Beyond the arc: Duke men's basketball vs. Maine

Beyond the arc: Duke men's basketball vs. Maine

In a game marked by the debuts of freshmen Jayson Tatum and Marques Bolden, Duke cruised past Maine 94-55 at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Luke Kennard and Amile Jefferson both had career highs in points, combining for 55 to lead the Blue Devils.

Revisiting the three keys to the game:

  • Convert from beyond the arc: Following the Blue Devils’ worst 3-point shooting performance of the year Tuesday against Michigan State, they had a strong resurgence against the Black Bears. Led by Kennard’s four three-pointers, the Blue Devils shot a sizzling 42.9 percent from deep. Duke's efficiency could have been even better had senior Matt Jones not thrown up a deep triple off one foot while he was trying to draw a foul. Nonetheless, the team looked confident from beyond the arc and broke out of its cold streak.
  • Win the turnover battle: Duke lost the turnover battle 12-6, but all six of the Black Bears' turnovers were a result of steals. Maine finished with just five steals, as the Blue Devils gave the ball away several times on errant passes or traveling violations. Although Duke did not force as many turnovers as it has previously this year, its defense was still more cohesive than that of the Black Bears' and generated many more stops.
  • Stay healthy: Following the return of Bolden and Tatum, Duke’s main priority against Maine was to avoid the injuries that have plagued the team so far this season. Tatum went down with a cramp in the second half, but the Blue Devils avoided serious injury and gave junior Grayson Allen a night of rest to recover from his nagging toe injury.

Three key stats:

  • Average height of Duke players on the floor together taller than 6-foot-9: Late in the second half, head coach Mike Krzyzewski unleashed a big lineup to give Kennard and Jones some rest in the backcourt. With Jefferson running the point at 6-foot-9, the Blue Devils ran a 2-3 zone that included sophomores Chase Jeter and Antonio Vrankovic and freshmen Jack White and Javin DeLaurier. The lineup wreaked havoc on a Maine team whose tallest player is only 6-foot-8.
  • The Blue Devils finish with a 44-18 advantage in the paint: Duke punished any attempts the Black Bears made at going inside with eight blocked shots. Jefferson led the team with two blocks, but six other Blue Devils registered a block and limited Maine to a shooting percentage of just 30.8 percent inside the three-point line.
  • Zero minutes for Allen and Frank Jackson: Following a 37-minute performance against Michigan State, Allen was finally given some much-needed rest against Maine. The junior guard rested his injured toe while Kennard and Jones carried the backcourt burden. Jackson also sat the game out with a sore foot, but nine Blue Devils played at least 10 minutes.

Three key plays: Read more »

Chronicle postgame: Duke men's basketball vs. Maine

Chronicle postgame: Duke men's basketball vs. Maine

Luke Kennard and Amile Jefferson both posted career highs in scoring and freshmen Jayson Tatum and Marques Bolden made their career debuts in an eventful 94-55 win for Duke Saturday against Maine. The Chronicle's Amrith Ramkumar and Mitchell Gladstone broke down all the main storylines from the day and what it means for the Blue Devils moving forward following the game. The topics discussed can be viewed below.

0:27—Why Luke Kennard stole the show from Bolden and Tatum with his career day

1:11—How Tatum and Bolden looked in their career debuts

2:05—How Duke might manage its rotation Tuesday against Florida after Frank Jackson and Grayson Allen both sat out Saturday Read more »

Halftime: Duke 46, Maine 32

Two five-star freshmen made their much-anticipated regular-season debuts Saturday, but a veteran duo was the tandem that stood out in the opening 20 minutes. 

As Jayson Tatum and Marques Bolden got their legs under them, sophomore Luke Kennard and graduate student Amile Jefferson combined for 31 points to stake Duke a 46-32 halftime lead against Maine at Cameron Indoor Stadium. 

Kennard scored the team's first nine points and the Blue Devils used a 9-0 run marked by stifling defense to establish a 29-15 lead with 7:42 left in the opening period. 

With junior All-American Grayson Allen and freshman Frank Jackson sitting out Saturday's game, Duke started three frontcourt players in Tatum, Jefferson and sophomore Chase Jeter, and took advantage of that length to hold Maine to 34.3 percent shooting in the opening period.  Read more »

Key three: Duke men's basketball vs. Maine

Key three: Duke men's basketball vs. Maine

The Blue Devils will play their last home game before Winter Break Saturday at 5:30 against Maine. Duke is riding a five-game winning streak with an impressive backcourt, and it will look to keep the momentum going against the Black Bears before hitting the road for two games next week. Here are three keys to success for the Blue Devils Saturday.

Convert from beyond the arc

After converting on more than 35 percent of its 3-point attempts through seven contests, Duke shot just 26.9 percent from downtown against Michigan State Tuesday. Luke Kennard and Matt Jones—the Blue Devils’ second and third best 3-point shooters—made just one of their combined 13 attempts from long distance. With Duke playing very guard-heavy due to injuries to three freshmen big men, it will be important to get Kennard and Jones back on track for the tougher road that lies ahead of the Maine game.

Win the turnover battle Read more »

X Factor: Duke men's basketball vs. Maine

X Factor: Duke men's basketball vs. Maine

After a 78-69 victory against Michigan State in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, the Blue Devils will face Maine in Cameron Indoor Stadium Saturday evening at 5:30. Duke will look to continue its early-season success playing without three of its top freshmen, who are sidelined due to injury. The Blue Zone takes a look at a player from each team who could be a difference-maker in Saturday’s game.

Duke: Forward Amile Jefferson

The 6-foot-9 graduate student from Philadelphia has been impressive to start the season for the Blue Devils. With the injuries to Marques Bolden, Harry Giles and Jayson Tatum, Jefferson has been forced to play a larger role for the shorthanded Blue Devils. Duke’s captain has responded to the challenge by putting up a career-high 14.0 points per game so far to go along with 9.9 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game. Jefferson has been able to shoulder the load on the inside and has been the anchor of Duke’s defense. 

The unquestionable leader on and off the court for the Blue Devils, Jefferson has been the consistent force the team needed to start the season. He must continue his solid play and stay out of foul trouble to conceal the Blue Devils' deficiencies in their depleted frontcourt against the Black Bears. Read more »

Duke football 2016 season review: Special teams

Duke football 2016 season review: Special teams

The Chronicle's review of the Blue Devils' 2016 season wraps up with an analysis of their special teams unit. Check out our evaluations for Duke's offense and defense if you missed them earlier this week.

Special Teams: C-

Kicking/punting: One of the biggest stories of the season for Duke was freshman kicker A.J. Reed's struggles. Reed converted only three field goals in 10 attempts on the season, and his longest made kick of the season was just a 38-yarder. After four-year starter Ross Martin graduated as the most accomplished kicker in school history, Reed's performance marked a dramatic turn in the wrong direction for the Blue Devils. Duke was alone in last place in the nation with just three made field goals as a team.

Reed missed his last four field-goal attempts of the season, as head coach David Cutcliffe seemed to lose faith in his kicker down the stretch and elected multiple times to go for it in fourth-and-long situations or punt on short fields when most teams would try a field goal. This severely limited the team’s offense and put even more pressure on an injury-riddled team to get into the end zone.

At the end of the day, Duke lost two games by three points, and the Blue Devils would have been in better position to win a few more games had Reed hit more of his kicks. Was Duke’s inability to make field goals the sole factor that kept it out of a bowl? Probably not, but it certainly made things more difficult for a team that was coming off its first bowl victory since 1961. Read more »

Chron chat: Recapping Duke football's 2016 season

Chron chat: Recapping Duke football's 2016 season

After the Blue Devils wrapped up their 4-8 season with a loss at Miami last Saturday, The Chronicle's Amrith Ramkumar, Ben Feder and Sam Turken discussed why the Blue Devils missed the postseason for the first time since 2011. Although injuries and a few lackluster performances early on derailed Duke's 2016 campaign, our football beat writers took a step back and debated whether the future looks bright the Blue Devils. The topics discussed can be viewed below.

0:28—Daniel Jones' future as Duke's quarterback after his strong finish to the season

1:38—How injuries forced the Blue Devils' young players to get more experience at the skill positions

3:35—Breakout seasons at linebacker for underclassmen Ben Humphreys and Joe Giles-Harris Read more »

This week in Duke history: Duke football clinches Coastal Division with win in Chapel Hill

This week in Duke history: Duke football clinches Coastal Division with win in Chapel Hill

It was a result that would have been hard to believe only a few years earlier.

On Nov. 30, 2013, the Blue Devils used a late Ross Martin field goal to seal a 27-25 victory at North Carolina, as well as the ACC Coastal Division title.

Under then-sixth year head coach David Cutcliffe, Duke opened a new chapter in its history after a brutal stretch before his arrival, including a 2-33 clip in the three seasons before he came to Durham. The win marked the Blue Devils' 10th of the season—a school record—en route to the ACC championship game and a second-straight bowl game after no previous trips to the postseason since 1994.

After dropping its third and fourth games of the season to Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh, Duke reeled off seven straight wins for a chance to win the Coastal Division. There was a close battle against Troy to start the streak, double-digit wins against Virginia, N.C. State and then-No. 24 Miami and perhaps the biggest win of the year at No. 16 Virginia Tech, a 13-10 thriller. Read more »

Duke football 2016 season review: Defense

Duke football 2016 season review: Defense

Next up in The Chronicle's review of Duke's 4-8 season is an evaluation of the Blue Devils' defense. Look back at our grade for Duke's offense here, and check back later this week for an analysis of the team's special teams unit.

Defense: C+

Pass: Duke's secondary was decimated by season-ending injuries to redshirt senior captain DeVon Edwards—who tore his ACL Sept. 24 against Notre Dame—and senior cornerback Breon Borders, who missed the last three games of the year with a hip injury. The Blue Devils paid the price in the defensive backfield, surrendering 10 passing touchdowns in their last three contests and allowing four opponents to pass for more than 300 yards this season.

Duke was particularly susceptible to the big play through the air, allowing 15 passes that went for more than 40 yards. The Blue Devils made some game-changing plays of their own, picking off 10 passes—led by senior Deondre Singleton with three—but they slowed down toward the end of the year with just three interceptions in their last six games.

Under the tutelage of first-year defensive line coach Ben Albert, Duke's pass rush made major strides this season. The Blue Devils had 29 sacks a year after they were one of the worst teams in the nation at pressuring opposing quarterbacks with just 17 sacks. Redshirt senior defensive tackle A.J. Wolf led Duke's front seven to an impressive season, and his contributions against then-No. 15 North Carolina—when he pressured Mitch Trubisky into two uncharacteristic interceptions—helped the Blue Devils to their biggest victory of the year. Read more »

Injury update: Head coach Mike Krzyzewski discusses team's various ailments after Duke-Michigan State

Injury update: Head coach Mike Krzyzewski discusses team's various ailments after Duke-Michigan State

Even after the Blue Devils came away with a hard-fought 78-69 win in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, Duke faces numerous questions about the health of its roster. The Blue Devils utilized a six-man rotation once again Tuesday but will need to get healthy in the month of December with a brutal conference slate starting New Year's Eve. 

Head coach Mike Krzyzewski talked about his team’s various injuries following Duke’s win against the Spartans.

Allen continues to gut it out

The junior has nursed a leg and toe injury during the team’s first eight games and continues to play at much less than 100 percent. Although the guard has not missed a game for the Blue Devils, the junior has struggled with his shot and is shooting just 37.1 percent from the floor.

Just so you know, Grayson does not practice one second. So when he’s out on that court, that’s a gutty performance.
When we had back-to-back games up at Mohegan, he landed on the side of his toe during Penn State and we weren’t sure...he played. Then, warming up against Rhode Island, it didn’t look good. He said, 'I’ll play,’ but he limped the whole game. When we have a little bit of time in between, he just needs to rest it. And then it becomes good enough to play. But he can’t do anything.
Kennard and Jeter fully healthy

The sophomore duo has played a key role for Duke and both players seem completely recovered from their minor injuries. Kennard came into the season with a sore toe but has emerged as the Blue Devils’ most reliable scoring option. Jeter—who left the team’s game against Penn State two weeks ago with a left ankle injury—said following Tuesday’s win that he’s “back” and has “the same type of explosion.” Read more »