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Coach K farewell tour: Mike Krzyzewski leads Duke ahead of Gonzaga for seventh win over No. 1 team

Mike Krzyzewski’s 42nd and final season as Duke basketball coach got off to a perfect start on the court after the Blues’ No 5 improved to 7-0 with an 84-81 win over 1 Gonzaga on Friday night. The win gives Duke the ability to rise to No. 1 in the AP Top 25 on Monday before the Blues go to play against Ohio State on Tuesday in their final major non-conference test.

This is Duke’s first game against a #1 ranked team since they took down-No. 1 Syracuse 66-60 at home in the 2013-14 season, and the transfer of the Blue Devils. With the win, Krzyzewski has now won six of his previous 10 wins against a No. 1 team and won 7-11 all-time against No. 1. He is also winning Gonzaga 4-1 all-time. With the victory over the 10th-ranked Kentucky team and the top Zags, the Blue Devils have officially put the difficulties of the 2020-21 season behind.

Krzyzewski will retire after this season, which will be his 42nd coach as Duke coach, and hand the program over to his assistant and former Duke star Jon Scheyer. As Krzyzewski’s final season continues, we’ll update this with the latest tributes – and struggles – from a coaching legend’s farewell tour.

How to watch Duke vs. Ohio State

Day: Tuesday, November 30 | Time: 9:30pm ET
Location: Value City Arena – Columbus, Ohio
TV: ESPN | Live: fuboTV (Try free)

Knocking off the Zags

Duke improved to 7-0 with an 84-81 win over No. 1 Gonzaga on November 26 in front of a crowd of 20,389 at T-Mobile Arena. It was the largest crowd that had ever seen a basketball game in Nevada, and they were given a horror movie. Paolo Banchero scored 20 points in the first half before facing a cramp in the second half and keeping quiet. Wendell Moore Jr scored 16 out of 20 in the second half.

The win helped Krzyzewski make it 7-11 against the 1st place teams. But after taking out Zags, Krzyzewski and the Blues have won six of their past 10 games against the highest ranked opponents.

Get ready for Gonzaga

Duke easily won matches against Lafayette and The Citadel on November 19 and November 22 as it prepared to face No. 1 Gonzaga on November 26. The Blues beat Lafayette by 88. -55 after 23 points from Wendell Moore Jr. Duke beat The Citadel 107-81 after 50 points from Moore and Paolo Banchero. There was a terrifying moment in the game at the Citadel, when Bulldogs coach Duggar Baucom collapsed onto the field in the first half. He stay overnight at Duke University Hospital and was released the afternoon after the game.

DWI charges grandson

Another pound start to Krzyzewski’s final season hit a speed bump in the early morning of November 14, when Duke Michael Savarino, Krzyzewski’s grandson, was arrested on suspicion of DWI. To complicate matters, Duke star freshman Paolo Banchero was a passenger in the vehicle and was cited for assisting and abetting DWI. But while Savarino was suspended, Banchero was not removed from any action in the game, as Krzyzewski explained “those are two different situations.”

“The headlines can make it the same,” he said. “It’s not. I think the decisions that we make are with the participation of the government, my superiors.”

West Point flashback

Duke played host to Army West Point on November 12 in the home opening as part of the Duke Veterans Day Weekend Showcase. The Blues won 82-56, but the match took on special meaning because the Army was where Krzyzewski had just played and served as head coach for the first time. During a period of 4 years as an Army student and 5 years as a coach, Krzyzewski spent nearly a decade of his young adult life at West Point. Army explored its history with the show in a special tribute video released before the game.

Garden party

Krzyzewski’s final season began on the big stage, with the Blues beating Kentucky at Madison Square Garden on November 9 in the Champions Classic Finals. The site is one of Krzyzewski’s favorites, and it was a farewell gift to the legendary coach. Krzyzewski is now 34-11 years old full-time at Madison Square Garden, and that record won’t change unless the Blues end up playing at NIT, which would be no disaster.

More on Coach K’s final season

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