Duke left its defense and energy behind in Durham when it traveled to St. John's, falling 81-77 in Madison Square Garden to a team that had not won a game in conference play all season. The Blue Zone gives three takeaways and stats from the upset and looks forward for the Blue Devils: 

Three key takeaways

1. Young Blue Devils still inconsistent, upset-prone

Duke played like it knew that St. John's hadn't won a game in conference play—or even in 2018. The Red Storm has been awful, but has been no pushover—it has come close to beating Xavier twice and played No. 1 Villanova very tight. 

But the Blue Devils came in and seemed to look past St. John's, playing like "five individuals" as head coach Mike Krzyzewski described it. The Blue Devils' early-season defensive woes recurred against a very underpowered Red Storm offense—they didn't bring intensity until it was too late. Going forward, Duke is going to have to bring energy every single game—not just against teams like Virginia. 

2. Turnovers cause for concern 

The Blue Devils coughed it up 18 times Saturday—just one shy of their season high. Duke was reckless with the ball, as every regular but Wendell Carter Jr. had at least three turnovers, while Marvin Bagley III coughed it up a season-worst six times. 

Duke has struggled to maintain consistent possession against strong defense teams like Virginia and the Red Storm, which ranks No. 36 in the country in defensive efficiency according to basketball statistician Ken Pomeroy. Going forward, the Blue Devils will have to play safer with the ball if they want to make full use of their high-flying offense. 

3. Where is Grayson Allen?

Outside of his explosion against Michigan State in November with Bagley out of the game, Allen has been invisible on the floor when Duke has needed him at times this season. That was the case once again Saturday, save for a late 3-pointer. 

Allen finished 1-of-7 from the field and failed to reach double-digit points for the fifth time in nine games this calendar year. With Bagley as the focal point of the offense, Allen shouldn't necessarily be expected to be a consistent scoring threat, but he still needs to be a leader on the court—he was unable to will a young team to what should have been an easy victory Saturday. 

Three key stats

1. Red Storm scores 24 points off turnovers: 

Getting stops on the defensive end and converting on the offensive end is one way to down a better team, and St. John’s did just that. Forcing Duke to give away the ball 6 times more than the team’s average, and making those defensive efforts count in transition offense gave the Red Storm the edge Saturday afternoon.

2. St. John's shoots lights-out from deep

Shamorie Ponds and the Red Storm were dominant from 3-point range, shooting nearly 50 percent as a team while Ponds finished 4-of-8 from downtown. Duke was also hot from long range, but the Red Storm exploited a key vulnerability of the Blue Devil defense once again to push its way to victory. 

3. Duke’s bench only scores 4 points: 

To keep players energized and rested for late-game situations, a team needs reserves that can come in and give starters a much-needed break. This has not been the case for the Blue Devils, who had its two starting guards Allen and freshman Gary Trent Jr, play 40 minutes against the Red Storm. 

Fatigue might have played a part into why the Blue Devils could not put St. John’s away when they had the chance, and production from Duke’s backups could have helped change that. Alex O'Connell notably didn't enter the game for the first time all season. 

Looking forward:

Heading into a highly-anticipated matchup against their archrivals, North Carolina, on Thursday, it's hard to see the Blue Devils not bringing a much higher level of intensity the next time out. But Duke's inconsistency has to be troubling for Krzyzewski looking ahead to March—they could be vulnerable to an early exit if they fail to take every opponent seriously.