Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/16/14

The Michigan Wolverines basketball team couldn’t overcome their first half woes in time to catch up with the Duke Blue Devils, eventually falling by a final score of 82-75.

Zack Novak

Michigan came out against Duke looking like a team that was trying to prove something. As a result, they played too tight in the 1st half and entered the halftime break down 34-22. Uncharacteristically, they turned the ball over on 4 of their first 5 possessions. Tim Hardaway, Jr. was 0 for 6 in the 1st half and the team as a whole was just 2-11 from 3-point land.

If not for Trey Burke’s strong play, Michigan would have been facing an insurmountable task in the 2nd half. The freshman point guard had 9 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, and a steal in the opening frame to keep the heartbeat alive.

Duke used the power of a 9-0 run to open the game and another 9-2 run to keep the Wolverines at bay early in the game.

Despite Michigan’s vastly improved shooting in the 2nd half, they couldn’t get close enough to scare Duke into making mistakes that would cost them the lead. Duke held the lead for the entire game.

Michigan’s best shot came when they were down 6 midway through the 2nd half. Michigan forced a turnover and Zack Novak ended up with a wide open three that would have cut the lead in half, but he bricked it. A quick 5-point run by the Blue Devils and Michigan was once again staring up at a double-digit deficit.

Duke stretched the lead all the way to 17. Michigan did their best to claw back with a late barrage of threes but there simply wasn’t enough time.

Duke’s junior forward Ryan Kelly looks like a tremendous player. The only real question regarding him is: how did this guy get away from John Beilein? His inside-out game would have played mighty nice in Ann Arbor. He had 7 points, 5 boards, and 2 blocks in the 1st half to help Duke take control.

Hardaway, Jr. did all of his damage in the 2nd half, finishing with 19 points.

Michigan’s MVP on the night was Burke, he wound up with 17 points and 9 assists, narrowly missing his first career double-double.

Novak fouled out for the 2nd consecutive game. He had 11 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals.

Duke shot an impressive 57% from the floor on the night, including 11-21 (52%) from long range. Michigan ended up shooting 48% on the night, but just 7-22 (32%) from three.

Duke’s usual well-balanced attack saw 4 players end up in double figures. Austin Rivers scored 20. Seth Curry and Kelly both finished with 17 and Andre Dawkins had 14. When a team as deep and talented as Duke shoots as well as they did tonight, they are very tough to beat.

Tomorrow night, Michigan will play the loser of the UCLA-Kansas game scheduled for later tonight in the consolation match of the Maui Invitational.

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