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 — using a pump fake to get by the freshman guard — that essentially clinched the win.
The Blue Devils are expecting nothing less out their leaders.
"That's what we worked on during the preseason — taking control of the team, having it be our team," Curry said. "I had it going, so they came to me."
Alex Poythress led Kentucky with 20 points, while Nerlens Noel and Goodwin added 16 apiece. All are freshmen, showing this team has plenty of room to grow before tournament time.