Ryan Kelly hadn’t played a game for Duke since January 8th due to a foot injury, and in his first game back, he had a decent performance: 7-of-9 on three-pointers for a career-high 36 points in a thrilling 79-76 victory over Miami. The Blue Devils are unbeaten with Kelly this year (16-0) and 9-4 without him. Miami – which routed Duke in the earlier meeting – put together a scrappy rally in the final 90 seconds, and had two shots to the send the game to overtime, but missed both.
The win keeps Duke firmly in the mix for a No. 1 seed. Depending on how the NCAA tournament selection committee views those four Kelly-less losses, Duke could still possibly snag a No. 1 seed even with a loss to Miami in the ACC Tournament.
Kelly’s 36 points are the most from a Duke player since J.J. Reddick scored 41 on Texas in 2005.