Keshad Johnson hit a tough whistle-drawing layup for a three-point play with 46.8 seconds left that pushed No. 12 Arizona to a late lead on the way to a 78-73 win at No. 2 Duke on Friday night.

Johnson finished with 14 points and eight rebounds for the Wildcats (2-0), his biggest coming on that contact layup off a feed from Caleb Love.

Love a transfer from hated Duke rival North Carolina who heard plenty from the Cameron Crazies all night also came up big late by making four free throws during Arizona’s 6-for-6 finish at the line in the final 20 seconds.

When it was over, Arizona’s players celebrated near midcourt, with Love waving goodbye to the irate Crazies and offering some testy words as big man Oumar Ballo extended his arms to blow them kisses.

Ballo had 13 points and Love had 11 for Arizona, which shot 46% and finished with a 45-33 rebounding edge.

Preseason Associated Press All-American Kyle Filipowski had 25 points to lead the Blue Devils (1-1), who never caught up after Johnson’s late basket.

The game opened a home-and-home series between marquee-brand programs, the kind of matchup that’s becoming trickier for coaches to schedule in a time of changing conferences and neutral-court dates. And in addition to Love, the game featured the return of former Duke Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski to a courtside seat for just his second game here since his 2022 retirement.

Along the way, the game featured some postseason vibes of tension in the ear-ringing backdrop of Duke’s famously rowdy home arena.

But the Wildcats bullied the Blue Devils in the first half on the glass and led by eight at the break. In the final tense nine minutes, the teams were never separated by more than four points until the last moments.


Arizona: The Wildcats showed off their depth and athleticism, from Johnson’s range ability at both ends to Ballo inside. Arizona’s board-work stood out, including the Wildcats nearly doubling Duke on the offensive glass (15-8).

Duke: The Blue Devils got a boost with the return of athletic wing Mark Mitchell from an ankle injury that sidelined him for the opener. Duke needed him to counter the Wildcats’ athleticism. But outside of Jeremy Roach (17 points), the Blue Devils got little offensive support for Filipowski.


Arizona: The Wildcats host Southern on Monday.

Duke: The Blue Devils get another marquee matchup against fourth-ranked Michigan State in the Champions Classic in Chicago on Tuesday.



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