Duke vs. Pitt - Postgame Reactions and Takeaways

If that was Duke's first real test of the conference season, they passed it with flying colors.

Pittsburgh jumped out to a early lead, feeding off of their sold out home crowd.

Duke seemed to be approaching the danger zone with Pitt in total control of the game and threatening to go on a run at any moment, but the Devils weathered the storm with some big threes from Andre Dawkins and Rodney Hood.

Jabari Parker also had a big first half, hitting a couple of threes and sprinkling in a few dunks on his way to 16 points in the opening frame.

The Panthers were sparked by freshman Jamel Artis, who came off the bench and hit two quick threes in succession.

After nine lead changes, Duke took a 34-32 lead into the break.

The second half held the same pattern for much of the half, as the teams traded the lead back and forth until Lamar Patterson hit two free throws, cutting Duke's lead to 52-51 with just under 10 minutes to go.

However, those were the last points the Panthers would score for the next four and a half minutes.

The Blue Devils took advantage by going on a 12-0 run that broke the game open, headlined by eight points from Andre Dawkins - including two three-pointers - during that span.

Pitt eventually stopped the run with an old-fashioned three-point play from Lamar Patterson, but Duke was able to maintain a steady lead for the rest of the game, holding on for the 80-65 victory.

Dawkins finished the game with 20 points (including six threes), 14 of which came in Duke's decisive second half spurt.

Parker cooled off in the second half, going 1-6 from the floor, but still finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds for his third straight double-double after carrying the load in the first half.

Amile Jefferson also stepped in handling Pitt's front line, finishing with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Quinn Cook chipped in with six assists, and Rodney Hood finished with 13 points and four assists.

Lamar Patterson led the Panthers with 14 points and five rebounds, but struggled from the field - thanks largely to Hood's defense - making only four shots on 13 attempts. Talib Zanna also had a big impact for Pitt with 11 points, 11 rebounds, and had two massive blocks.

Both teams managed to take care of the ball (Pitt had 10 turnovers, Duke only had seven) and the rebounding was fairly even, with the Devils having the slight edge 36-32.

It was a great, even basketball game for 30 minutes, but Duke's hot shooting ultimately helped them pull away.

Led by Dawkins, Coach K's squad was 52% from long range - making 13(!!!) of their 25 attempts - and shot 48% from the field, compared to Pitt shooting 41%.

That ultimately proved to be the difference in the game, with Duke capitalizing on most of their possessions, something you have to do to win a game like this.

For Pitt, this game was a disappointment in terms of how they let the game get away from them. They now have an 18-3 overall record, but are 0-3 against the top 50 RPI teams. Given, those teams are Syracuse (#2 nationally), Cincinnati (#13), and Duke, so they're not bad losses, but the Panthers are still looking to prove themselves by getting a win over another good team.

For Duke, they're back. Winning in the fashion they did showed they have the mental toughness to deal with a raucous road crowd, and the physical toughness to hang with physical teams - which is important, because the next team they play (Syracuse), plays the exact same way.

Duke's shooting will come and go (they won't always shoot this well, unfortunately), but they showed tonight they have the ability to play a slow tempo game effectively, and can execute their offensive sets in the half court very effectively.

Syracuse likes to get back in their zone, making the opposition perform at a high level on offense. And with the Devils showing they can do that tonight, Saturday night should live up to all the hype.

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