentucky had a late comeback attempt, but it couldn't quite get past a more experienced Duke team on Tuesday. |
Kentucky showed why its newcomers received so much attention over the offseason, but it was the more veteran Duke (2-0) squad that pulled out a 75-68 win over the Wildcats (1-1) in Atlanta on Tuesday night.
The Wildcats led much of the first half before Duke seemingly began to pull away in the second. The Blue Devils led 62-50 at the 7:09 mark of the second half before Kentucky began storming back. It cut the lead to three with just under two minutes left, but the Wildcats could never make it all the way back.
Duke was led by the inside-outside senior tandem of F Mason Plumlee (18 points, three rebounds) and G Seth Curry (23 points, three rebounds).
Kentucky relied on a trio of freshmen for much of its production. C Nerlens Noel (16 points, eight rebounds), G Archie Goodwin (16 points, 6 rebounds) and F Alex Poythress (20 points, eight rebounds) all showed why they were some of the top recruits in the nation.
Playing without starting PG Ryan Harrow (illness), Kentucky only had six players play 10 minutes or more. Its overall lack of depth and experience allowed Duke to pull away in the final moment for the big early-season win.
When the game turned: There were several key turning points in the final 10 minutes. The first came when Duke stretched its lead to 14 points at the 9:29 mark of the second half. The Wildcats clawed their way back in to trim it to a one-possession game late, but a layup from Curry with just over a minute left put Duke's lead back to 68-63, a margin the Wildcats could not overcome.
Highlight moment: The Wildcats had several high-flying moments, but one of the most impressive came from Poythress, who threw down a two-handed, put-back dunk off a missed shot near the end of the first half.
- Poythress: 20 points on 9-of-12 shooting, 8 rebounds
- Noel: 16 points on 5-of-11 shooting, 8 rebounds, 4 steals
- Plumlee: 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 3 rebounds, 3 assists
- Curry: 23 points on 7-of-14 shooting, 3-of-5 from 3-point range
What they said:
- Kentucky coach John Calipari to ESPN at halftime: "They're (Duke) flopping all over the place. In the NBA, they'd all be suspended."
- Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski's response to Calipari's comments: "I thought we took some amazing charges and probably could have taken a couple more ... We don't make any money, so we can't be fined."
Blue Devils: vs. Florida Gulf Coast (1-1), Sunday, 8 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
Wildcats: vs. Lafayette (1-1), Friday, 7 p.m. ET (Fox Sports South)
For more up-to-the minute news and analysis from SEC bloggers Larry Hartstein and Daniel Lewis, follow @CBSSportsSEC.