ATLANTA — Seth Curry did some schooling on Kentucky’s latest group of heralded freshmen, showing that experience does matter — especially in November.
The senior guard scored 23 points and No. 9 Duke held off a furious comeback by the third-ranked Wildcats, beating the defending national champions 75-68 Tuesday night in the first matchup between the storied programs since 2001.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski likes the mix of his team, while Kentucky’s John Calipari conceded that his youngsters still have a lot of growing up to do.
“Veterans and talent,” Krzyzewski said. “Now, I wouldn’t mind having some of their guys. And I’m sure they would like to have some of our guys.”
Duke (2-0) appeared to be in control, even with Mason Plumlee on the bench in foul trouble. The Blue Devils ripped off a 13-3 run, capped by Rasheed Sulaimon’s 3-pointer that made it 58-44 with 9 1⁄2 minutes remaining.
But Kentucky (1-1) wasn’t done, rallying like the defending champ even though this is essentially a whole new team in Calipari’s one-and-done system. The Wildcats outscored Duke 17-6 over the next six minutes and actually had a chance to tie it. Julius Mays missed a 3-pointer with the Blue Devils clinging to a 64-61 lead.
Curry made sure youthful Kentucky didn’t get any closer. He blew past Archie Goodwin on a drive that essentially clinched the win.
Also on Tuesday:
No. 5 Michigan 77
Cleveland State 47
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Tim Hardaway Jr. had 17 points and six rebounds, and Michigan (3-0) advanced to the semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off.
No. 21 Michigan State 67
No. 7 Kansas 64
ATLANTA — Keith Appling scored 19 points, including a brilliant drive with 13.5 seconds left, and Michigan State (1-1) rebounded from a season-opening loss with an upset of Kansas (1-1).
No. 13 UCLA 80
UC Irvine 79
LOS ANGELES — Jordan Adams scored 26 points, making all 16 of his free throws, and UCLA (2-0) edged UC Irvine in regional play of the Legends Classic.
No. 14 Missouri 91
COLUMBIA, Mo. — Phil Pressey scored 21 points and Laurence Bowers added 14 — all in the second half — to help Missouri (2-0) rout Alcorn State.
No. 23 Connecticut 67
STORRS, Conn. — Sha- bazz Napier scored 13 points and freshman Omar Calhoun added 12 to lead Connecticut (2-0) over Vermont.
No. 24 Cincinnati 102
CINCINNATI — Sean Kilpatrick scored 20 points and Cheikh Mbodj had four of Cincinnati’s seven blocks to help lead the Bearcats (2-0).
No. 25 SDSU 91
San Diego Christian 57
SAN DIEGO — Jamaal Franklin scored 19 of his 28 points in the first half and had 12 rebounds as San Diego State rolled.
BERKELEY, Calif. — Allan Crabbe scored 24 of his career-high 33 points in the second half, and California (2-0) pulled away with a 14-4 run after halftime.
SEATTLE — Mike Black scored on a driving layup with 3.7 seconds left and Albany stunned Washington (1-1), rallying from a seven-point second half deficit.
Long Beach State 44
LOS ANGELES — Eric Wise scored 10 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as USC (2-0) won.