Michigan started slowly in a 79-69 loss at Duke, something it couldn't afford. The Wolverines seemed a bit intimidated by the environment, Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary both launching airballs within the first four minutes, and fell behind 5-0 before Derrick Walton Jr. stopped the bleeding with a drive and finish.
The Blue Devils got some help from the officiating crew early, notching a desperation triple from the corner that came a second after the shot clock expired. They also got two points off a blown out of bounds call, turning them into two free throws. Those points would were the difference in an early 10-5 Duke lead, one the Blue Devils expanded and that Michigan couldn't overcome, playing from behind throughout.
Caris LeVert and Nik Stauskas both missed finishes after nice drives early, each just rimming out. U-M started only 2-for-10 from the floor. Duke, though, wasn't much better, settling mainly for jump shots. Michigan was also in the bonus at 10:00, trailing 12-6 before Spike Albrecht nailed a triple at 9:30 to cut it to three.
LeVert missed his first three shots, all within five feet. Robinson III was quiet and only had two shots in the first 14 minutes, during which Michigan fell behind 21-9. Nine of Duke's points came in transition, while U-M was only 3-for-19 from the floor after freshman Zak Irvin barely drew iron from three-point range. It was four-for-21 when Nik Stauskas, who didn't get a touch until the four-minute mark, airballed from three-point range.
Still, the Wolverines weren't out of it at halftime. Walton notched a three-point play in transition and Robinson III followed with an alley-oop from Stauskas to cut it to 27-20 at the 1:00 mark. It ended 32-22 with a Duke triple at the first half buzzer.
Walton Jr. led the Michigan scorers with five, Robinson III had four and McGary and Stauskas had three points each.
Michigan went inside to McGary to start the second half, but he failed to finish. He did convert the second time to cut the Duke lead to eight. Two free throws from LeVert and a drive and finish in transition by Walton, sandwiched around a Duke basket, cut it to six.
The Blue Devils made another run, though, scoring the next six to take a 40-28 lead. They looked to expand it after Robinson III missed a wide-open triple from the top and LeVert was blocked at the rim, but former U-M recruit Mason Plumlee missed two free throws and Jordan Morgan finished a three-point play to make it 40-31 at 13:50.
Two LeVert drives and finishes cut it to seven, 42-35. Duke matched it again, scoring the next four.
The Wolverines' offense never got going, due in part to the Blue Devils' defense on Stauskas. His desperation triple attempt was the only look he had behind the arc. LeVert's dribble drives were about the only thing working, but he continued to impress, finishing a three-point play to make it 46-40 at 9:01.
Duke answered yet again. Andre Dawkins hit two triples to make it 52-40. The lead ballooned to 57-42, with LeVert Michigan's only bright spot on offense. He was aggressive while his teammates stood around and watched.
Duke led by as many as 18, 68-50, before the Wolverines hit a few shots to make it more respectable.
LeVert led Michigan scorers with 24 points, going 8-for-18 from the floor. McGary added 15 points and 14 rebounds, Walton Jr. seven and Robinson III eight points and only two rebounds. The Wolverines only had 11 assists for the game.