The No. 5 Duke Blue Devils came out on top in a battle of college basketball powerhouses when they beat the No. 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs, 84-81, on Friday night.
Both teams entered the game undefeated and played in a neutral location in Las Vegas. The announced crowd of 20,389 at the T-Mobile Arena was the most ever for a basketball game in the state of Nevada.
"It’s just a really big-time game, what a great crowd," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said, via USA Today. "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."
The trio of Paolo Banchero, Wendell Moore Jr., and Mark Williams combined for 58 points against Gonzaga, but it was the Bulldogs' mistakes and late misses that defined the game. Gonzaga had a three-and-a-half minute stretch late in the second half without a point scored and three turnovers, allowing Duke to turn a 73-71 deficit into a 76-73 lead. Gonzaga finished the game with 17 turnovers.
"It felt like a Final Four-type game," Gonzaga junior Drew Timme said. "The atmosphere was great and it was two Goliaths going at it."
Gonzaga has another big matchup coming up when they host the No. 10 Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday, Dec. 4. Duke will travel to face the Ohio State Buckeyes on Tuesday.