Rodriguez helps No. 15 Miami beat No. 24 Duke 80-69
CORAL GABLES, FLA. >> To celebrate an alley-oop assist, Angel Rodriguez retreated upcourt with his arms spread like wings, a fitting pose for the high-flying Miami Hurricanes against Duke.
The senior guard shook a shooting slump by making three 3-pointers and added a career-high 11 assists Monday night to help No. 15 Miami hand the 24th-ranked Blue Devils their fourth loss in five games, 80-69.
Rodriguez scored 13 points for the Hurricanes, who led for the final 24 minutes. Sheldon McClellan scored 21 points and benefited from Rodriguez's most spectacular assist late in the game.
Miami (16-3, 5-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) beat a ranked team for the third time this season, and won by double digits for the 15th time.
"We're taking pride in making people respect us," Rodriguez said.
Coach Jim Larranaga cautioned not to make too much of the win, however.
"Every game counts as one," he said. "You beat Duke, it counts as one."
Brandon Ingram led Duke with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Grayson Allen added 17 points but shot just 6 for 17, with three of his attempts blocked.
The four recent losses for the Blue Devils (15-6, 4-4) have been by a total of 22 points.
"We've had a chance in every game," coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "That's all I'm looking for. The winning effort has been there the entire time."
Rodriguez came into the game 4 for 30 from 3-point range in league games but went 3 for 5 from beyond the arc in the first half to help Miami take the lead for good.
"I like playing the powerhouses," he said. "That's what we come to the ACC for."
"Rodriguez was a great leader for them, distributing the ball, hitting the big shots," Krzyzewski said.
Rodriguez's best play prompted the celebratory pose. Duke was mounting a rally when Rodriguez dribbled quickly through the defense in transition and tossed an alley-oop pass on the run to McClellan for a dunk and a 64-55 lead.
McClellan celebrated several baskets by waving his arms jumping-jack style, encouraging more noise from the sellout crowd. The Hurricanes lingered near the student section after the game to bask in their victory.
"Coach L is always preaching about just having fun playing the game," Rodriguez said. "A lot of credit too goes to the crowd. They were great."
The Blue Devils came into the game ranked fifth in the nation in scoring at 85.7 points but continued a recent offensive slump. They shot only 42 percent and went 6 for 20 from 3-point range, while Miami shot 51 percent.
Duke missed nine consecutive shots, including five in one possession, during an 8-1 Hurricanes run that put them ahead 45-35.
The Hurricanes' man-to-man defense didn't let Duke get to the free throw line much, either. The Blue Devils average nearly 26 free throws a game but went just 13 for 17.
"We played with a lot of energy," McClellan said, "and it starts on the defensive end."
McClellan scored six points in the final 2 minutes to help seal the victory.
Ja'Quan Newton scored 15 points to help Miami's bench outscore Duke's 21-7. Davon Reed added 14 points, and Tonye Jekiri had 10 rebounds, six offensive.
SURPRISING FEEDS: The 7-foot Jekiri contributed assists from the perimeter on consecutive possessions to keep a cushion down the stretch.
"Our playmaker," Larranaga said. "Those were beautiful."
The Hurricanes finished with 24 assists to eight for Duke.
Duke: The Blue Devils gave up 30 points in the paint in the second half.
Miami: The Hurricanes were 2-15 against Duke before hiring Larranaga. They have won four of six games in the series since he became coach.
Duke: is at Georgia Tech on Feb. 2.
Miami: is at North Carolina State on Saturday.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.