Duke rallies behind Marvin Bagley III, defeats Florida

By Jerry Briggs
For theJBreplay.com

It’s early Monday morning now, and the highlights are still rolling on ESPN.

Most of them involve Duke freshman center Marvin Bagley III.

Bagley produced 30 points and 15 rebounds Sunday night as the Blue Devils erased a 17-point, second-half deficit to stun Florida, 87-84, in the PK80 tournament Motion Bracket final.

Florida controlled the action early in the second half, building a 74-57 lead when Egor Koulechev made two free throws.

But down the stretch, Duke’s size and athleticism started to take a toll.

The Gators couldn’t do much to stop Bagley, who posted down low to score 10 during the Blue Devils’ rally.

Gary Trent Jr. made four straight free throws in the final 1:11 to seal it for Duke.

With a chance to tie at the end, Koulechev faced defensive pressure and threw up a wild shot that missed as the buzzer sounded.

Duke fans have seen this type of performance before, from Bagley and from their team as a whole.

Bagley produced 34 points and 15 rebounds in the tournament semifinal against Texas.

In that game, the Blue Devils erased a 16-point deficit to beat the Longhorns 85-78 in overtime.

After the Texas game, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski called Bagley “a treasure.”

“I believe ultimately in this kid. I knew he was going to be good, but coaching him every day, he’s a treasure, really,” Krzyzewski said. “Because he wants to be really good. All of his teammates love him because he’s as hard of a worker as we have.”