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Pickeral: Duke makes case as top team

11/29/2012

DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke forward Ryan Kelly says he tends not to get a lot of sleep after games, tossing and turning and thinking about all of the things he should-have-could-have-might-have done.

But after Wednesday night's 73-68 come-from-behind victory over No. 4 Ohio State, the senior thought it might be a bit easier to snooze -- because of all the things he and his teammates did do.

A year after the Buckeyes shellacked Duke by 22 points in a decidedly one-sided bout (leaving Kelly sleepless for a couple of days), the second-ranked Blue Devils gritted, shot and rallied their way back from a 10-point deficit not only to avenge last season's loss but to make their case as the top team in the nation.

Wednesday's raucous victory at Cameron Indoor Stadium marked the third time this month the undefeated Blue Devils have topped a top-five foe, (following victories over then-No. 3 Kentucky on Nov. 13 and then-No. 2 Louisville on Nov. 24). According to ESPN Stats & Information, it's the first time since 1965-66 that Duke has won multiple regular-season nonconference games against squads ranked in the Associated Press top five.

"I've liked my group, but you just don't know if they have the confidence, the endurance, the togetherness to go through a stretch like this,'' said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, whose team extended its nonconference home winning streak to 97 (the longest active stretch in Division I). "It would be hard to find anybody who has been through a stretch like this, and they've gotten better. I knew my team was together, and through accomplishment, they've gotten more together."

For Robbi Pickeral's full column, click here.