No deficit seems too deep these days for No. 5 Duke, even if the Blue Devils insist they can’t afford to keep winning this way.
For the second time in nine days, Duke staged a remarkable comeback to beat a neighborhood rival. This time they rallied from 20 points down with 11 1/2 minutes left and topped North Carolina State 78-73 on Thursday night.
Seth Curry scored 21 of his season-high 26 points in the second half while Rivers added 16 points on 4-of-13 shooting for the slow-starting Blue Devils (22-4, 9-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who trailed by 16 points at the half, the largest halftime deficit overcome by Duke under Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski. They did it with late rallies of 13-0 and 20-3 to erase that huge deficit and keep pace atop the league standings with No. 8 North Carolina. Last week, Duke stormed back from 10 points down in the final 2 1/2 minutes to beat the Tar Heels. N.C. State seemed headed for its first big win under Gottfried after its impressive start. The Wolfpack dominated things early, leading by double figures for most of the first half after forcing Duke into some uncharacteristically cold shooting early.
They started coming back by reeling off 11 straight points, with Curry hitting three free throws and Andre Dawkins knocking down a 3-pointer before Curry’s jumper with 8:44 left made it 61-52 — the first time Duke was within single digits since midway through the first half. Coach Mike Krzyewski would gone on to say, “They thoroughly outplayed us for about 29 minutes” adding “And then we thoroughly outplayed them for 11.”