By AARON BEARD – AP Basketball Writer
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – Arizona managed to test every last minute in the home field of notoriously hostile Duke, to win a tough game carrying the vibes of the season despite its date in November.
For coach Tommy Lloyd, it’s just the first step for the 12th-ranked Wildcats.
Keshad Johnson hit a tough layup at the whistle for a three-point play with 46.8 seconds left that pushed Arizona ahead en route to a 78-73 victory over Duke on Friday night, marking the Wildcats’ first road win against a top – victory. 2 combat classes from March 2001.
“I know a lot of us are going to win here,” Lloyd said. “Obviously Duke is a great program. … But we’re on a journey beyond this.”
The Wildcats bullied the Blue Devils in the first half on the glass and led by eight at the break at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Then, in the final nine minutes, the teams were not separated by more than four points until KJ Lewis’ dunk with 0.6 seconds left for the final margin.
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Johnson finished with 14 points and eight rebounds for the Wildcats (2-0), including a key layup from Pelle Larsson moments earlier to tie the game at 67.
“It came at the right time,” Johnson said of his late baskets, adding: “I just kept my head down and wanted to do anything that could get my team the win.”
Caleb Love – a transfer from hated rival Duke North Carolina who heard plenty from the “Cameron Crazies” all night – also came up late by assisting on Johnson’s score and making four free throws during Arizona’s 6-for-6 finish at the line in the final 20 seconds.
When it was over, Arizona players celebrated near midcourt, with Love (11 points) waving goodbye to the irate Crazies and offering some testy words as big man Oumar Ballo raised his hands to kiss his blown.
Preseason Associated Press All-American Kyle Filipowski had 25 points for the Blue Devils (1-1), who were outshot 45-33.
“Big or small or whatever, it’s still about effort,” Duke coach Jon Scheyer said. “It’s still about blocking and chasing the ball. We are going to find a few hours tonight when we stood and watched.”
The game opened a home-and-home series between marquee-brand programs, the matchup type that is becoming more difficult for coaches to schedule during conferences and changing neutral court dates. It also marked the return of former Duke Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski to a courtside seat for his second game here since retiring in 2022.
Arizona: The Wildcats showed their depth and athleticism, from Johnson’s range ability at both ends to Ballo inside (13 points). Arizona’s table work stood out, including the Wildcats nearly doubling Duke on the offensive glass (15-8).
Duke: The Blue Devils got a boost when athletic wing Mark Mitchell returned from an ankle injury that sidelined him for the final. Duke wanted him to counter the athleticism of the Wildcats. But outside of Jeremy Roach (17 points), the Blue Devils didn’t get much offensive support for Filipowski.
“I think it’s a good little wake-up call for us about what’s to come,” Filipowski said.
Arizona: The Wildcats will host Southern on Monday.
Duke: The Blue Devils get another marquee game against fourth-ranked Michigan State in the Champions Classic in Chicago on Tuesday.
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