Fresh off a win against N.C. State Saturday, Duke (17-6, 6-4 in the ACC) welcomes conference leader Louisville to Cameron Indoor Stadium for its first visit since joining the ACC. The Cardinals may have just shortened their season with a self-imposed postseason ban, but it did not deter them from cruising to a 79-47 defeat a day later against Boston College. Here are the keys to the game:
Clean the glass
Louisville ranks third in conference with its 40.6 rebounds per game—a little more than two-and-a-half better than Duke, on average. The Blue Devils were outrebounded 38-29 in their win against the Wolfpack and gave up 13 offensive rebound to their opponent, a mistake that could prove fatal Monday night. Duke’s Marshall Plumlee—averaging 8.3 boards per game—will have his hands full against big man Chinanu Onuako, who edges out Plumlee averaging 8.8 rebounds per contest and is a physical presence down low.
If the Blue Devils can avoid handing their opponent second-chance points on offense, they will have a better chance closing in on Louisville’s 9.9 average rebounding margin in games this season. The Cardinals’ 48.3 percent shooting from the field puts them at third in the conference, meaning Duke will need to limit any chances at scoring as often as it can. Read more »
Winners of two straight, the Blue Devils begin the toughest stretch of their regular season Monday night against Louisville. The Cardinals have won six of their last seven—including an upset last Monday against then-No. 2 North Carolina—but the program announced Thursday it was imposing a ban on postseason play amid an alleged recruiting scandal. Before each game, the Chronicle takes a look at one player from each team who could be the difference maker in Duke’s upcoming contest.
Duke: guard Derryck Thornton
The Chatsworth, Calif., native returned to the starting lineup against Georgia Tech Tuesday night and stepped up in a big way. The point guard hit 7-of-11 field goals for 15 points—the freshman's highest total in conference play. Saturday against N.C. State Thornton shot efficiently and played strong defense against Anthony "Cat" Barber—the conference's leading scorer—during the game's first 15 minutes.
When Thornton drives, the guard is capable of penetrating opposing defenses with his slick crossover and smooth handle. Thornton needs to continue to attack the basket rather than stay on the perimeter, which will allow the team to space its sharpshooters much better. Read more »
It was a tumultuous week for Duke, which held a five-point fourth quarter lead Monday night against No. 3 Notre Dame before going scoreless for a span a 6:29 and giving up 13 straight points in the 68-61 loss. To make matters worse, star forward Azurá Stevens tore her plantar fascia early in the contest and had to miss Thursday night’s game against Virginia, but Rebecca Greenwell and Angela Salvadores stepped up to lead the Blue Devils to a 67-52 win. But the duo could not help Duke on the road against No. 16 Miami and the Blue Devils fell 61-53.
The rest of the week was lacking in any major upsets, but the stage is set for a big week in the women’s basketball world. No. 2 South Carolina staved off tough tests from No. 10 Texas A&M and No. 18 Kentucky to remain unbeaten, but they host No. 1 Connecticut Monday night in the biggest game of the regular season. The Huskies crushed Tulane and East Carolina to extend their win streak to 59 games, but Monday’s showdown on the road may be their toughest test of the whole streak. Elsewhere in the SEC, No. 22 Florida upset the Aggies to hand them their second straight loss, but if Texas A&M can rebound to beat No. 23 Tennessee at home Sunday afternoon, the Lady Vols could be in danger of dropping out of the AP Top 25 for the first time since 1985.
Syracuse took down the Hurricanes 57-51 Monday in the biggest surprise of the week in ACC play, outscoring Miami 19-12 in the fourth quarter to pull away down the stretch. The Fighting Irish trounced N.C. State after their hard-fought win against the Blue Devils, and No. 13 Louisville extended its win streak to 15 games with convincing victories against Wake Forest and North Carolina. But the Cardinals roll came to an end Sunday when they were defeated by Notre Dame 66-61 in a battle for the top spot in the conference standings.
In the Pac-12, No. 9 Oregon State held No. 8 Arizona State to 15 points in the second half to pull away from the Sun Devils in a 67-44 win and then beat No. 24 Washington on the road Friday night to finish off a strong week, but Arizona State bounced back Friday at home to hold off No. 14 UCLA and remain tied with the Beavers atop the conference standings. Read more »
The Blue Devils protected their home court for the first time in their last three attempts with an 88-80 win against N.C. State Saturday afternoon. Duke led for much of the way, held Anthony "Cat" Barber somewhat in check and relied on Grayson Allen and Luke Kennard to get the win:
Revisiting Three Keys to the Game
Win the rebounding battle: The Blue Devils struggled against the bigger Wolfpack team on the boards, but it certainly could have been worse. On one hand, N.C. State outrebounded Duke 38-29 overall and 13-6 on the offensive end. Forward Abdul-Malik Abu was especially destructive, gathering a game-high 17 rebounds and eight offensive boards. Still, the Wolfpack recycled those second-chance opportunities into just 10 points and failed to capitalize on their extra possessions. Duke managed 23 defensive rebounds to N.C. State's 25 and collected five offensive boards in the second half.
Strong defense: Credit must go to Derryck Thornton, who stabilized Cat Barber in the first half with aggressive defense. The ACC's leading scorer needed more than 14 minutes to get on the scoreboard, though when he did, he refused to be contained. The Duke defense overall was not great, as the Wolfpack canned seven of their 14 triples and scored 38 points in paint. But it was enough to put the hot-shooting Blue Devil offense in a position to win, which is exactly what happened.
Limit turnovers: The immediate reaction from this game would be that turnovers cost Duke dearly. With the Blue Devils leading by nine a minute into the second half, N.C. State scored four straight points, and then Thornton coughed up the ball twice facing a press defense. Both times, Cody Martin finished, with the latter basket pulling the road team within one. That being said, the Blue Devils turned the ball over just nine times overall, which was two less than N.C. State and one less than Duke's season average.
Three Key Plays
10:12 remaining, first half: Allen drives to the hoop and comes down hard in pain, grabbing his right ankle. He stayed down for a few moments and went to the locker room, reflecting the delicacy of his reckless-abandon style of play. But Allen would return and finished with 20 points during the rest of the game to pace the Blue Devils.
6:07 remaining, first half: With Duke up five, Luke Kennard first hit a three to rile up the crowd. Barber responded for his first points with a triple of his own, but on the following possession, Kennard hit another 3-pointer, foreshadowing the four he would sink later in the game. Following a miss by Barber, the Blue Devils pushed in transition for a punishing, one-handed dunk for Allen that brought the house down and gave Duke a 10-point advantage.
16:10 remaining, second half: Just when N.C. State had its first lead in over 20 minutes, Kennard sinks a 3-pointer to take the advantage right back. Kennard then hit two triples over the next three possessions and scored off his own miss to key a decisive 15-4 run.
After missing Tuesday's win at Georgia Tech due to health concerns, all was back to normal Saturday for Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Krzyzewski felt ill after Duke's team meal Monday and did not travel with the team to Atlanta, instead watching the game from Duke University Hospital. Tuesday's contest was the first game since 1995 for which Krzyzewski was absent from the sidelines, but the physical distance didn't stop him from watching the game with his normal passion and fervor.
“I was on the seventh floor of the hospital, watching the game, so now I’m yelling and the nurses come in," Krzyzewski said after Saturday's 88-80 win against N.C. State. "I’m okay, but I was under the heart section because a lot of the stuff I was doing was in that. People were wondering when I yelled 'Marshall!' and 'Derryck, no...'"
Without Krzyzewski, associate head coach Jeff Capel took the reins against the Yellow Jackets, and Krzyzewski heaped praise upon Capel and the rest of his staff for how they handled the situtation. The 68-year-old head coach—who indicated he didn't anticipate any lingering health effects the rest of the season—was released from the hospital Wednesday morning and went back to working with the team that afternoon in good spirits. Read more »
The Chronicle's Brian Pollack and Jacob Weiss break down Duke's 88-80 victory against N.C. State Saturday at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The backcourt tandem of Luke Kennard and Grayson Allen combined to score 54 points and drain 10 3-pointers to lead the Blue Devils to their second straight win.
Duke head coach David Cutcliffe said Wednesday after inking a 21-player recruiting class that he'd already turned his attention to 2017.
He wasn't kidding.
Just a few days after closing the book on their Class of 2016—likely the best recruiting class in program history—the Blue Devils received their first commitment for the Class of 2017 from wide receiver Damond Johnson.
head coach Mike Krzyzewski back on the sidelines, the Blue Devils jumped out to a large lead, and are back on top in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
After the first half of play Saturday, Duke is up 41-35 on the Wolfpack, and the team shot 54 percent compared to N.C. State’s 41 percent mark. If the Blue Devils can hold on in the second half, they will have their first back–to-back victories since beating Wake Forest and Virginia Tech in early January.
N.C. State won the tip-off and converted a jumper on the first-possession to take
the lead against Duke, but the Blue Devils responded with 3-pointers from
Grayson Allen and Brandon Ingram—who combined for 19 points in the half. Poor shooting by the Wolfpack made it
difficult for them to capitalize on its offensive opportunities, and Duke pulled ahead with an 11-4 lead after six minutes.
Wolfpack’s shooting efficiency improved as the half went on, but the Blue
Devils were still lights-out from inside and behind the arc. In the first ten
minutes of play, Allen had two 3-pointers, Ingram had one and Duke shot 7-of-14 from 3-point range in total. Read more »
After going 2-1 on a three-game road swing, the Blue Devils return home Saturday to take on N.C. State. Duke defeated the Wolfpack 88-78 two weeks ago and will look to replicate its success on the offensive end to come away with the win. Here are three keys to the game:
Win the rebounding battle
Three players in the N.C. State starting five—Anthony ‘Cat’ Barber and Cody and Caleb Martin—are capable of creating instant offense. The best way to limit the N.C. State's offensive firepower is to limit second-chance points by cleaning up the defensive glass. Duke will need center Marshall Plumlee and forward Brandon Ingram to step into the paint and dial up their efforts to come away with rebounds. With Amile Jefferson still leading the team in rebounds per game despite a lengthy absence, the rest of the frontcourt must help shoulder the load against the girth of BeeJay Anya and Abdul-Malik Abu in the paint.