#5 Duke men’s basketball beat #1 Gonzaga late Friday night

Blue Devils 84, Bulldogs 81
Published: Nov. 27, 2021 at 10:45 AM EST
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LAS VEGAS (AP) — In a town known for major championship fights, it seemed only fitting a long-anticipated 40-minute heavyweight bout between No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 5 Duke take place in Las Vegas.

Paolo Banchero scored 21 points to help Duke hold off a turnover-prone Gonzaga team 84-81 on Friday night in front of an announced 20,389 fans — the largest basketball crowd ever in Nevada.

“It’s just a really big-time game, what a great crowd,” said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who is in his final year at the helm of the Duke Blue Devils (7-0). “We thought it might be a showcase game and it was. But having this type of crowd was amazing. Obviously, we feel great about the win, and we think we beat an outstanding basketball team.”

That’s saying something, considering Gonzaga coach Mark Few shapes his program after Duke.

“We’ve always asked over the years before we’ve had to make decisions on anything -- how we travel, how we operate, how we schedule, facility-wise -- the first question always is, ‘What’s Duke doing?’” Few said. “I don’t think I can pay any higher respect than that.”

Unfortunately for Few, his Bulldogs’ best couldn’t match the resilience of Krzyzewski’s Blue Devils.

Gonzaga (6-1) battled back from a nine-point deficit thanks to Julian Strawther’s offensive prowess early in the second half. He scored eight of the Bulldogs’ first 14 points to help them get within two. But Gonzaga suffered through a 0-for-5 span down the stretch and turned the ball over three times to allow Duke to close the game on a 13-9 run.

“We felt like if we played our best and did what we do best, we were going to have a real shot for the win,” Banchero said.

Wendell Moore Jr. scored 20 points and Mark Williams added 17 points and 9 rebounds for the Blue Devils.

Strawther led Gonzaga with a career-high 20 points and 10 rebounds, including shooting 57.1% from the floor in the second half. Drew Timme added 17 points, Chet Holmgren had 16 points and Rasir Bolton chipped in 15 for the Bulldogs.

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