New York — That’s two losses in three games for No. 4 Duke – and this one to a team that hadn’t won since Christmas.
No wonder coach Mike Krzyzewski called it a “disgusting” performance.
Shamorie Ponds scored 33 points and St. John’s stunned the Blue Devils 81-77 at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, snapping an 11-game losing streak and handing a suddenly suspect Duke squad its second defeat in eight days.
“We got what we deserved,” Krzyzewski said. “We weren’t able to knock them out after we lost the first 12 rounds of a 15-round fight.”
Bashir Ahmed added 19 points and Tariq Owens had 17 for the Red Storm (11-13), who overcame an early 10-point deficit and fought off Duke’s heralded freshmen down the stretch in their biggest victory under third-year coach Chris Mullin.
It was the first win for St. John’s since Dec. 20 against Saint Joseph’s.
“We would have taken a win if it was in an empty gym,” Mullin said. “Thank God January is over.”
St. John’s was playing the second of three straight games against top-6 opponents in a span of nine days. Next up, a visit to No. 1 Villanova on Wednesday night.
“We are happy but we can’t stop here. We have to keep pushing,” said Ponds, a sophomore guard. “This is big to get a win on the board. We can start fresh.”
Gary Trent Jr. had 22 points for the Blue Devils (19-4), who perhaps got caught looking ahead to their first matchup of the season with bitter rival North Carolina on Thursday night.
Krzyzewski didn’t think so.
“Ponds was really as good a guard offensively as we’ve played against,” Coach K said. “We came in prepared.”
Freshman sensation Marvin Bagley III scored 19 for Duke but sat out a significant chunk of the second half with four fouls. Wendell Carter Jr. added 14 points and 15 rebounds.
Outhustled all afternoon, Duke was coming off an easy win Monday over Notre Dame that followed a 65-63 loss at home to No. 2 Virginia last weekend.
“I thought they made us look bad, but we made ourselves look bad. We did not play basketball the first 32 minutes worthy of our program. And we had blank faces, we didn’t talk, we were like five individuals out there and it was disgusting, really,” Krzyzewski said. “I do not know why. I can tell you that’s not the group I’ve coached all year, and they were a very frustrating group to coach today because they didn’t respond to anything until the last eight minutes and that’s unacceptable.”
Winless in 11 Big East games this season, the Red Storm improved to 11-2 in nonconference play. They led by 11 with 6½ minutes left before Duke stormed back and took a 73-72 advantage on Trent’s two free throws with 1:35 to play, its first lead since early in the second half.
That brought fans of both schools to their feet for an exciting finish.
Ponds, who also grabbed seven rebounds in his second consecutive 30-point game, put St. John’s back in front with a driving layup and then drained a contested 3-pointer from the wing with the shot clock winding down to make it 77-73 with 40 seconds left.
“We stayed composed,” he said.
Grayson Allen’s only 3 seconds later trimmed the margin to one, but Owens hit two free throws with 32.2 seconds to go.
Bagley made one of two foul shots with 20.4 seconds left and Ponds did the same to make it 80-77 with 17.5 seconds to go. Allen missed a 3 at the other end and Owens grabbed the rebound before sinking one of two free throws with 2.7 seconds remaining to seal it as Ponds waved his arms, spurring on the sellout crowd of 19,812.
“The Garden was rockin’, no question,” said Mullin, recruited by Krzyzewski out of high school in 1980-81. “Duke has that brand. They bring ‘em in. … I was glad our guys stepped up not only to the challenge, but on the biggest stage.”
It was the first meeting between the teams since Krzyzewski got his 1,000th career win with a 77-68 victory at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 25, 2015.
More Top 25
No. 2 Virginia 59, (at) Syracuse 44: De’Andre Hunter scored 15 points, Kyle Guy added 14 and second-ranked Virginia won its 14th straight and is off to its best start in conference play since the days of Ralph Sampson, who led the 1980-81 team to a 12-0 start.
Syracuse (15-8, 4-6), in desperate need of a signature victory, was coming off a four-point loss at Georgia Tech in which it shot 30 percent (15 of 50), and the offensive futility continued against the nation’s best scoring defense.
The Orange shot under 40 percent in the January loss to the Cavaliers and fared worse the second time around. Syracuse finished 17 of 50 (34 percent) and its 44 points were its fewest ever in the Carrier Dome.
The Orange needed big games from its top three scorers – Tyus Battle, Frank Howard, and Oshae Brissett – and they didn’t deliver. Battle finished with 15 points on 6-of-17 shooting, Howard was 4 of 17 for 11 points and Brissett had nine points.
No. 6 Xavier 96, Georgetown 91, OT: Trevon Bluiett had a season-high 31 points, including a four-point play that tied it late in regulation, and Xavier never trailed in overtime.
The Musketeers (21-3, 9-2 Big East) made all of their 10 free throws in overtime, including four by Tyrique Jones, as they remained unbeaten in 15 home games this season. Bluiett’s two foul shots clinched it with 10 seconds left.
The Hoyas (13-9, 3-8) missed a 3-pointer at the end of regulation and another one in overtime that gave Xavier a chance to finish off a back-and-forth game. There were 20 ties and 21 lead changes, with neither team ahead by more than five points.
Xavier has won six in a row, staying right behind No. 1 Villanova for the Big East lead.
Jessie Govan scored 23 points, and Marcus Derrickson had 19 points and 15 rebounds for Georgetown, which has lost five of six.
Oklahoma State 84, (at) No. 7 Kansas 79: Kendall Smith scored 24 points, including the clinching free throws in the final seconds, and Oklahoma State held on for the upset.
Cameron McGriff added 20 points and Jeffrey Carroll had 15 for the Cowboys (14-9, 4-6 Big 12), who built an 18-point first-half lead and dominated the boards in ending their three-game losing streak.
It was the third loss for the Jayhawks (18-5, 7-3) in Allen Fieldhouse, their most since the 1998-99 season, and their second in conference play. They also lost to Texas Tech in the Phog.
Udoka Azubuike had 20 points and Graham and Svi Mykhailiuk scored 17 apiece for Kansas, which was celebrating 120 years of basketball by welcoming back dozens of former players and coaches.
No. 8 Cincinnati 65, (at) UConn 57: Jacob Evans III scored 19 points to lead Cincinnati past the struggling Huskies.
Kyle Washington added 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Bearcats (21-2, 10-0 American), who never trailed.
Jalen Adams scored 20 points and Christian Vital added 18 for the Huskies, who have lost five of their last six to fall below the .500 mark at 11-12 (4-6).
The Bearcats shot just 36 percent from the floor, 10 percentage points below their season average. But they held UConn to 29 percent.
No. 10 Texas Tech 83, (at) TCU 71: Jarrett Culver scored 20 points with four 3-pointers, and Texas Tech got its fourth straight victory and a share of the Big 12 Conference lead.
Culver, Tech’s hometown freshman guard, made all of his 3s in the first half. That included consecutive baskets from beyond the arc in an 18-0 run that put the Red Raiders (19-4, 7-3 Big 12) firmly in control – even without top scorer Keenan Evans taking a shot in that stretch.
Evans still finished with 17 points and six assists, while Zhaire Smith had 12 points.
Vladimir Brodziansky led TCU (16-7, 4-6) with 18 points, while Bane had 13. Kenrich Williams had 12 points and 13 rebounds.
(At) No. 11 Auburn 93, Vanderbilt 81: Bryce Brown scored 25 points and Mustapha Heron had 23 to lead hot-shooting Auburn.
The two high-scoring guards alternated taking over for the Tigers (21-2, 9-1 Southeastern Conference) in the second half.
Heron scored 13 straight Auburn points, including three 3-pointers. Then Brown topped that with a 15-point run that also included a trio of 3s, one of which he turned into a four-point play.
Auburn made a season-high 17 3-pointers on 26 attempts to snap a 13-game losing streak against Vanderbilt.
Jared Harper scored 14 points and had 14 assists for Auburn, making three 3-pointers in the first nine minutes.
Jeff Roberson had the hot hand for the Commodores (8-15, 2-8), pouring in 30 points and making 5 of 9 from beyond the arc.
(At) Texas 79, No. 12 Oklahoma 74: Matt Coleman scored 22 points, leading a big second-half rally before his late free throws helped secure the win over Oklahoma and freshman star Trae Young.
Coleman scored 14 points in the second half. His free throws down the stretch came after he missed three in a row late in an overtime loss at Texas Tech that could have helped clinch a victory. Texas closed the game on a 22-8 run.
Kerwin Roach II added 19 points for Texas (15-8, 5-5 Big 12).
Young, the national scoring leader, came in averaging 30.3 points, but finished with 19 points on 7-of-22 shooting and made just two 3-pointers. He had 14 assists. The loss kept the Sooners (16-6, 6-4) from pulling into a three-way tie atop the Big 12 with Kansas and Texas Tech.
No. 13 Saint Mary's 65, (at) San Diego 62: Jock Landale had 34 points and tied his season high with 18 rebounds – he had a double-double by halftime – and Saint Mary’s extended its school-record winning streak to 18.
The Gaels (23-2, 12-0 West Coast Conference) have the nation’s second-longest winning string. No. 3 Purdue won its 19th straight on Saturday, 78-76 at Rutgers.
The Gaels led 36-24 at halftime and continued to lead by double digits until the Toreros slowly closed the gap late in the game. Isaiah Pineiro led USD (15-9, 6-6) with 24 points.
Landale, a 6-foot-11 senior, had his 16th double-double of the season. He was three points shy of his season-high.
(At) No. 15 West Virginia 89, Kansas State 51: Sagaba Konate scored 19 points and West Virginia ended a three-game losing streak.
James “Beetle” Bolden added 13 points in his first career start, Teddy Allen had 12 points off the bench and Wes Harris had 10 for West Virginia (17-6, 6-5 Big 12).
Dean Wade scored 17 points and Xavier Sneed had 16 for Kansas State (16-7, 5-5).
The Wildcats never led, were held to their lowest scoring output of the season and had more turnovers (15) than field goals (14).
No. 20 Clemson 75, Wake Forest 67: Gabe DeVoe scored 24 points to lead Clemson.
Marcquise Reed added 10 of his 22 in the final six minutes to help the Tigers (19-4, 8-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) win their third straight and claim sole possession of second place in the league standings, a half-game ahead of No. 4 Duke.
Bryant Crawford scored 16 points and Keyshawn Woods added 13 for the Demon Deacons (9-14, 2-9). Wake Forest went 5 minutes without a field goal down the stretch while Clemson finally took control of a tight game that had 20 lead changes and 12 ties.
Doral Moore added 13 rebounds for the Demon Deacons. Shelton Mitchell finished with 10 points for the Tigers.
(At) No. 18 Tennessee 94, Mississippi 61: Grant Williams and Lamonte’ Turner scored 17 points each to lead five Tennessee players in double figures as the Volunteers won their fifth straight.
The blowout enabled Tennessee (17-5, 7-3 SEC) to move into sole possession of second place in the Southeastern Conference. The Vols began the day in a three-way tie for second with No. 21 Kentucky and No. 23 Florida, which both lost Saturday.
Tennessee has won eight of its last nine games while Ole Miss (11-12, 4-6) has dropped five of its last six.
Admiral Schofield had 15 points and 12 rebounds for Tennessee. Kyle Alexander scored 14 points and Jordan Bowden added 10 for the Vols.
Bruce Stevens scored 16 points and Terence Davis added 13 for Ole Miss.
(At) No. 19 North Carolina 96, Pittsburgh 65: Luke Maye scored 26 points to help North Carolina end its first three-game losing streak in four years.
The Tar Heels (17-7, 6-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) found themselves in a close game late in the first half with a team that had yet to win a league game, but they blew it open with a big run spanning halftime.
Graduate transfer Cameron Johnson scored eight points against his former team in UNC’s 14-3 half-ending flurry, which grew to 25-5 when Joel Berry II hit his fourth 3-pointer for a 56-37 lead.
Freshman Marcus Carr scored 22 points for the Panthers (8-16, 0-11), who lost their 11th straight, the longest skid in program history.
(At) Missouri 69, No. 21 Kentucky 60: Missouri had never beaten Kentucky in 10 previous tries, but behind 16 points each from Jordan Barnett and Kassius Robertson, the Tigers finally cleared that Big Blue hurdle.
The 21st-ranked Wildcats (17-6, 6-4 Southeastern Conference) had erased double-digit deficits the last two games in victories over West Virginia and Vanderbilt, but their poor shooting against Missouri’s stingy defense ensured there would be no rally this time.
Kentucky shot 31.3 percent from the field. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led the Wildcats with 15 points and six assists.
Jontay Porter added 13 points and eight rebounds for Missouri (15-8, 5-5 SEC).
Missouri led 28-18 at halftime, as Kentucky made just 20 percent of its first-half shots and went 0 for 10 from 3-point range.
Alabama 68, (at) No. 23 Florida 50: Collin Sexton scored 17 points, Donta Hall notched his fourth double-double of the season, and Alabama rallied from a 10-point deficit for the upset.
Sexton added eight rebounds and six assists for the Tide (15-8, 6-4 Southeastern Conference), which improved to 2-4 on the road.
The Gators (15-8, 6-4) lost their third consecutive SEC game, the first time that’s happened since the end of coach Mike White’s first season in 2016.
Alabama dominated Florida in the paint, on the glass and up and down the floor. Sexton took over in the second half, dribbling through the defense and creating open layups and dunks.
Hall was one of the beneficiaries. He made all seven shots and finished with 14 points and 11 boards.
KeVaughn Allen led the Gators with 16 points.
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