Bolden

Maques Bolden will look to build upon the best stretch of his career and continue to buy himself ...

X Factor: Duke men's basketball vs. South Dakota



After defeating three consecutive power-five opponents and advancing to 9-0 on the season, No.1 Duke returns to Durham Saturday against South Dakota looking to tune up and continue to discover its best rotation in its final week of competition prior to entering ACC play.

The Blue Zone gives the players that could be X Factors in Saturday's matchup : 

Duke: Forward Marques Bolden

With the freshman frontcourt duo of Marvin Bagley III and Wendell Carter Jr. displaying their prowess seemingly every night, sophomore Marques Bolden has been placed on the back burner in favor of his younger counterparts. But as the tandem has seen a multitude of minutes in Portland, Ore., and in Bloomington, Ind., some much deserved rest should be coming. Bolden gave the Blue Devils a much-needed spark off the bench against Indiana, where he stole the ball and was subsequently fouled and tied the game up.

Although the Dallas native has only seen the court for 11.3 minutes per contest, his energy has been contagious. Thus far, Bolden has averaged 2.9 points to accompany 2.9 rebounds a game, while his most impressive one arrived when the Blue Devils’ needed a boost off the bench against Portland State at the PK80 Invitational. In the game, the sophomore grabbed 10 rebounds in only 18 minutes and made four baskets totaling eight points on the night. A career night in points and rebounds is somewhat abnormal for the Blue Devil center, as he makes an impact that is often not recorded on the stat sheet.

With Duke’s size advantage in the frontcourt against South Dakota, Bolden will receive ample opportunity to fill up the scoreboard with points, rebounds and blocks. Besides South Dakota’s Tyler Hagedorn, who stands at 6-foot-10, there is no other Coyote that can match up with the 6-foot-11 Blue Devil. He will likely have at least a four-inch height advantage against any player not named Hagedorn. Paired up with another big man, Bolden should dominant the low post game en route to strong performance off the bench.

South Dakota: Guard Matt Mooney

A Summit League MVP candidate, junior Matt Mooney will attempt to shoot lights out against the young Blue Devil lineup. South Dakota’s offensive will be run through their most prolific scorer, one that finished third in his conference in points per game with 18.6 per contest in his First Team All-Conference season.

South Dakota lost 33 percent of its scoring off its NIT season from the backcourt starters Tyler Flack and Trey Dickerson, but Mooney has lived up to his preseason praise so far in the Coyotes’ seven games. The Air Force Academy transfer notched a career high 31 points against now No. 23 TCU earlier this season on 12 made shots. But even with that career night, the Coyotes lost by five points. This season, the Wauconda, Ill., native, has lead his team leads his team with 18.3 points per contest, but he has struggled maintaining possession of the ball on the offensive end. The 6-foot-3 guard has committed 2.8 turnovers per game, a mark that tops his team’s average of 12.8 giveaways.

In his most recent outing on Thursday night on the road against University of Missouri–Kansas City(UMKC), the junior added 30 points to his season tally off five rebounds for his team's seventh win of the fall. Mooney shot the ball at a 71 percent clip on 10-14 shooting from the field and only missed one of his nine free throw attempts. The prolific scorer was also able to hold onto the ball, committing zero turnovers on the night, something that could not be said of his 31 point night at TCU, where he lost the ball on six occasions.

The Coyotes will need a performance like the TCU or UMKC games in order to give his team a chance against the undefeated Blue Devils. Even with a career night from Mooney, the rest of the team will need to score in numbers and limit its turnovers as Duke will command a large rebound advantage with a tall front line and bench that includes the 6-foot-11 Bolden.


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