With two minutes left in the first half, Mike Krzyzewski yelled at the crowd to get angry. And then he had a real reason to get angry, as he was bumped by an Indiana player as he left the floor.
And then Duke played angry, turning a competitive game into a complete beatdown as soon as the second half tipped. In the end, the meeting between two historical heavyweights was a blowout: No. 7 Duke 94, Indiana 74. The lead was as much as 25 in the second half.
“I’m sure they would have wanted to play better defense,” Mike Krzyzewski said of Indiana. “But we were playing pretty good offense.
“For a period of time there, we just kind of scored.”
The stage was set for Duke’s biggest game of the year to date, with Cameron Indoor Stadium filled to the brim. And Brandon Ingram took the opportunity for his breakout performance.
Ingram had struggled in his adjustment to the college game, to the point where it was painfully obvious. He brought in the biggest reputation to Durham, the No. 3 overall ranking in the incoming freshman class, and entering Wednesday’s game against Indiana, had little production to show for that.
That changed in a hurry after the opening tip.
Ingram made his first shot, a 3-pointer, after Amile Jefferson gathered a loose ball and flung it in his direction. He made his next shot, a long 2-pointer with a foot on the line. And then Ingram hit his next shot, this one from behind the arc, again. Three shots, in less than three minutes for eight points – the same number he had in the whole game against Utah State (and more than he posted against Kentucky and Georgetown).
Ingram blistered the nets for 18 first-half points on 7-of-8 shooting from the floor. He played with a verve, to use one of Krzyzewski’s favorite words, a vigor and enthusiasm that had him sprinting back on both ends of the floor. He finished with a team-high 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting. Matt Jones added 23, and Grayson Allen contributed 16.
Despite Ingram’s early firepower, the Hoosiers only needed two minutes to go on a 12-0 run and take the lead at 16-10. The offense came fast and furious from both teams, playing as one would expect two of the nation’s top-10 most efficient offenses.
Krzyzewski yelled at the Duke fans behind the bench and the student section to “get angry” with just under two minutes left in the half as the Blue Devils led 46-35. The basketball portion of the half ended in ridiculous, circus-like fashion, which was befitting of the stage and previous action. Allen lost his footing around the foul line, slipping as he flung the ball with two hands, from waist level, over his shoulder. With his back to the basket, Allen couldn’t see the ball hit the backboard and bounce into the net.
Then the real shenanigans began.
Krzyzewski had a real reason to get angry at halftime, as Indiana’s Max Bielfeldt bumped into him as he ran off the court. Krzyzewski was sufficiently angry enough to stop Indiana coach Tom Crean, who told him he didn’t see it. Krzyzewski spoke to the referees about it as well, lingering on the court well after his team had run inside the locker room.
“i didn’t even know what the hell happened. All of the sudden, boom, I got hit,” Krzyzewski said. “Where I’m from, usually when you get hit, you do something. I didn’t do anything. But usually if you get hit, someone would say, I’m sorry.”
Krzyzewski said it was probably an accident and downplayed its significance. Allen, for his part, was willing to give the Hoosiers the benefit of the doubt—after the game.
“In the heat of the game, everything will fire us up,” Allen said.
Whatever the late-arriving Krzyzewski said to his team in the locker room worked. Duke opened the second half on a 9-0 run, with Crean calling a timeout in vain (the whiteboard had no solution for a dysfunctional defense). Indiana didn’t make its first field goal of the second half until there was 11:30 left in the game. At that point, the Hoosiers were already down 69-48.
There has been plenty of honest talk from Krzyzewski about his team’s limitations and need for growth in this young season. Wednesday night, though, the Blue Devils showed they could run and fight with the best of them. That’s an edge that will serve Duke well, even on nights when the offensive fireworks aren’t quite as bright.