Butler vs Duke

Duke wins rematch with Butler; Coach K ties Rupp

CBSSports.com wire reports

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The past two times Duke beat Butler, Mike Krzyzewski moved into a tie with one of college basketball's legendary names.

Last April, the Blue Devils' 61-59 victory in one of the best NCAA championship games ever gave Coach K four national titles, the same as Adolph Rupp managed at Kentucky.

On Saturday, No. 1 Duke beat Butler 82-70, Krzyzewski's 876th victory in his 36th season, the same as "The Baron" had in 41 seasons with the Wildcats.

"I'm going to win more I think than Coach Rupp, God bless him, who won't win any more," Krzyzewski said of the late coach. "He won a lot of them and he won them in his way and they didn't play as many games then. Each era has outstanding achievements by individuals, whether they be players or coaches and in this era I've been fortunate to have some.

"It's tough to compare," Krzyzewski said. "I much rather would have tied him in April than today because I'm going to keep coaching and we should win more games. You get too caught up with what your own team is doing to focus on that kind of stuff."

The 18th consecutive victory for Duke (8-0) was on the backs of the senior-freshman backcourt of Nolan Smith, who had 24 points, and Kyrie Irving, who had 17 of his 21 in the second half -- including two big 3-pointers that turned aside the last Bulldogs (4-3) charge.

They compliment each other after a game just as nicely as they complement each other during the game.

"Nolan did a tremendous job tonight. He played like a veteran," Irving said. "He put us on his back in the second half of this game."

Smith said: "Kyrie brings a lot. He's a dangerous point guard."

The duo came into the game averaging a combined 33.8 points, 8.7 rebounds and 11.2 assists.

On Saturday, the combined line read 45 points, four rebounds and three assists, and that helped offset a foul-plagued 13 points for forward Kyle Singler.

"They have, arguably, three of -- if not the three best -- players in the country in their starting lineup," Butler coach Brad Stevens said of Smith, Singler and Irving.

The Blue Devils won the championship game 61-59 in the spring when future lottery pick Gordon Hayward's shot from just inside halfcourt bounced off the backboard and rim. That game was played in Indianapolis, six miles from Butler's campus.

This was a neutral-site game at the Izod Center, a building where Duke is 19-1 under Krzyzewski, winning the past 12 in a row.

It also ended a tough two-week stretch for Duke, a run that included victories against Top 10 teams Kansas State and Michigan State as well as a trip to Oregon so Singler could play a game near his home and against little brother E.J., who starts for the Ducks.

"That's as tough a two weeks as any team in the country has played and we scheduled it that way," Krzyzewski said. "You can't practice that. You can't practice the amount of energy you need to have. You can't practice being on the road. You can't practice playing against championship-level teams. I'm proud of our guys because they came through it."

This is the 16th time under Krzyzewski that Duke has started a season 8-0, while Butler is 0-3 against top-ranked teams, with the last meeting against DePaul in 1980.

Shawn Vanzant had 14 points for the Bulldogs (4-3), and his 12-point second half was what kept them close until Duke pulled away in the final minutes. The Blue Devils had not trailed in the final 30 minutes of a game this season.

Butler led 44-42 when Duke went on a 12-0 run, capped by a dunk by Mason Plumlee off an alley-oop pass from Andre Dawkins with 10:47 to play.

The Bulldogs had one more answer, going on a 13-6 run -- during which Vanzant had 10 consecutive points for Butler -- to make it 60-57 with 7:23 left. The run was even more impressive because it was without starting guard Shelvin Mack, who left with leg cramps with 13 minutes to play and did not return.

"Honestly, I wasn't thinking about that," Vanzant said of Mack, who had 11 points and five assists. "I was trying to do my job and honestly I didn't play that well today. I missed a couple of assignments I wish I could take back."

Irving, playing in his native New Jersey, hit 3-pointers on Duke's next two possessions to give the Blue Devils a 66-57 lead with 6:29 to go. Butler got no closer than seven points the rest of the way.

"I definitely was pressing in the first half a little bit," Irving said. "I picked up those two quick charges. That was a mistake on my part, being too aggressive, not playing smart."

Krzyzewski's smile gets wide every time he talks about Irving.

"He's a really good player and a beautiful kid," Krzyzewski said. "Those two 3s he hit came when he read that the man went under the ball screen, that's his read. They kept us three 2-point possessions ahead of them."

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Nolan Smith elevates to pour in a couple of his game-high 24 points as the Devils beat the Bulldogs again.  (US Presswire)
Nolan Smith elevates to pour in a couple of his game-high 24 points as the Devils beat the Bulldogs again. (US Presswire)
Butler (4-3)333770
Duke #1 (8-0) «334982
BUT:S. Vanzant 14 Pts
BUT:S. Mack 6 Reb
BUT:S. Mack 5 Ast
DUKE:N. Smith 24 Pts
DUKE:A. Dawkins 8 Reb
DUKE:S. Curry 3 Ast

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Shawn Vanzant
Nolan Smith
Butler Bulldogs
R. Nored, G260-10-24440
M. Howard, F245-122-231513
A. Smith, C223-94-650210
Z. Hahn, G211-40-03353
S. Mack, G215-90-165011
S. Vanzant, G286-100-150214
G. Butcher, F183-50-01117
C. Stigall, G182-50-01015
K. Marshall, F120-22-62112
E. Fromm, F30-00-00000
C. Hopkins, G30-00-01010
G. Leiendecker, G21-12-20025
A. Anglin, G-F10-00-00000
E. Kampen, C10-00-00000
Totals 26-5810-2031152470
Duke Blue Devils
N. Smith, G355-1313-1421224
K. Irving, G346-106-622221
K. Singler, F295-102-340513
M. Plumlee, F264-60-18228
R. Kelly, F141-40-02113
A. Dawkins, G323-52-382210
S. Curry, G140-11-20321
M. Plumlee, F131-40-05022
C. Peters, G10-00-01000
J. Hairston, F10-00-00000
T. Thornton, G10-00-00010
T. Zafirovski, FDid Not Play
Totals 25-5324-2932112082
Horizon League
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
N. Kentucky12-624-1187
Green Bay12-618-14158
Wright St.11-720-12115
Youngstown St.5-1313-21252
Clev. St.5-139-22260

TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
N. Carolina14-433-75
Florida St.12-626-914
Notre Dame12-626-1023
Va. Tech10-822-1148
Miami (Fla.)10-821-1242
Wake Forest9-919-1439
Georgia Tech8-1021-16106
NC State4-1415-17141
Boston College2-169-23219
Other games
Utah St 51 Final
Kentucky 73 Final
NC 75
Bwlg Grn 39 Final
Mich St 74
RIDE 68 Final
Alabama 47 Final
Purdue 66
TXTCH 79 Final
Wash 108
Illinois 73 Final
NCST 59 Final
Syracuse 65
Hawaii 57 Final
BYU 78
WKY 61 Final
Memphis 77
CORN 66 Final
Minn 71
Wich St 69 Final
UNLV 82 Final
Nevada 70