Blue Zone


Key three: Duke needs to stay out of foul trouble



Duke is riding high after taking down No. 2 Michigan State 88-81 Tuesday in the Champions Classic. They will return to Cameron Indoor Stadium and face Southern on Friday. Here are the three keys to the game: 

Don't rush Bagley

After Marvin Bagley III suffered an injury scare when Javin DeLaurier inadvertently poked him in the eye Tuesday against Michigan State, his status going forward is uncertain—although the indications are that it isn’t a serious injury. Nevertheless, Duke has no real need to rush their star forward into action. The Blue Devils need him 100 percent healthy by the time conference play rolls around, so there is no need for him to play against Southern on Friday if he isn’t fully ready. 

Stay out of foul trouble

Although Duke managed to grit out a win against the Spartans, several of its top players were dangerously close to fouling out. With Bagley out, Wendell Carter Jr., DeLaurier and Gary Trent Jr. both played much of the second half with four fouls. Although Bagley’s return would certainly help with this, the Blue Devils will have to play much cleaner basketball going forward if they want to win the ACC regular season crown. 

Keep owning the glass

Duke was historically good on the offensive glass Tuesday, grabbing 25 offensive rebounds for the first time since a 2014 win against Florida State. Against a physical Michigan State team, the Blue Devils outrebounded the Spartans 46-34 overall, including a 25-11 mark on offensive rebounds. 

Southern has a lot of uncertainty at guard, but has a star forward in Jared Sam, who 13.6 points and 7.4 rebounds per game last year. Duke will have to keep the 6-foot-10 senior in check on the glass in preparation for the meat of the schedule going forward. 



Duke basketball to don its Blue Devil best for Thanksgiving tournament



With Duke's return to its clean, classic blue and white uniforms this season, there has been plenty of excitement surrounding the Blue Devils' latest aesthetic.

But for next week, black is back—or at least, sort of.

When Duke plays its three games at the PK80 next week in Portland, Ore., the Blue Devils will wear special uniforms that were released by Nike Thursday morning. Duke, along with all the other 15 teams participating in the event, will don a design that features its classic color but also adds in black elements to honor Nike founder Phil Knight's signature look with all black clothing and sunglasses.


The Blue Devils' get-up appears similar to the more modern blue jersey they have worn in years past. The top will be Duke's famous Pantone 287 with white lettering, but all of the outlines will be in black. Down the Blue Devils' blue shorts will be black arrows leading to the standard stylized Iron Duke logo. 

All 16 uniforms are designed similarly, with the teams' signature colors augmented by black accents. Nike has also designed mono-black shoes for the event, featuring "iridescent highlights in an ode to [Knight's] shining shades."

What do you think of these new unis?



Duke in the NBA: Jayson Tatum and Kyrie Irving starring for Boston



A month into the 2017-18 NBA season, the Blue Zone takes a look at which former Blue Devils are making an impact in the league.

Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics: Tatum was thrust into Boston’s permanent starting lineup on opening night after All-Star forward Gordon Hayward suffered a potentially season-ending injury. He has since exceeded all expectations, playing like an seasoned NBA veteran on both ends of the court. 

Tatum is currently averaging 14.0 points per game while shooting 50.0 percent from the field and 48.9 percent from 3-point range. He scored 19 points Tuesday night against the Nets, highlighted by a thunderous dunk off a Jaylen Brown alley-oop pass that put an exclamation point on Boston’s 13th straight win. The teenage small forward also ranks fifth in the NBA in defensive win shares, and he has been a key contributor to the Celtics first-ranked defense.

Kyrie Irving, Boston Celtics: Irving was ridiculed in the offseason when he decided to part ways with four-time NBA MVP LeBron James in order to try to lead a team to a title on his own. So far, he has proved his doubters wrong by propelling the Celtics to their longest winning streak since the 2008-09 season. 

Irving has been a reliable facilitator and crunch-time scorer throughout their winning streak. The 25-year old point guard has also greatly elevated his game on the defensive end and is one of five Celtics to place in the top 10 in defensive win shares. Though his 20.6 points per game and 32.6 3-point percentage are down from last year, his play appears to be trending upward in recent weeks, highlighted by his November 6 performance against the Atlanta Hawks in which he scored a season-high 35 points on 14-of-22 shooting.

Irving’s season encountered a minor hiccup Friday night when he suffered a facial fracture, but a masked Kyrie returned to action Tuesday night against the Nets after missing just one game and scored 25 points. Irving has now scored 79 points in his last three games, excluding the game he exited due to injury after just two minutes.

The surging Celtics possess the best record in the NBA, having won 13 games in a row following an 0-2 start, with much of the credit due to the contributions of Kyrie Irving and Jayson Tatum. They will face their toughest challenge yet Thursday night when they host the Golden State Warriors, winners of their last seven.

Luke Kennard, Detroit Pistons: Detroit has been one of the biggest surprises in the NBA this season. Winners of five in a row and eight of their last 10, the 10-3 Pistons are currently in sole possession of second place in the Eastern Conference. Kennard has seen limited playing time in a strong Detroit backcourt bolstered by the offseason addition of Avery Bradley, having played in just eight games this season.

But the 21-year-old shooting guard had a breakout game Sunday evening against the Heat, scoring 14 points on 6-11 shooting with two 3-pointers. This was his only double-digit performance since scoring 11 against the Wizards in his first appearance of the season. 

Austin Rivers, Los Angeles Clippers: Rivers’ Clippers have lost six games in a row after starting the season 5-2, but he is averaging a new career high of 13.3 points per game, up from 12.0 last season. The Duke product has shot the ball well recently, scoring 24 with four 3-pointers last Tuesday against the Spurs and knocking down another five threes Saturday night against the Pelicans.

Brandon Ingram, Los Angeles Lakers: Critics last year were quick to label Brandon Ingram a bust. Though his rookie numbers were lackluster for a second overall pick, through 14 games this season Ingram has improved his game in almost every aspect.

The forward is now averaging a respectable 13.9 points per game and was a key player in the Lakers’ valiant comeback effort against the Boston Celtics last Wednesday, a game in which he scored 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting. 

Justise Winslow, Miami Heat: Justise Winslow has struggled this season, averaging just 6.5 points per game and failing to score double digits in 10 of Miami’s 13 games. Winslow was forced to miss most of last season with a torn labrum, so it appears that the Heat are still figuring out how to properly reintegrate him into their offense.

Jahlil Okafor, Philadelphia 76ers: Former No. 3 overall pick Jahlil Okafor’s career has run into a bit of a roadblock. The 6-foot-11 Duke star has appeared in just two games for the Sixers and has made it clear that he wants out. Philadelphia is actively shopping Okafor but has been unable to find a trading partner thus far.

J.J. Redick, Philadelphia 76ers: Redick has provided a much-needed veteran presence on a young Philadelphia squad and is a major reason that the 76ers may have a chance to make the playoffs for the first time since 2011-12. 

Duke’s all-time leading scorer has been doing what he does best: knocking down 3-pointers. Redick hit seven 3-pointers Saturday against Golden State and six in the previous game against the Kings. Earlier this month, he played his best game of the season, leading the Sixers over the Pacers with a scorching 31 points on 8-of-12 shooting from deep. His shooting percentages have dipped slightly since last season, but his 15.1 points per game are actually a minor increase.



Beyond the arc: Takeaways from Duke's win against No.2 Michigan State



3 Key Takeaways

1.) No Freshmen, No Problem

One of the biggest headlines entering the game was how Duke’s four starting freshmen would handle the big stage early in their college basketball careers. Although they by no means failed to live up to the test, Grayson Allen proved that he should not be forgotten about. With both Gary Trent and Trevon Duval struggling to shoot – combining to go 10-for-34 from the field – and Wendell Carter in foul trouble, Allen exploded for 37 points to lead the Blue Devils to victory down the stretch and remind the world why he should be in the conversation for National Player of the Year.

2.) Deep Bench

As is the question almost every year, how deep would head coach Mike Krzyzewski go into the bench. Typically, in primetime games such as tonight, the rotation goes only about seven deep. However, with Marvin Bagley going down, both Javin DeLaurier and Carter fighting foul trouble, and Marques Bolden still slowly recovering from strep throat, the coaching staff went 10-deep. Jordan Goldwire registered a solid 11 minutes, scoring four points while Antonio Vrankovic provided some energy off the bench for a quick relief stint that saw him score three points. Although the decision to go deep was obviously situational, it is nice to see that Duke has players who can step up when their number is called.

3.) Bagley’s Injury

Arguably the biggest takeaway from the game will be Bagley’s health and the response to the injury. When Bagley was on the floor, there was no question that the Blue Devils were a different team.  They had just gone on an 11-0 run to take a seven-point lead and the six-foot-11 freshman was dominating the glass, grabbing five offensive rebounds in just 10 minutes. However, when he went down after being inadvertently poked in the right eye by teammate DeLaurier, the Spartans went on an extended 22-11 run to take a 34-30 lead. For Duke fans everywhere, hopefully the injury is not long-term as Bagley is truly a once-in-a-generation talent who can take this team far.

3 Key Stats

1.) 37 Points

Without a doubt, the headline tomorrow will be Allen’s phenomenal performance. With the lights on him, the senior connected on 63.4 percent of his attempts downtown, 55 percent overall, and was perfect from the charity stripe. With the game tied at 75, Allen hit Trent who knocked his only three of the game, before canning two of his own triples to give the Blue Devils an 84-77 lead with just 72 seconds to play. His 37 points set a new career high and he now averages over 25 on the season.

2.) 17 Turnovers

After Marvin Bagley went down, Duke transitioned from playing a man-defense to primarily a 2-3 zone. Zone defenses are notoriously hard to execute at the college level, especially with so many freshmen, yet the Blue Devils did find some success. Led by six steals by Trevon Duval – who also recorded his second straight double-double with 17 points and 10 assists – Duke forced 17 Michigan State turnovers. Although there were some stretches where the Spartans found open threes or Miles Bridges brilliantly shot over the guards, the scheme most importantly kept Bridges out of the lane and limited him to perimeter looks.

3.) 46 Rebounds

Looking at team shooting-percentages purely, the Blue Devils should not have won the game, shooting 39.5 percent from the field compared to 50.8 percent for the Spartans and only marginally shooting better from deep. However, Duke used its dominating size in the post to pull down 25 offensive rebounds, leading to second-chance opportunities and as a result 15 more shots. As a whole, the Blue Devils outrebounded Michigan State by a 46 to 34 margin. This imposing frontcourt should continue to produce similar results as the season continues.

3 Key Plays

1.) Marvin Bagley Goes Down

With about 10 minutes left in the first half, Bagley and DeLaurier both went up for a defensive board. As the latter came down to the floor, his fingers swiped across Bagley’s right eye and the freshman went down immediately. After being attended to by the medical staff, where he mouthed, “I can’t see,” he was led to locker room. The forward returned to floor in the second half but did not play, and was visibly irritated by his eye that was bloodshot red.

2.) Allen to Trent for a Go-Ahead Triple

With just over three minutes to play, the game was all locked up at 75. Following an Allen miss from deep, DeLaurier scooped up the offensive board and sent it back to the senior. With the Spartans collapsing on him in fear of another Grayson triple, Allen swung the ball to an open Trent who sunk the go-ahead three. The make was a huge moment for the freshman, who had gone 0-for-6 from deep and 2-for-13 from the field up until that point.

3.) Allen puts the Game Away

Among the plethora of Allen highlights from the night – such as his NBA-range shot to end the half – the most important ones were the back-to-back threes to put the game out of reach. Throughout the contest, Allen kept Duke competitive as his teammates struggled to make baskets. With 2:28 left, following offensive boards from DeLaurier and Trent, Allen connected over Bridges on the left wing to give the Blue Devils a six-point lead. After a Jaren Jackson jumper that cut the deficit to four, Allen responded with another three at the key with two seconds left in the shot clock to put the nail in the coffin.

Looking Forward

This team truly has the pieces to be something special.  Despite battling injuries, foul trouble, and poor shooting, the Blue Devils were able to defeat the No.2 team in the country. Assuming the Bagley injury is not severe and Duke improves on its subpar free throw percentage, all the tools are there for a deep run and tonight showed the toughness and adaptability of the team. With a point guard who now boasts a 7.5 assist-to-turnover ratio to go along with four steals per game, a shooter in Allen who is now 65.4 percent from deep, and bigs that have been cleaning up on both ends of the floor, the season will be exciting to watch.



Duke in the NFL: Week 10



Jamison Crowder, WR, Washington Redskins

After sitting out last week’s game due to a hamstring injury, Crowder posted an impressive performance on Sunday against Minnesota. Crowder had 76 yards on four receptions, averaging 19 yards per reception. 36 of his yards came in the third quarter when Kirk Cousins lofted a ball to Crowder who was eventually forced out of bounds at the five yard line. Crowder and Washington eventually fell to the Vikings 38-30.

Ross Cockrell, CB, New York Giants

A week after playing much of the game defensively for the Giants, Cockrell did not start Sunday against San Francisco. After being “suspended indefinitely,” Janoris Jenkins was back on the field against the 49ers, replacing Cockrell. The Giants displayed an embarrassing performance, losing to the previously-winless 49ers 31-21. 

Vincent Rey, LB, Cincinnati Bengals 

Rey bounced back after last week’s performance with six tackles Sunday against Tennessee. Rey and the Bengals defense, however, had trouble stopping Marcus Mariota and the Titans’ offense, allowing Mariota to throw for 264 yards and rush for 51 more. The Titans won the game 24-20. 

Laken Tomlinson, G, San Francisco 49ers 

Tomlinson and the 49ers won their first game on Sunday, posting 31 points against the Giants. Behind Tomlinson and the line, CJ Beathard threw for 288 yard and two touchdowns and Carlos Hyde Rushed for 98 yards. Tomlinson and the 49ers look to win their second game of the season against Seattle.  



HALFTIME: Duke 38, Michigan State 34



CHICAGO—After playing just two games of college basketball, Duke’s highly-touted freshmen overcame early jitters at the Champions Classic against No. 2 Michigan State at the United Center until Marvin Bagley III’s injury stalled the Blue Devils.

No. 1 Duke leads the Spartans 38-34 through 20 minutes after leading by as many as 10 points. Grayson Allen led the way with 14 first-half points and made a deep triple at the buzzer to give the Blue Devils a two-possession cushion. Bagley dominated the glass with six rebounds before he left for the locker room midway through the first half when Javin DeLaurier inadvertently poked him in the eye, forcing him to exit the game. His status for the rest of the game is uncertain. 

Duke started out discombobulated, making just two of its first 15 shots and getting owned by the Spartans in transition at the United Center. Michigan State scored 10 of its first 12 points in the paint, but the Blue Devils hung around by taking an early 15-2 edge on the offensive glass and getting to the free throw line, making six of their first seven attempts, though they went cold and are now just 11-of-18. 

Once Duke found its shot, it surged ahead of the Spartans with an 13-0 run to take a 21-12 lead midway through the half—a scoring drought of nearly six minutes for Michigan State. 

After Bagley retreated to the locker room, Michigan State forced Duke into a nearly five-minute scoring drought that brought it back, when the Spartans went on an 11-0 run in 1:44 to regain the lead. 

The Blue Devils used a 2-3 zone to largely shut down preseason national player of the year favorite Miles Bridges, who scored just three points. Trevon Duval has struggled mightily from the field for Duke, hitting just 2-of-9 field goal attempts, and Gary Trent Jr. is just 2-of-10. Michigan State has repeatedly turned the Blue Devils away in the paint with eight blocks.

Here are a few observations from the first half:

  • Even before Bagley's injury, head coach Mike Krzyzewski has used a deep rotation, with 10 players seeing time—DeLaurier, Jordan Goldwire, Antonio Vrankovic, Marques Bolden and Alex O'Connell have all come off the bench. 
  • The Blue Devils have been unable to do anything to stop freshman forward Jaren Jackson Jr., who has 10 points and five rebounds. 
  • Goldwire scored his first points at Duke with a 3-pointer with 10:58 left in the first half. 
  • DeLaurier picked up his third foul late in the half, which could prove critical if Bagley cannot return.


Former Duke fencer makes history as model for Barbie in hijab



Duke has five men's basketball national championships, a Lego mural in ESPN’s studios and now a Barbie modeled after one of its former athletes. 

Mattel announced its first hijab-donning Barbie Monday, modeled after Ibtihaj Muhammad, a former Duke fencer and the first American to earn an Olympic medal while wearing a hijab.

The toy, which will hit stores in 2018, was unveiled at Glamour's Women of the Year summit. 


Many other female athletes have had dolls modeled after them as a part of Barbie's Shero collection, including ballerina Misty Copeland and gymnast Gabby Douglas. 

Muhammad competed for the Blue Devils from 2004-2007, earning All-American honors three times as a saber. She didn't waste much time once she got to Durham, finishing 49-8 in her freshman year en route to earning her first All-American honors. 

Years after graduating in 2007, Muhammad qualified for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics, but fell in the second round of the individual sabre competition. However, she made history in the team competition. 

Along with three other Americans, Muhammad captured a bronze medal in the team competition by downing Italy 45-30—making Muhammad the first female Muslim-American to earn a medal for the United States. 



Key three: Can Duke do enough on the glass to beat Michigan State?



 After winning comfortably against overwhelmed opponents in their first two games, the top-ranked Blue Devils will face their first test of the season in a marquee matchup in Chicago against No. 2 Michigan State. Here are the three keys to the game for Duke: 

Keep Bridges out of transition

Spartans’ star sophomore Miles Bridges is one of the top players in the nation, and may very well be the best on the fast break. An explosive dunker, the 6-foot-7 wing player is nearly impossible to guard once he gets a head of steam, and though he is not pushover a shooting the ball—Bridges rattled in nearly 39 percent of his 3-pointers last season—it is best for the Blue Devils to force Bridges to make plays in the half-court set. 

Clean up the glass

With Bridges alongside forwards Nick Ward and Jaren Jackson Jr., the Spartans have a lot of muscle to compete with down low. Although it has succeeded against far smaller teams, Duke will have to again rebound well, especially with Michigan St.’s offensive firepower. Duke forwards Marvin Bagley III and Wendell Carter Jr. cannot afford to get into foul trouble, and will be compromised if the Spartans get several second chance opportunities in vulnerable spots, forcing the Blue Devils' freshmen starters to the bench. 

Hit 3-pointers early

Duke does not have many knockdown 3-point shooters, especially among what seems to be their rotation at this point in the season. However, they still have some players—Grayson Allen and Gary Trent Jr.—who have shot the ball exceptionally well from distance to start the season. To allow point guard Trevon Duval, Bagley and Carter to operate at their respective peaks, Allen and Trent will have to spread the offense up to start the game. If they can give especially Duval, who has 20 assists to just one turnover so far, and Bagley enough space to carve up Michigan St.’s defense, the Blue Devils will have their way offensively.



The Devil's in the Details: Going inside Duke's matchup against No. 2 Michigan State



They say the devil is in the details. But in Durham, the Blue Devils are in the details—and numbers.

Each week, the Blue Zone will dissect five key stats from last week's action in Duke sports, whether they be historic or underwhelming. This week, let the numbers take you inside a huge matchup for men's basketball against No. 2 Michigan State and another early NCAA tournament exit for field hockey. 

6

The Blue Devils enter Tuesday night’s matchup against Michigan State in Chicago with six consecutive victories against the Spartans and an 11-1 record during the Krzyzewski era. Duke defeated Michigan State 78-69 at home last season, but the stakes will be much different this time around, as the Blue Devils and the Spartans come into the matchup as the top two teams in the nation. 

Find out the full story—Duke men's basketball set for Champions Classic showdown with No. 2 Spartans

1

Freshman Marvin Bagley III became the first player in program history to earn a double-double in his first career game Friday against Elon with a 24-point, 10-rebound performance. Bagley followed up his stellar debut with another double-double Saturday against Utah Valley, this time a 25-point, 10-rebound effort. Despite the early success, Bagley has struggled from the free throw line, converting on a mere 22 percent of his attempts from the charity stripe.

Find out the full story—Marvin Bagley III stars in unprecedented debut for Duke men's basketball

35 

Quarterback Daniel Jones’ four-yard touchdown run with 3:53 remaining in the second quarter against Army was the Blue Devils’ first first-half touchdown in 35 days. Duke last punched the ball in the end zone in the first 30 minutes during their 28-21 loss at Virginia on Oct. 7th. The Blue Devils ended up losing Saturday’s contest 21-16 for their sixth consecutive defeat after starting the season 4-0. 

Find out the full story—Second-half rally comes up short in Duke football's sixth straight loss

5

All five starters for No. 12 Duke women’s basketball—Rebecca Greenwell, Lexie Brown, Leaonna Odom, Mikayla Boykin and Erin Mathias—reached double-digits in scoring for the first time since 2015 in Sunday’s win against Grand Canyon in Phoenix. Even as heavy favorites against the Antelopes, it certainly wasn't easy for the Blue Devils, but they pulled out a 74-61 win. 

Find out the full story—Duke women's basketball challenged at Grand Canyon, but wins season opener

9

The Blue Devils’ field hockey title hopes were thwarted by ninth-seeded Maryland Sunday, which overcame a 2-1 deficit in the game’s final five minutes to earn a 3-2 victory and advance to the tournament’s second weekend. Despite being ranked the top-five for the entirety of the last two seasons, Duke will have no hardware to show for it after failing to win either the ACC or advance to the final four of the NCAA Tournament in back-to-back years.

Find out the full story—Déjà vu: Duke field hockey lets late lead slip away at home in NCAA quarterfinals



X-Factor: Can Duke stop Miles Bridges?



Coming off of two dominant victories over Elon and Utah Valley this weekend, top-ranked Duke will face its first real test of the season in second-ranked Michigan State on Tuesday at the United Center in Chicago. 

Duke: Guard Gary Trent Jr.

The 6-foot-6 freshman is primarily known for his offensive ability, and for good reason. In the first two games of the season, the Columbus, Ohio native is averaging 17.0 points per game on an impressive 46.2 field goal percentage, including an lethal 53.8 three-point field goal percentage. Trent Jr., who excels at both taking it inside and spot-up shooting from beyond the arc, serves as a perfect complement to Duke’s leading scorers, powerful Marvin Bagley III and lethal senior captain Grayson Allen.

Despite his offensive prowess, Trent Jr.’s defense will be the most crucial to Duke’s success this Tuesday night—he will likely match up against preseason All-American Miles Bridges. The Spartans’ star sophomore is returning from a dazzling 2016-17 campaign, where he put up 16.9 points per game at a respectable .486 clip. 

Trent Jr. is not yet battle-tested on the defensive end, and his first challenge comes against arguably the hardest three to face in the country in Bridges, except possibly Trent Jr. himself. If the Blue Devils can keep Bridges in check, Duke should be able to escape Chicago victorious. However, if Trent Jr. struggles on the defensive end, this could be a frustrating night for head coach Mike Krzyzewski. 

Michigan State: Jaren Jackson Jr.

Although Michigan State’s 2017 recruiting class doesn’t hold a candle to Duke’s heralded freshman class, Tom Izzo was able to entice five-star recruit Jaren Jackson Jr. to don the green and white this fall. 

Jackson profiles as a highly physical big, and utilizes his 6-foot-11 frame and elite athleticism on the paint on both ends of the floor. The La Lumiere School product tallied eight blocks in an exhibition game against Ferris State, and stuffed the stat sheet in the Spartans’ season opener against North Florida, compiling 13 points, 13 rebounds, 4 blocks, and 2 steals in just 22 minutes. Perhaps most impressive is that Jackson went to the free throw line 10 times in his last game and knocked down nine. 

Jackson will face off against Duke’s standout freshman Marvin Bagley III, who has shone in the early going, putting up 24.5 points per game on a 65.7 field goal percentage. Two of the premier big men in college basketball will battle on Tuesday night, and the key to the game may come down to who between Bagley and Jackson can stay out of foul trouble. 

If Jackson can get to the free line with as much ease as he did against North Florida, Bagley’s minutes may be limited, and the Blue Devils would be forced to play reserve big men in Marques Bolden and Javin DeLaurier in extended action. On the upside for Duke, Jackson accumulated four fouls in limited action during the season opener. In short, the matchup between Bagley and Jackson will be crucial.