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Frank Jackson will need to be disciplined when he is running the offense against Syracuse's 2-3 zone ...

Key three: Duke men's basketball vs. Syracuse



In the midst of a seven-game conference winning streak, the Blue Devils will look to tally their fourth ACC road win Wednesday night at 7 p.m. against Syracuse at the Carrier Dome. All of Duke’s seven straight wins have been decided by 10 points or less, and four of the Blue Devils' five matchups against the Orange in the last three years have been decided by single digits. Syracuse enters Wednesday’s contest on a three-game losing streak, hoping to return to the form that fueled to a four-game conference win streak earlier in the year. Here are three keys to the game for the Blue Devils:

Find the open 3

The Orange and head coach Jim Boeheim boast a notorious 2-3 zone defense, an uncommon staple in the ACC. In order to break down Syracuse’s defense, the Blue Devils will have to be diligent about being patient and utilizing the shot clock, something they have struggled to do at times throughout the season. With Jayson Tatum evolving into a more reliable 3-point shooter recently, Duke's plethora of perimeter weapons could give the Blue Devils a significant advantage.

After a standout performance against North Carolina Feb. 9, junior Grayson Allen has turned in three consecutive quiet performances. He and sophomore Luke Kennard rely heavily on 3-pointers, and there is potential for either to have a strong game while Amile Jefferson and Harry Giles tangle with the Orange frontcourt.

Control the tempo from the start

Despite the seven-game winning streak, the Blue Devils struggle to dominate early and often and have sometimes played down to their competition. Duke entered halftime with a sizable lead in only two of those seven victories, relying on second-half spurts to ultimately decide close games. Fourteen of Syracuse’s 16 wins have come at home, so it will be necessary for the Blue Devils to establish a consistent rhythm early to take the crowd out of the game. Duke handed Notre Dame its second home loss of the season Jan. 30 by spreading the ball and attacking the rim, two essential tasks against any Syracuse team.

Contain Andrew White III on the perimeter

White III, a graduate transfer from Nebraska and the Orange's primary shooter, leads the team with 17.9 points per game. The Blue Devils lead the ACC in 3-point defense, holding opponents to just 29.9 percent shooting from downtown, and although Duke frequently gives opposing guards easy driving lanes into the paint, it has done a good job of closing out on shooters this year, which could force White III into a long night.

The 6-foot-7 guard accounts for more a third of Syracuse’s 3-point attempts, having launched an ACC-leading 235 shots from downtown. Limiting his chances and efficiency will allow the Blue Devils to focus on containing sophomore forward Tyler Lydon—the Orange’s second-leading scorer—down low. 


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