EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (TNS) — It didn't look good for Duke. After playing their worst half of the season, the Blue Devils were summoned to the bench by Mike Krzyzewski, who called a timeout less than a minute into the second half.
Krzyzewski, animated, asked his team what they were doing, only with a more colorful word in there. And after the huddle broke, it didn't take long for Duke to get its collective act together, eventually toughing out a 66-56 win against Connecticut.
The Huskies (4-4) did finish off a 6-0 run to open the second half after that Krzyzewski timeout, tying the game at 30-30. After that, though, Duke went on a 15-2 run that changed the complexion of the contest.
Justise Winslow — who continues to struggle with foul issues — Tyus Jones and then Winslow again made consecutive lay-ups to force a Kevin Ollie timeout. That didn't stop the Blue Devils' momentum, though, as Okafor, Quinn Cook and then Okafor again continued the parade to the basket.
The second Okafor basket was a one-handed dunk that left the scouts with visions of him in the NBA next foul dancing through their heads _ a drop step to the baseline around the Huskies' Phillip Nolan cleared all the space he needed to get to the rim.
Still, the Huskies didn't just fade away. UConn was down 57-51 with 3 minutes, 45 seconds left in the game. Out of that media timeout, though, Jones found Winslow late in the shot clock for an open 3 that gave the Blue Devils enough cushion the rest of the way.
Ryan Boatright, the quick 6-foot guard that gave the Blue Devils problems all night, finished with 22 points on 7-of-13 shooting and sank a long 3 to cut the deficit to six with one minute, 30 seconds remaining. He was the only reliable scoring option for the Huskies, and the solo act wasn't enough to carry them. Tyus Jones had 21 points for Duke, with Okafor (12 points), Winslow (12) and Amile Jefferson (11) joining him in double figures.