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Duke vs. Miami final score: 3 things we learned from the Blue Devils' second straight loss

After starting the season with 14 straight convincing victories, Duke has suddenly lost back-to-back games by double digits. Is it time to panic in Krzyzewskiville?

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

The common thought after the first two months of the 2014-15 college basketball season was that Kentucky was the best team in the country, and that Duke was the only squad with a legitimate chance of stopping them.

It made sense. The Blue Devils were loaded with NBA talent and had rolled through their first 14 opponents, a stretch that included arguably the season's most impressive victory, an 80-70 win over Wisconsin inside the Kohl Center.

Now, suddenly, that line of thinking has evaporated.

Miami became the second straight team to take down Duke Tuesday night, dismantling the Blue Devils inside Cameron Indoor Stadium, 90-74. The Hurricanes shot a blistering 51.8 percent from the floor, including 10-of-20 from behind the 3-point line. Four Hurricanes scored in double figures, led by Angel Rodriguez's 24 points and Manu Lecomte's 23. The torrid shooting allowed the Canes to run away with the game despite being outrebounded 41-31.

Here are three things we learned from this surprising result in Durham:

1. Angel Rodriguez loves the big stage

Rodriguez, who is in his first year at Miami after transferring from Kansas State, spoke before the game about his eagerness to show what he can do in his first appearance at Cameron Indoor. He didn't disappoint, burying four 3-pointers on his way to a game-high 24 points, while also chipping in five assists and five steals.

After a slow start to begin the game, Rodriguez exploded for 8 points in a span of 38 seconds to help the Hurricanes turn a six-point deficit into a two-point lead.

Rodriguez has emerged as not only Jim Larranaga's most talented player, but his undisputed leader and most clutch performer. He scored 24 points in the Miami's November victory over then-No. 8 Florida, and dropped 25 in a double overtime loss to still undefeated Virginia. He's the single biggest reason why Miami appears on its way back to the NCAA Tournament after a one-year hiatus.

2. Some of the defensive woes that doomed Duke last season are still around

There were hoards of awful jokes about Duke not deserving the "D" at the beginning of their name last season, as the Blue Devils commonly allowed opponents to drop some massive numbers on them. It was a trend that ultimately led to their undoing, as they ran into a Mercer team that could shoot the lights (especially when left wide open) out in the NCAA Tournament's Round of 64.

That was supposed to be different this season with the combination of tough, veteran guards and an elite rim defender in Jahlil Okafor. Clearly, there are still some issues.

Plenty of people will say that NC State and Miami both shooting the lights out is more of an anomaly than a trend for the Cameron Crazies to freak out over, but it's impossible to look at the tapes of either game and claim that Duke's defense (or lack thereof) had nothing to do with their opponents posting huge numbers.

Put bluntly, Duke did nothing to stop Miami on Tuesday night. Their guards couldn't stay in front of Rodriguez, their big men couldn't hedge properly when trying to defend the pick-and-roll, and their wings helped out in situations where they had no business doing so, leaving open man after open man on the perimeter. It was the type of defensive performance that will get them beaten for a third-straight game if they bring it with them to Louisville on Saturday.

3. The nation's longest homecourt winning streak is dead

The Blue Devils had won 41 straight games at Cameron Indoor, the nation's longest home winning streak, and the third-longest in both program and ACC history. Before Tuesday, Duke hadn't been beaten at home since North Carolina did the trick on March 3, 2012. This also marked the first time that Duke has lost back-to-back regular season games since 2009.

The new owner of the homecourt winning streak record? Gonzaga, which has won 34 straight at the McCarthey Athletic Center.