Grayson Allen is averaging just 8.0 points and shooting 22.5 percent from the field in Duke's last ...

X Factor: Duke men's basketball vs. Miami

After its first loss in nearly a month Wednesday at Syracuse, Duke will hope to get back on track on the road Saturday afternoon against Miami. The Hurricanes enter the game on a three-game winning streak and gave the Blue Devils all they could handle at Cameron Indoor Stadium a month ago before losing by 12. The Blue Zone takes a look at a player from each team who could be the difference-maker in the game:

Duke: Guard Grayson Allen

After a 25-point performance on 7-of-12 shooting from beyond the arc against North Carolina Feb. 9, it seemed as though Allen had finally returned to the level of play that made him an All-American last year. That game marked the third consecutive 20-point outing for Allen, who was finally finding his stroke from the perimeter after he shot better than 40 percent from deep last season.

But since then, the tides have turned once again for Allen. During the Blue Devils’ last four contests, the junior guard has aggravated a toe injury from earlier this season and has completely lost his touch from the field. Allen is averaging just eight points a contest and converting on a mere 22.5 percent of his shot attempts during that span.

With the ACC and NCAA tournaments rapidly approaching, Duke needs Grayson Allen to get back on track against a Miami team which has held its opponents to worse than 33 percent efficiency from deep. The veteran was held to just seven points on 2-for-9 shooting Jan. 21 when Duke hosted the Hurricanes, and he will need to be more effective this time around.

With his ability to string together big buckets or fool opposing defenses with his exquisite passing, the outcome of Saturday’s game will likely depend on which Allen shows up against Miami.

Miami: Guard Bruce Brown

Brown has struggled to find consistency this season for the Hurricanes, but he seems to have a knack for the big games. Monday against Virginia, the freshman guard converted on 9-of-10 free throw attempts in Miami’s upset victory on the road in overtime. Brown also poured in 30 points Jan. 28 in a lopsided win against North Carolina and scored 15 against Duke Jan. 21.

Brown has shown an exceptional all-around game too, averaging more than six boards and three assists per contest to go along with 11.5 points. In order for the Hurricanes to pull off the upset, they’ll need another standout performance from the Boston native. Brown has proven that he can play at his best when his team needs him most, and that opportunity will certainly come Saturday when Miami hosts Duke.

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Chronicle.