Yesterday was not the best of days for fans of Duke Basketball, but there was a silver lining. The Blue Devil men fought valiantly only to come up short late against their arch rival UNC, while the women lost a heartbreaking defeat in the ACC Tournament final to Maryland.
Duke Women's loss to Maryland- Duke came into the game with fabulous wins over Virginia and Florida State, two very strong teams. They faced a Maryland team led by two of the nations very best players in Kristin Tolliver and Marissa Coleman.
The Blue Devils staged a terrific comeback late in a hard fought game to send it to overtime. As entertaining as the entire tournament had been, the final show was quite the show. Maryland used an amazing touch from the free throw line to ice the game.
Duke came up just short, as Abby Waner launched a desperation three pointer that fell short. Waner then turned right in front of me with tears immediately welling up in her eyes and Duke was forced to watch the Terps celebrate.
Sure, the fans were disappointed as was the team, but the Duke contingent gave the women what they deserved in a huge ovation for the effort. I mean, they were just inches away.
Despite the loss, Duke showed a bit of moxie in the tournament and they served notice that they will be a tough out in the NCAA Tournament.
The Duke Men's loss to UNC- One of the more stinging defeats comes from losing to your arch rival, but Duke in no way rolled over. In fact the Blue Devils came into this game with legitimate injuries to Lance Thomas and Jon Scheyer who played on sore ankles.
Oh, and Nolan Smith didn't suit up at all. Krzyzewski used this game to play his starters as he would in a crucial NCAA game and he came away knowing his team had fight.
UNC simply a few more plays and found a way to win on senior day. Duke didn't get it's normal production from Gerald Henderson and they had little help off the bench, but they still hung in the game.
Jon Scheyer was amazing in that he didn't miss a shot from the field and he played the PG spot without a single turnover. Scheyer was visibly upset and drained during an interview after the loss. Scheyer and Duke lost with dignity and it's obvious that this team is not fading late in the season as it seemed to in the past two years.
Like the women' s team, the men will be a tough out once the pairings are announced. There was no complaining from Kryzewski and company, yet they had plenty to whine about from the outside looking in. They also found themselves in the 9:20 game in Friday's ACC Tournament, but the only thing you will hear from that is the quick turnaround.
On a day when Scheyer and Waner were upset from a painful loss, they were still embraced by the Duke fan base, for their teams were awfully close to winning these games.
So, cheer up Abby! There are more games to be played and no two players showed the heart of Duke better than Jon Scheyer and yourself.