DevilsIllustrated - Duke stumbles late at Ohio State
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Duke stumbles late at Ohio State

Duke's Paolo Banchero shoots over Ohio State's E.J. Liddell during Tuesday night's game.
Duke's Paolo Banchero shoots over Ohio State's E.J. Liddell during Tuesday night's game. (Adam Cairns/USA Today Sports Images)

Duke lost for the first time this season in its first game as the No. 1 team in the country and its first true road game.

The Blue Devils lost 71-66 at Ohio State on Tuesday night in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, ending the game on the wrong side of a 12-0 run that was the final blow of a lopsided second half.

“They got the stops they needed and hit big shots. We came down, we got the looks we wanted, our shots just didn’t fall,” said Duke’s Wendell Moore Jr., who had 17 points, eight rebounds and five assists (all team highs). “Sometimes it happens like that.”

Duke (7-1) led 43-30 at halftime, pulling ahead with a 14-5 run over the last five minutes of the first half. The Blue Devils had won 185 straight games when leading by at least 10 at halftime.

Duke made 18 of 34 shots in the first half, and then was 7-for-31 in the second half. The Blue Devils didn’t have a field goal in the final five minutes.

“I trust my guys, I trust them to make plays and we weren’t able to make shots tonight during that time,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “Again, their defense had a lot to do with it, but we still have to make some shots.”

It’ll be a while for the Blue Devils to stew on this loss – Duke doesn’t play again for two weeks, next playing South Carolina State on Dec. 14. That’s the first game of a three-games-in-five-days stretch that will end Duke’s non-conference slate, with a visit from Virginia Tech on Dec. 22 marking the start of ACC play.

“We have a young team. Those guys are real good, but they’re young and they have not gone through anything like this, so it’s a period of time – I call it an energy cycle,” Krzyzewski said. “The season has different energy cycles. We knew that we were at the end of this one.”