Duke Basketball: The 11 Most Embarrassing Losses in Blue Devil History

Doug Brodess@DougbrodessCorrespondent IOctober 31, 2011

Duke Basketball: The 11 Most Embarrassing Losses in Blue Devil History

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    Even with Mike Krzyzewski getting ready to set the mark for career total wins for a D-1 coach, a program as successful as Duke has had its share of distressing defeats, awkward outcomes and upsetting upsets.

    In fact, the Blue Devils have been on the losing end of some record-breaking routs.

    Here is a listing of the 11 most embarrassing losses of all time in Duke basketball history.

    Embarrassing losses aren't just based on the final scoring margin. Other futility factors (such as points scored in a half by an opponent, lack of points scored by Duke, shooting percentages) will also be observed.

11. Wake Forest 122 Duke 109

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    In Bill Foster's first season, Duke played at Wake Forest on January 22, 1975.

    The Demon Deacons beat the Blue Devils by 13 points. Not too embarrassing.

    The awkward part comes in looking at all the records that were set in this defeat.

    The Blue Devils allowed Carl Tacy's Demon Deacons to score 122 points, the most ever scored against a Duke team. Wake Forest scored 66 points in the first half, the most points scored in a half.

    To put that in perspective, the Demon Deacons have scored 129 (59 and 70) points in the last two games that they have faced the Blue Devils.

10. Wake Forest 94 Duke 80 2OT

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    On February 13, 2003, Duke played Wake Forest on the road in Winston-Salem.

    The odd part about this game was not in the fact that the Demon Deacons beat the Blue Devils by 14, but that they did it in double overtime.

    Wake outscored Duke 25 to 11 in the two overtime periods. Strange to be that close and then to fall apart at the end.

    The other odd parts to the game were: Dahntay Jones, Duke's leading scorer, was 0-for-12 from the field.

    Also, the Blue Devils only had four assists for the entire 50-minute game.

9. St. John's 93 Duke 78

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    Last year, on January 30, 2011, St. John's beat Duke 93-78 in Madison Square Garden.

    The Red Storm held the Blue Devils to 25 first-half points (46-25) and 19.2 percent shooting from beyond the arc.

    Dwight Hardy (pictured) led St. John's in scoring with 26 points.

    Duke's 15-point loss to the Red Storm was its largest margin of defeat against an unranked opponent over the last 15 seasons. Whoa!

8. North Carolina State 12 Duke 10

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    On March 8, 1968, Duke played North Carolina State in a record-setting game in terms of least points scored in a Blue Devils' game.

    NCState won the pre-shot-clock-era game 12-10 in the second round of the ACC Tournament.

    Duke scored just four points in the first half and six points in the second, the two lowest scoring halves in school history.

    The Blue Devils only connected on two (that's right, two) field goals for this entire game.

    And it's not like these teams were playing this way all of the time.

    In their first round games, NC State beat Maryland 63-54 and Duke defeated Clemson 43-40.

7. UCLA 100 Duke 77

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    On February 26, 1995, the Blue Devils went west to face UCLA, looking to light it up in L.A.

    Instead, things didn't turn out so well in Westwood.

    After only trailing by three at half, Duke got buried in the second half, being outscored 60-40 in the final twenty minutes on their way to a 100-77 loss.

    The O'Bannon Brothers blistered the Blue Devils for 50 points, 24 rebounds and seven assists. Not sure, but the O'BBs may have sold some programs and pop corn too.

    It's hard to win when two of your top shooters (Jeff Capel and Trajan Langdon) go a combined 8-for-27.

6. North Carolina 101 Duke 87

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    On February 11, 2009, at Cameron Indoor Stadium, North Carolina scored its fourth most points all-time against Duke as the Tar Heels beat the Blue Devils 101-87.

    This was the first time that Duke had allowed 100 points to an opponent in over nine seasons.

    Ty Lawson led all scorers with 25, 21 of which came in the second half.

    Duke was actually ahead by eight (52-44) at half, but UNC outscored the Blue Devils 57-35 in the second half.

    You could say that Danny Green and Tyler Hansbrough owned the Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor. They became the first pair of classmates to go 4-0 in their career against the Blue Devils in consecutive seasons at Cameron in the Coach K era.


5. North Carolina 105 Duke 81

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    Michael Jordan was never shy about making statements either verbally or with his game.

    On March 5, 1983, Jordan's game spoke loudly and clearly as he helped the Tar Heels blow out the Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium, 105-81.

    Jordan led all scorers with 32 points. 

    Losing to the Tar Heels is bad enough. Losing to the Tar Heels at Cameron is worse.

    But getting run out of your own gym by UNC is nearly impossible to handle.

4. Louisville 99 Duke 61

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    Possibly a little too much 1982 New Year's celebration led to Louisville's humiliation of the Blue Devils on January 2, 1982, 99-61.

    Thirty-eight-point drubbings are not gradual or subtle. This was not an exception. 

    Denny Crum's squad that landed in the 1982 Final Four doubled Duke up by half-time, posting a 54-27 lead.

    Six Louisville players scored in double figures and the Cardinals shot 67 percent for the first half.

    The Cardinals blocked ten shots. The Blue Devils didn't block any of UL's.

    Not exactly Southern hospitality!

3. Virginia Commonwealth 79 Duke 77

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    On March 15, in the opening round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament, 11th-seeded VCU beat Duke 79-77.

    Before this defeat, Duke had been 27-1 under Coach K in March Madness games against teams seeded 11th or lower.

    Duke had been up by as much as 13 points.

    Eric Maynor (pictured) led the Rams in scoring with 22 points.

    The loss ended the Blue Devils string of Sweet 16 appearances at nine.

    With this defeat, the Blue Devils ended their season with a four-game losing streak, their second of the 2006-07 season.

    All this before Shaka showed up at VCU? Guess they were doing the David vs. Goliath-thing then too.

2. Virginia 109 Duke 66

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    On March 11th, 1983, a Ralph Sampson-led Virginia team destroyed Duke 109-66 for the most lop-sided loss in school history (in the modern era).

    This loss put the final punctuation on a dismal third season for head coach Mike Krzyzewski, who's Blue Devils finished seventh in the ACC with a dreary 11-17 record.

    Coach K's overall record in his first three years in Durham was 38-47.

    This game may have actually been a turning point in Coach K's career.

    John Feinstein reported in the Washington Post that "early the next morning, sitting in a Denny's at 3 a.m with some friends, Krzyzewski heard someone raise a glass of water and say, "Here's to forgetting about tonight."

    Krzyzewski picked up his glass and said, "Here's to never [expletive] forgetting about tonight."

    It's not always what happens but how you respond to what happens that makes the difference.

1. UNLV 103 Duke 73

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    The most embarrassing loss in Duke basketball history was at the hands of UNLV in the 1990 NCAA Championship Game when the Runnin' Rebels trounced the Blue Devils, 103-73.

    Anderson Hunt (pictured) led all scorers with 29 points and was voted the Final Four Most Outstanding Player. Larry Johnson added 22 points and 11 rebounds.

    The Rebels outscored the Blue Devils by 12 in the first half and by 18 in the second half.

    In this infamous game, UNLV set the record for most points scored (103) and largest margin of victory (30) in an NCAA championship game.

    Can you say "complete domination"?