No. 5 Duke holds No. 1 Gonzaga for victory 84-81
Las vigas – Paulo Banchero scored 21 points to lead the fifth-placed Duke to No. 1 Gonzaga 84-81 on Friday night.
Duke (7-0) handed Gonzaga (6-1) his first loss since the national title match in April, when Baylor defeated the Bulldogs.
Gonzaga suffered from a nine-point lead thanks to Julian Strother’s offensive prowess early in the second half, scoring eight of the Bulldog’s first 14 points to help them grab two points. But Gonzaga struggled through 0-for-5 down the extension and flipped the ball three times to allow Duke to seize the momentum and close out the match at 13-9.
Wendell Moore Jr. scored 20 points and Mark Williams added 17 points and 9 rebounds for the Blue Devils.
Strother led Gonzaga with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Drew Tim added 17 points, Chet Holmgren added 16 and Raser Bolton added 15 points for Bulldog.
The much-anticipated showdown involving Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski became a relentless defensive pressure battle from Duke and Gonzaga’s precise pass through lanes created by the Bulldogs on the fly.
After Gonzaga’s early 4-0 lead, Duke quickly achieved his dominance with a 17-6 run, with Banchero and Williams putting on a show for Duke’s much-favorite crowd.
The Bulldogs closed the gap to three points, 19-16, but Banchero scored 13 of Duke’s next 21 points. Holmgren, who had to sit midway through the first half due to a bad problem, returned with 1:27 left in half and a soft one-handed jump drain followed by a three-pointer by Struther.
Duke held a 45-42 lead in the first half.
The Big Picture
Duke: Faithful Blue Devils have proven to travel well, with the majority of the 20,389 fans inside the T-Mobile Arena wearing Duke blue.
Gonzaga: Prior to Friday night, the Bulldogs trailed by a total of 3:18 in four games — against Texas, Alcorn State, Bellarmine and UCLA. Gonzaga delayed by more than 20 minutes against Duke until he regained the lead on a pair of Timme free throws at the 17-minute mark of the second half.
The Duke: Visits Ohio on Tuesday.
Gonzaga: Tarlton State hosts Monday.
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