A furious charge wasn't quite enough for No. 3 Kentucky, as they came up short to No. 9 Duke in a 75-68 loss at the Georgia Dome on Tuesday.
John Calipari brought in another sterling recruiting class to Lexington, but his newest crop of stars doesn't appear to be quite as ready to dominate at the college level as Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist were.
Alex Poythress (20 points on 9-13 shooting, eight rebounds), Archie Goodwin (16 points and four assists) and Nerlens Noel (16 points and nine rebounds) had their moments, but the story of the game was the Blue Devils' seniors.
Seth Curry, Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly combined for 51 of Duke's 71 points, as Coach K clearly benefited from having a wealth of experience this early in the season. Kentucky, in contrast, didn't return a single starter from last year's title team.
However, on Tuesday, the biggest absence for the Wildcats was that of PG Ryan Harrow, who stayed back in Lexington due to an undisclosed illness. As a result, their offense stagnated, turning over the ball 12 times.
They were down by double digits through the middle of the second half, getting back in the game by turning up the defensive intensity and running the floor, where Duke had no answer for their athletes.
But the Devils were able to knock down late free throws to close out the game, giving Kentucky their first loss of the season after the Wildcats lost only two games all year in 2011-2012.