LAHAINA, Hawaii — If Monday’s matchup against Joe Jackson and Will Barton was the midterm for the Michigan basketball team’s backcourt, then Tuesday’s meeting with Seth Curry and Austin Rivers was the final exam.

Freshman Trey Burke and sophomore Tim Hardaway Jr. aced the test against their fellow guards from Memphis, but the Duke duo proved too much for the Wolverines in the Blue Devils’ 82-75 win.

Rivers and Curry certainly had the pedigree advantage coming in. Rivers — the son of Doc, the Boston Celtics coach — is one of the top freshman in the nation, ranked the No. 1 overall recruit for the class of 2011 by

And Curry — the brother of Stephen, the star guard for Golden State, formerly of Davidson College — entered Tuesday averaging 16 points per game as his team’s leading scorer.

By the end of their Maui Invitational win, the pair of Blue Devils had proven their dominance. Curry and Rivers combined for 37 points on 12-of-21 shooting, including a 5-for-8 performance from 3-point range.

“They’re both natural scorers,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “They’re not (point guards), but they’re very gifted. And if they learn how to use their gifts together, then we’re going to be better.

“And we saw that a little bit more today.”

Hardaway Jr. and Burke came up just short in trying to match their counterparts. They combined for 36 points while shooting 14-for-31 from field — good numbers, but not quite as good as the Duke duo.

The Wolverine backcourt struggled just a bit more than the Blue Devil backcourt. And in a game that came down to the final few possessions, that was one reason Duke prevailed. It was especially big given Michigan’s opponent’s performance from deep — the Blue Devils shot 52.4 percent from distance for the game, leaving little margin for error.

Hardaway Jr., especially, had difficulty getting into an offensive rhythm. Early on, the Miami, Fla. native couldn’t get any open looks. When he did shoot the ball, he missed every time, going 0-for-6 from the field in the first half. Michigan coach John Beilein credited Krzyzewski’s game plan in stifling his sophomore.

“They completely shut down Tim,” Beilein said. “They wouldn’t let him get the ball. They played four on four on one side. We tried to draw some things up in the huddle, (but) until we got to halftime we couldn’t make an adjustment on that the way we wanted to.”

Burke, meanwhile, fared better, leading the Wolverines in scoring in the first half with eight points. But he took it up a notch in the second.

The Blue Devils were determined to cut off all back screens and other off-the-ball action. Michigan was forced to play a two-man game, where Burke typically just worked off a ball screen given by a teammate at the top of the key. Beilein said he was happy with the way Burke dealt with Duke “locking the rails” on the offense.

Though Burke improved in the second half, and Hardaway Jr. exploded to shoot 6-for-8 and scored all of his 19 points after the break, the Blue Devils had an answer every time.

If Hardaway Jr. knocked down a jumper, then Curry would answer with a 3-pointer on the other end. If Burke drove the lane for a nifty layup, Rivers would do the same the very next possession.

For most of the action out of the break, each team’s backcourt dominated the scoring. The teams’ four guards combined to account for 65 percent of the scoring, notching baskets one after the other on many occasions. The problem for the Wolverines was that the Blue Devils scored more in that stretch, 18 points to 12.

That run was punctuated by a play that illustrated just how deadly the Duke pair was. Against man defense, Rivers quickly drove into the lane, causing Curry’s man to collapse into the paint to help. Rivers then easily dished to the open Curry, who nailed a 3-pointer. The shot put Duke up 63-48 with just over eight minutes left, and though it didn’t ice the game, it made it near impossible for Michigan to come back.

“Basically, we were just trying to be aggressive,” Rivers said. “Our teammates did a great job of finding us … from there we tried to push it and run offense.”

With another game left in Maui, Beilein just hopes that Burke and Hardaway Jr. can apply the lessons from the loss going forward.

“(Duke) answered, didn’t they?” Beilein said. “What happens is Rivers was so good with the ball, just creating … (having) good patience. They made some tough shots, and then they created some opportunities for (open) threes, which were a killer.”

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