Ryan Kelly waited two months for the chance to help his Duke teammates reclaim the form that made them the nation's top-ranked team.
He returned with a stunning performance that shook up No. 5 Miami and left his own Hall of Fame coach struggling for the right words.
The senior scored a career-high 36 points in his return from a foot injury that sidelined him since January, helping the No. 3 Blue Devils beat the Hurricanes, 79-76, Saturday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium in a matchup of the Atlantic Coast Conference's top teams.
"I guess I was ready for it," Kelly said. "That's all I can say."
Kelly knocked down 10 of 14 shots -- including 7 of 9 3-pointers -- for the Blue Devils (25-4, 12-4), who avenged a blowout road loss in January by grinding out a tough win in Cameron Indoor Stadium. He also went 9-for-12 from the foul line and pulled down seven rebounds in 32 minutes.
It left Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski joking to reporters that he was interested to read how they would describe Kelly's big night.
"I mean, me saying 'spectacular' or whatever doesn't do his performance justice," Krzyzewski said. "One for the ages. Probably as good a performance as any player has had -- a Duke player has had -- in Cameron."
Kelly's performance was the highlight of a game that certainly lived up to the teams' lofty rankings and their status as the league's best. Miami led by seven in the first half and by two at the break, while Duke never led by more than five until the final 3 minutes.
Quinn Cook added 15 points, including a 3-pointer that gave Duke a 10-point lead with 1:55 left. But the Hurricanes (23-5, 14-2) made a frantic rally and missed two 3s in the final seconds to tie it. Shane Larkin came up short on the first over Kelly. Durand Scott ran down the rebound and fired a pass to the left corner to Rion Brown, whose final 3 clanged off the rim as the horn sounded.
Kelly's season-high was 22 points and his career-best was 23 points before Saturday. He missed 13 games in a row but had been gradually increasing his work in practice recently before going right back in the starting lineup.
Other Top 25 games
• Indiana 73, Iowa 60: Cody Zeller scored 22 points and host No. 1 Indiana (25-4, 13-3 Big Ten) got past Iowa (18-11, 7-9).
• Gonzaga 81, Portland 52: Elias Harris had 20 points and nine rebounds as No. 2 Gonzaga (29-2, 16-0 West Coast) beat visiting Portland (11-20, 4-12) to likely clinch its first No. 1 ranking in the AP Top 25.
• Florida 64, Alabama 52: Casey Prather had 10 points and nine rebounds as host No. 8 Florida (23-5, 13-3 SEC) rallied from an eight-point deficit to beat Alabama (19-10, 11-5).
• UCLA 74, Arizona 69: Shabazz Muhammad made two free throws with 9 seconds remaining, helping UCLA (22-7, 12-4 Pac-12) hang on to beat visiting No. 11 Arizona (23-6, 11-6).
• Kansas State 64, Baylor 61: Rodney McGruder hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer and No. 13 Kansas State pulled out a victory at Baylor (17-12, 8-8 Big 12) after a failed desperation inbound pass gave the Wildcats (24-5, 13-3) one more chance.
• New Mexico 53, Wyoming 42: Alex Kirk had 15 points and nine rebounds and host No. 14 New Mexico (25-4, 12-2) clinched the Mountain West Conference regular-season title with a victory against Wyoming (18-11, 4-11).
• Oklahoma State 78, Texas 65: Markel Brown scored 18 points, Le'Bryan Nash added 16 and No. 15 Oklahoma State (22-6, 12-4 Big 12) stifled the visiting Longhorns (13-16, 5-11).
• Saint Louis 66, George Washington 58: Dwayne Evans scored 22 points and No. 18 Saint Louis (23-5, 12-2 A-10) won its 11th in a row, at George Washington (12-15, 6-8).
• Memphis 76, Central Florida 67: Joe Jackson and Chris Crawford both scored 19 points as No. 19 Memphis (25-4, 14-0) won its eighth Conference USA regular-season title at Central Florida (19-10, 8-6).
• VCU 84, Butler 52: Troy Daniels scored 14 of his 20 points in the first half and VCU's pressure overwhelmed No. 20 Butler (22-7, 9-5 A-10) from the outset, leading the host Rams (23-6, 11-3) to victory.
• Louisiana Tech 88, San Jose State 61: Raheem Appleby scored 16 points and No. 25 Louisiana Tech (26-3, 16-0) extended the nation's longest winning streak to 18 games, clinching at least a share of its first Western Athletic Conference regular-season title with a win against visiting San Jose State (9-18, 3-13).
• Kansas 91, West Virginia 65: Ben McLemore scored a Kansas freshman-record 36 points as the No. 6 Jayhawks (25-4, 13-3 Big 12) beat visiting West Virginia (13-16, 6-10).
• Minnesota 74, Penn State 44: Trevor Mbakwe had 13 points and 13 rebounds and host Minnesota (20-9, 8-8 Big Ten) held Penn State (9-19, 1-15) scoreless for the first 11 minutes to cruise to a win.