Caleb Love's days of haunting Cameron Indoor Stadium — whether it's his taunting or his shooting — are not over yet.
It's a grave mistake to Hack-a-Shaq Love in the final seconds of a crucial game and expect him not to deliver at the free throw line. In his previous three seasons, Love has shot an average 81.2% from the keyhole. A little throwback: six of those made shots came in the final 44 seconds of the 2022 UNC-Duke rivalry game, which sent former Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski home with a loss in his final game at Cameron Indoor.
Now, two seasons and a jersey switch later, Love — and the Arizona Wildcats — did a similar thing to Jon Scheyer, handing him his first home loss at the helm of Duke basketball.
In the first half, the Wildcats limited Duke sharpshooters Jeremy Roach and Tyrese Proctor to a combined 0/5 ratio from the stripe and wiped the Blue Devil offense from the backcourt, stopping them at a 16.7% clip from three. This is a team that's sharp from afar this year; Duke knocked down 7-17 attempts versus Dartmouth just four days prior.
The Blue Devils grappled onto the lead for only three separate possessions in the first half before the Wildcats responded. Arizona made its move at the end of the half, dashing to a six-point lead before a Love triple sent the teams to break with the Wildcats' largest lead of the night.
It took just eight minutes for the Blue Devils to recover from their deficit as they knotted the score at 52 and scrapped with the Wildcats down the stretch. Seven-foot center Oumar Ballo had his work cut out for him in the second, guarding Preseason All-American Kyle Filipowski on one end of the court and leading Arizona's shooting at 44% from the other.
With 47 seconds left, the score was stalemated at 69 and foul shots became the name of the game. The teams traded fouls and six free throw attempts in total, the last one being Love, who scored the second of his perfect rounds of free throws to take the score to 76-73.
With Duke trailing and five seconds remaining, Ryan Young began the Blue Devil possession by heaving the ball past mid-court, which was tipped by Pelle Larsson directly into the hands of, drumroll... Love. A bounce to KJ Davis and a dunk were all that remained to seal Arizona's 78-73 win.
The Wildcats out-rebounded the Blue Devils 45-33, grabbing 15 offensive boards compared to Duke's 8.
As for who was making baskets, Arizona's rotations were much more balanced, allowing all five starters to net in the double digits while the Wildcats still nabbed 16 bench points. In comparison, Filipowski and Jeremy Roach carried business with 25 and 17 points respectively.