_Soaking up the action in New York on Friday was Ray Floriani, a writer for several sites focused on college hoops. _
NEW YORK CITY - Following the semifinals the idea of the ’first four minutes’ was discussed. Those key minutes, specifically at the start of the second half, proved to be significant in Duke’s 71-56 victory over Michigan in the Coaches vs. Cancer final.
Duke led 39-31 at the half in Friday’s contest at Madison Square Garden. After four minutes, the lead was 14 (47-33). The first four minutes of the half each team had seven possessions. Michigan scored only two three throws while Duke posted eight points. With a 14 point bulge, momentum and sixteen minutes to go Duke was in a position to dictate the course of the contest and was never severely threatened.
The final numbers:
Wolverine efficiency was down but John Beilein, while noting his team did get good looks, especially on the perimeter, credits Duke’s defense as responsible. “They (Duke) make you work so hard for everything,” Beilein said. Michigan’s effective FG percentage was 41.5% against Duke. In the semifinal win over UCLA the figure was 48.1%.
Michigan continued to take good care of the ball, a Beilein trademark. The Wolverines TO rate was 18% in the final. Duke committed 17 turnovers for a 25% rate. Ten of those were after halftime and it should be pointed out a good portion of those were in transition. Duke looked to push it if possible. One way to have success against a zone is beat it down the floor in transition.
Overall Coaches vs. Cancer was a good experience for Michigan. Three out of four games in the win column, a victory over the number four ranked UCLA team and two nights of handling the ’big stage of Madison Square Garden with poise and determination. “Michigan is a very good basketball team,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “They are going to be a tough out in the Big Ten.”
Manny Harris made all-tournament for Michigan. He led all scorers with 25 points in the final. DeShawn Sims played well inside for the Wolverines. Both Sims and Harris though will need consistent help in their respective areas. Others have to emerge on a nightly basis. Stu Douglas for instance, played a key role with his outside shooting against UCLA but was 1 of 5 from the floor (3 points total) against Duke. In the second half of the final Michigan scored seven field goals, six coming from Harris or Sims.
Duke took an hour of game day afternoon to prepare for the Michigan 1-3-1. Coach K noted they practice against all zones in pre-season but wanted to do specific things against Michigan. From the first possession the Duke game plan was evident as they went inside to Gerald Henderson.
Nolan Smith 16 pts, Kyle Singler 15 pts (tournament MVP) and Henderson with 12 paced the Blue Devils.