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Gerry Broome, AP Photo

Top-ranked Duke too much for Utah Valley in finale of toughest 24 hours

By Kyle McDonald, Contributor  |  Posted Nov 11th, 2017 @ 10:30pm


DURHAM, N.C. — Duke freshman Marvin Bagley III put on a show with 24 points and 10 rebounds as the Blue Devils showed why they are the top-ranked team in the nation with a 99-69 win over Utah Valley University on Saturday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

"I'm not really sure there is a lot to say, guys," UVU head coach Mark Pope said. "This is a really good Duke team, as everyone knows. They were really physical inside."

The win is the 1,000th for Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski since he became the head coach in Durham.

Four other Blue Devils finished in double figures with senior guard Grayson Allen leading the way with 18. Gary Trent Jr. finished with 17 points and freshman Trevon Duval finished with a double-double with 15 points and 12 assists. Wendell Carter Jr. was the final Blue Devil to finish in double digits with 12 points.

Turnovers hampered UVU all night. Duke forced 19 turnovers which led to 33 points.

There were a few bright spots for UVU in the finale of the toughest 24 hours in college basketball history. Akolda Manyang had a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Manyang also had six assists in the contest. Kenneth Ogbe and Brandon Randolph also finished in double digits with 13 and 12 points, respectively.

Here are some observations from Saturday night.

Turnovers are a killer

It seems to be a cliché but turnovers really are a killer. With the game tied at 17, UVU turned the ball over on three straight possessions and Duke raced out to a 24-17 lead and never looked back. The Duke defense forced 19 turnovers on the night and 16 of those were steals. The turnovers led to 33 points and a big win for the top-ranked team in the nation.

Toughest 24 hours showed that UVU can compete

Sure, people will look at a 30-point loss and say that UVU was overmatched and not ready for the big stage. UVU head coach Mark Pope would say different. His Wolverines led by 12 points at 5th-ranked Kentucky in the second half and were it not for a 2-minute spurt by the Wildcats, UVU would have pulled off the upset.

Against top-ranked Duke, UVU led by four points late into the first half. Turnovers and the fact that Duke is just a better team changed that.

"We beat a good team," Krzyzewski said. "They knocked us back in the first 8 minutes. Our guys are young and they needed that."

But UVU showed it can compete. Last night Kenneth Ogbe led the Wolverines in scoring.

On Saturday night, it was Akolda Manyang. Pope wanted to test his guys and he got exactly what he wanted out of the trip.

"The fact that we got to see it, do it, and be here is great for us," Pope said. "From purely a basketball standpoint, I think we got exactly what what we wanted out of it. Our guys are walking away from this with some belief that there are really things that we can get done at the highest level."

Marvin Bagley III as good as advertised

Bagley III was the No. 1 overall ranked recruit in the class of 2017 and he showed why. Bagley dominated the paint to the tune of 24 points and 10 rebounds on 11-of-17 shooting. It is the second straight double-double for the projected lottery pick as Bagley III had 25 points and 10 rebounds in Friday's win over Elon.

UVU now gets back to a somewhat normal schedule. The Wolverines travel to Pocatello on Wednesday to take on Idaho State. UVU plays its home opener one week from Saturday when UC Davis comes to town on Nov. 18.

Kyle McDonald is sports fan who loves the Chicago Cubs. Follow him on Twitter at @kylesportsbias

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