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Miami beats Duke, but the Super Bowl steals all the headlines


Mike Miller

Poor Reggie Johnson. He carried Miami to its biggest win of the year, but the timing couldn’t have been worse.

The 6-foot-10, 284-pound center scored a career-high 27 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in a 78-74 overtime win at No. 7 Duke, a victory that would’ve earned the ‘Canes the top spot on sports websites and broadcasts.

If it didn’t end an hour before the Super Bowl’s kickoff, that is.

The win wasn’t ignored – pretty much everyone had in the second-most prominent spot available – but think of how much bigger it could’ve been without the Giants and Pats playing. Guess Miami (14-7, 5-3) will just have to settle for its biggest win of the season (by far). Johnson will.

“It’s big - my friends, my family were here,” he said. “Growing up here, I know about Duke. I know about North Carolina. I know about N.C. State. So to come in here and get a win against Duke is real big-time.”

Especially since Miami missed chances against Ole Miss, West Virginia and Virginia earlier this season. This one was almost the same.

The ‘Canes blew a 16-point second-half lead, regrouped late and watch Duke blow chance after chance in overtime. The Devils (19-4, 6-2) missed six free throws had two wretched possessions in the final 20 seconds, none of which sat well with Coach K.

“A Duke team should play with energy for 40 minutes, or 45,” the Duke coach said. “Go outside right now and you look at the banners - there are quite a few of them up there. They were not won without energy, without hunger, with no complacency, with people really wanting it.

“And we’ve wanted it a lot, and we’ve won a lot. We’re supposed to play hard and with energy all the time. Those are givens. Those should be givens.”

Perhaps Krzyzewski can use the loss as motivation for a certain conference game on Wednesday. I’m guessing playing hard won’t be an issue vs. North Carolina.

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.