No. 12 Arizona outlasts No. 2 Duke basketball in a November game with a March feel

In a game with March feelings in early November, No. 12 Arizona muscled its way past No. 2 Duke, 78-73, Friday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

The Wildcats (2-0) led most of the game, and Duke (1-1) never led by more than two points. After the Blue Devils took a 70-69 lead on Kyle Filipowski’s basket with 1:09 to play, Keshad Johnson scored inside while drawing a foul with 46.9 to play. His free throw gave the Wildcats a 70-69 lead, and they never trailed again.

Filipowski paced Duke with a game-high 25 points while grabbing eight rebounds. Five Arizona players scored in double-figures, led by Johnson’s 14.

Here are takeaways from the top-25 showdown as Duke lost for the first time at Cameron with Jon Scheyer as its head coach:

Poor 3-point shooting slowed Duke

The Blue Devils made eight of 23 3-pointers (34.8%) against Arizona and those misses wound up being costly, even though Duke heated up a bit late.

After the Blue Devils were off-target on most of their 3-pointers, Jeremy Roach’s 3 with 2:11 to play in the game gave Duke a 67-65 lead. It was just the second lead of the second half for Duke.

Duke missed six of its first seven 3-pointers to fall behind early and struggled to find its 3-point shooting stroke all night.

The Blue Devils hit just 5 of their first 19 3-pointers before hitting two in a row — one from Roach, one from Tyrese Proctor — to cut the Arizona lead to 63-62 with 5:59 to play

Rebounding issues hurt Blue Devils

Arizona gained a 29-15 rebounding edge at halftime as it built a 41-33 lead at intermission.

Duke coach Jon Scheyer used 6-10 Ryan Young, 7-1 Christian Reeves and 6-9 Sean Stewart off the bench as Duke attempted to counter Arizona’s 7-foot, 260-pound senior center Oumar Ballo.

That helped as Duke fared better after halftime. But the Wildcats still finished with 45 rebounds to Duke’s 33 for the game.

Ballo scored 13 points and grabbed five rebounds. Johnson, a 6-7 forward, had 14 points and eight rebounds.

Mitchell returns

Mark Mitchell, a 6-9 forward who started 35 games for Duke last season, returned to the starting lineup after battling a sprained ankle all week.

That injury had him out of uniform and the bench Monday when the Blue Devils beat Dartmouth, 92-54. Last season as a freshman, Mitchell averaged 9.1 points and 4.5 rebounds per game.

But Mitchell returned to the starting lineup against Arizona, scoring nine points with five rebounds.

Love’s return

Former North Carolina guard Caleb Love, who transferred to Arizona in the offseason, started and had a so-so game for the Wildcats. That is, until he hit four three throws in the final 17.4 seconds to help the Wildcats hold off Duke.

The 6-2 guard scored 11 points, including a 3-pointer as the first half expired that gave Arizona a 41-33 lead at intermission. But Love committed a team-high six turnovers while hitting just 3 of 10 shots. He turned the ball over four times in the second half.

However, his two free throws with 17.4 seconds left extended Arizona’s lead to 72-69 and he hit two more at 4.6 seconds giving the Wildcats a 76-73 lead.

Coach K returns to Cameron

For the first time of what’s expected to be many games this season, retired Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski sat courtside to watch the Blue Devils play.

The only other Duke basketball game Krzyzewski attended since his April 2022 retirement was last Feb. 14, when he sat courtside when the Blue Devils beat Notre Dame, 68-64. Krzyzewski said his presence that night had more to do with seeing Mike Brey, a former Duke assistant who had just announced his plans to resign at season’s end as Notre Dame’s head coach.