Embattled Duke rallies from 23 down to beat Louisville

Duke climbs back from 23 down, stuns Louisville on eve of Coach K's 72nd birthday

Up next for the #2 ranked Blue Devils is a home game against NC State on Saturday afternoon, followed by a Wednesday night showdown against hated rival UNC.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Looking exhausted and beaten while trailing Louisville by 23 points, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski told his players they would win the game.

After explaining how the team came back to win, Krzyzewski was also asked about sexual assault allegations against a former Blue Devils player. "They were playing harder than us - Louisville's a very great team - we just had to play harder than them", Williamson told ESPN after the game. It was a little frustrating at first. And he was telling us the whole time that we were going to win.

Yes, it was a dogged defender named Jordan Goldwire - a seldom-used sophomore guard prior to his breakout performance - who made a name for himself to a national audience by relentlessly forcing the Cardinal backcourt into making hurried decisions and multiple mistakes. "He really stepped up for us".

It didn't start well for Duke, but it didn't end well for Louisville. Empty possessions - either because of turnovers or bad shots - allowed the Blue Devils to chip into the lead. The Blue Devils stormed back from a 23-point second-half deficit on the road against No. 16 Louisville, picking up a 71-69 victory against their conference foes.

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It was the second-biggest second-half comeback in Duke history.

It shouldn't be lost how close Louisville came to holding on for this win.

Earlier, Reddish tied the game 69-69 with a clutch three-pointer with 1:16 left on the clock. The fact that the Blue Devils pulled off this comeback at an ACC rival in Louisville, with the Duke starting lineup featuring four freshmen, is simply remarkable. They probably were more deserving of winning. While the Cardinals couldn't find any kind of rhythm or organization on offense, Chris Mack was left to look frustrated on the sidelines with few ways to rally the troops. This result was mostly a credit to the comeback, and how unsafe Duke can be when it decides to flex its toughness on the defensive end of the court.

With the win, Duke improves to 22-2 on the season.

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