X factor: Duke basketball vs. Wofford

No. 2 Duke will look to defeat Wofford Wednesday at 3 p.m. at home to move to 12-0 on the season and will try to keep its string of double-digit wins alive.Before each game this season, the Blue Zone will select a player on both teams that could make the difference for their teams:

Duke: point guard Tyus Jones

Duke knows the importance of putting inferior teams away early in the game and it will rely on the freshman sensation to get the team’s offense off to a fast, mistake-free start Wednesday. Although Jones has performed admirably in big games this season, he has often struggled to put up the same kind of numbers against some of the lesser opponents the Blue Devils have faced in nonconference play.

The key for Jones and second-ranked Duke Wednesday will be limiting turnovers and minimizing the Terriers’ opportunities to capitalize in transition. On the year, Jones’ 3.8:1 assist-to-turnover ratio has been crucial to the Blue Devils’ flow on offense. If the Apple Valley, Minn., native is able to get teammates Justise Winslow and Jahlil Okafor open shots early, Duke is capable of getting the Cameron crowd going and putting Wofford in an insurmountable hole early.

The Blue Devils will also benefit greatly from Jones looking to get his own on the offensive end. As a 46-percent shooter from the floor and 38-percent shooter from beyond the arc, the freshman guard possesses the ability to stretch the floor on offense. Jones’ ability to get to the paint and draw fouls will also be useful for Duke as the guard has shot 86-percent from the line. With a strong performance from the freshman on both ends of the court, the Blue Devils will be well on their way to a 12th-consecutive victory.

Wofford: guard Spencer Collins

The junior guard is second on the Terriers in scoring—averaging 11.4 points per game on 50 percent shooting from the floor. However, Collins’ ability to change the game comes from his potent outside shot. The Easley, S.C. native enters Wednesday’s contest as a 44.4 percent shooter from beyond the three-point line. The ability of Collins to heat up in a hurry serves as one of the biggest obstacles on Duke’s path to continue the defensive momentum it built in the second half against Toledo Monday.

One of Wofford’s only ways to stay in the game will be to stretch the floor and knock down perimeter jump shots. In Monday’s game against the Rockets, the Blue Devils showed that they are susceptible to the occasional hot streak—allowing the Rockets to hit 13-of-15 shots in a nine-minute period that cut the lead to as little as three.

The best way for the Terriers to connect from distance will be to play inside-out or work the ball around the key until they are able to get the ball in Collins’ hand. With a couple of early three-pointers, Wofford could quiet the Cameron crowd and gain confidence in their abilities to make the game a close one.

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