NO. 1 DUKE TO MEET GEORGETOWN FOR 2K EMPIRE CLASSIC TITLE
November 18, 2019
NEW YORK – Top-ranked Duke will meet Georgetown for the 2019 2K Empire Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior title.
In the opening game of the semifinal doubleheader, Mac McClung scored 19 points to help give former Knick great Patrick Ewing another signature moment at Madison Square Garden, leading Georgetown to an 82-66 victory over No. 22 Texas.
The Hoyas used a 12-0 run early in the second half that rallied the crowd and had “Let’s go Hoyas!” chants echoing throughout the arena. With his retired No. 33 New York Knicks jersey hanging in the rafters, Ewing helped orchestrate another wild one at his favorite arena.
“This is still my home. I still have a lot of fans here, still a lot of family here, still have a lot of supporters here, so it was a great night,” Ewing said. “And my team, these guys stepped up and got the job done.”
The Hoyas made the charge to open the second half and kept the pressure on to advance to the title game.
Ewing had beckoned Qudus Wahab up from the bench for a late first-half pep talk. Ewing had a few things to say to his 6-foot-11 freshman center and they ended the conversation with a fist bump.
Ewing’s motivation eventually worked on his big man. Wahab had a thunderous dunk for a 54-52 lead and the active Hoyas defensive forced another turnover under Texas’ basket. Ewing waved on the fast-break like a third base coach sending a runner home, and Terrell Allen scored to get the Garden fans up and going wild for the momentum shift. Ewing pumped his fist and the Hoyas were pushing for an upset.
Jamorko Pickett tallied 15 points, James Akinjo had 14 points and six assists, and Omer Yurtseven had 10 points before fouling out.
Texas was led by Matt Coleman III and his 22 points.
In the nightcap, Mike Krzyzewski won his 217th game with Duke ranked No. 1, matching John Wooden for the career coaching record in the Blue Devils’ 87-52 triumph over California.
Krzyzewski is 217-34 when the Blue Devils hold the top spot, a mark they hit this week in The Associated Press poll. Wooden went 217-11 during his run at UCLA.
Duke is ranked No. 1 for the 143rd week, extending its own record, and has the top spot in the AP poll for the 20th season under Krzyzewski, also a record.
Vernon Carey led Duke with 31 points and 12 rebounds. Carey scored 21 points in the first half, one point better than the best in his brief career, set a game earlier against Georgia State. Cassius Stanley had 11 points and Wendell Moore added 10 points
Jack White and Tre Jones hit consecutive 3s in the first half to help stretch a nine-point lead to 19 at halftime, and the Blue Devils never looked back. Duke fans filled the Garden, the program’s home in the Northeast. The Blue Devils opened the season here with a win over Kansas and they beat Cal for their 37th career win at MSG.
The Golden Bears (4-1) shot only 37% from the floor and failed to have a player score in double digits.
Texas will take on California in the consolation game of the 2K Empire Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project at 5:00pm (ET), followed by the title tilt at 7:00pm (ET). In 2015, the Blue Devils beat the Hoyas, 86-84, in the 2K Empire Classic championship tilt.
The Subregional semifinals also take place on Friday. Georgia State will take on Prairie View A&M, followed by Central Arkansas facing host California Baptist.
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