The key three: Duke basketball vs. Stanford

After its defeat of Temple in the semifinals, Duke will play Stanford in New York at the Barclays Center in the final of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic Saturday at 9:30 p.m. The matchup will mark the first time that Stanford head coach Johnny Dawkins will face off against his alma mater. Three things that the Blue Devils will need to do to finish the tournament strong:

Play strong perimeter defense and close out to shooters

In its semifinal match up against UNLV, Stanford shot an astounding 70.0 percent from beyond the arc and senior guard Chasson Randle—a career 39.4 percent three-point shooter—played a large role in making that happen. The Rock Island, Ill. native exclusively attempted 3-point shots on the night, going 6-of-10.

Aside from this game, the Cardinal has not been a proficient long-range shooting team this season—Stanford averaged just 23.8 percent from deep through its first two games—but Dawkins’ teams in the past have been efficient from the 3-point line and Friday night’s game against the Rebels showed just that... Read more

X factor: Duke basketball vs. Stanford

Brianna Siracuse / The Chronicle

Duke looks to wrap up the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. at 9:30 p.m. Saturday against Stanford. Before every game, we'll break down a player from each team who could be the difference in the upcoming contest:

Duke: guard Quinn Cook

The senior captain has given coaches and fans alike a demonstration of exactly why he is the leader of the team. With bravado and swagger, Cook has averaged 16.8 points on 57 percent shooting from the field and 50 percent from beyond the arc while turning the ball over just once.

Before the season, it seemed as though he would be coming off the bench as backup to highly touted recruit Tyus Jones, but head coach Mike Krzyzewski has opted to go with both point guards in the starting rotation. The platoon has paid dividends for the Duke offense, as Jones has kept the ball flowing consistently and creating plays while Cook has gotten the chance to show off an improved stroke this season.

The Washington, D.C... Read more

Duke in the NBA: Parker has career day in Brooklyn before Coaches vs. Cancer Classic

With the NBA season going strong, former Duke stars have adjusted to their new roles, new offenses and new teams with varying levels of success. We take a look at how some of the former Blue Devils have performed so far:

Jabari Parker, Milwaukee Bucks

After struggling to begin the season, the popular preseason Rookie of the Year selection seems to finally have turned a corner. The Chicago native has averaged 13.8 points per game on 53 percent shooting in the best five-game stretch of his career. However, Parker’s improvements on offense go beyond an improved shooting percentage. Early in the season, the forward had difficulty earnings trips to the free-throw line—resulting in just 20 free throw attempts through 11 games.

But in Parker’s last two games, he has attempted a total of 16 free throws, which is indicative of a new-found understanding of how to be successful in head coach Jason Kidd’s offense... Read more

Beyond the Arc: Duke basketball vs. Temple

When the shots weren't falling early Friday night, the Blue Devils didn't panic.

No. 4 Duke overcame its worst shooting performance of the young season to defeat Temple 74-54 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., on the back of a 21-9 extended run in the first 9:27 of the second half. The Owls held the Blue Devils to just 39.1 percent shooting, but couldn't find an offensive rhythm themselves, firing at just a 37.3 percent clip on the evening.

Freshman Jahlil Okafor struggled mightily in the first half, shooting just 3-of-13 in the opening 20 minutes. Still, the center headed to the locker room with eight points and seven rebounds, and finished the game with 16 points and eight boards. Okafor was joined in double-figures by captain Quinn Cook—who scored a team-high 17—and classmate Justise Winslow, who chipped in 15.

The Blue Devils finish out a brutal five-game, eight-day stretch to start their season Saturday at 9:30 p.m. against Stanford, which rolled UNLV 89-60 in Friday's first semifinal... Read more

HALFTIME: Duke 36, Temple 26

NEW YORK—It was a sloppy first half for both teams Friday night at the Barclays Center, but the Blue Devils' persistence on the boards allowed No. 4 Duke to take a 36-26 lead into the locker room.

The Blue Devils struggled mightily from the floor, shooting 30.8 percent and 27.3 percent from beyond the arc. Luckily for Duke, the Owls had equal trouble getting the ball in the hole, making just 10 of their 29 field goals in the half.

Duke utilized a very balanced scoring effort in the first half. Justise Winslow and Jahlil Okafor led the way with eight points, and three other Blue Devils had at least four points. Temple was led by Quenton DeCosey, who scored six in the period.

Here are some observations from the first half:

  • Jahlil Okafor had trouble scoring early. After hitting his first attempt of the night the big man proceeded to miss his next five shots—as many as he'd missed all season coming into the day. The big man finished the half just 3-of-13 from the field... Read more

The key three: Duke basketball vs. Temple

Coming off a solid win against Michigan State, Duke heads to Brooklyn, N.Y., for a match up against Temple in the semifinals of the Coaches v. Cancer Classic at the Barclays Center. Tipoff is at 9:30 p.m. Friday. Three things that Duke will need to do to avoid the upset:

Hit the glass

The sample size is small for the season so far, but, at times, Temple has had issues scoring. However, the Owls make up for a lack of scoring by boxing out and collecting rebounds. Three games into the season, the Blue Devils have struggled rebounding the basketball.

Duke was outrebounded by the smaller Michigan State Spartans 35-25 and gave up a whopping 13 offensive rebounds resulting in 11 second-chance points for Michigan State Tuesday. With the Owls' scoring issues, the Blue Devils, particularly interior players Jahlil Okafor and Amile Jefferson, will need to make sure they do not allow Temple to have any second chances. Duke's inability to close out possessions with rebounds allowed the Spartans to hang around and nearly make a big run late in the game... Read more

Duke football assistant slams chair during epic pregame speech

Before Duke's Thursday night tilt against North Carolina, the Blue Devils received a rowdy pregame speech from graduate assistant Chris Hoover. As evidenced by the video below, some equipment—specifically a folding chair—was indeed harmed in the filming of the pep talk (start video at :09).

Hoover, a former walk-on linebacker, did not see game action in three years with the Blue Devils. If he tackles with the same ferocity with which he slams chairs, Duke's opponents from the past few seasons may be breathing a sigh of relief.

Hoover also got the Blue Devils fired up when he was still on the team before the Belk Bowl in 2012.

Whenever furniture flies, it's only appropriate to pay tribute to the master of the art form, former Indiana basketball coach Bob Knight... Read more

X factor: Duke basketball vs. Temple

Duke will take on Temple Friday at 9:30 p.m. in the semifinals of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., for its fourth game in a week. Before every game, we'll break down a player from each team who could be the difference in the upcoming contest:

Duke: guard Grayson Allen

Averaging 9.0 points in just 10.7 minutes per game and leading the team in steals at five, Grayson Allen is a difference maker on Duke's bench. Allen shined alongside the other freshmen in the Blue Devil's season opener against Presbyterian, scoring 18 points in his 18 minutes. But despite his stellar first game, the Jacksonville, Fla. native has struggled to find a rhythm lately.

In the Blue Devils' 81-71 win against Michigan State, Allen was unable to capitalize off the bench, took an awful shot and was sent back to the bench after a minute.The entire bench only produced seven points Tuesday, so Allen and the entire unit have something to prove Friday... Read more

Jabari Parker visits Duke basketball during practice at private Jordan facility Terminal 23 in New York

Another day, another visit from a rising NBA star.

Two days after Pacers star Paul George visited Duke in the locker room after its 81-71 win against Michigan State in the Champions Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Bucks rookie Jabari Parker visited the team at its Thursday practice in New York City at Terminal 23, a private Jordan facility near Madison Square Garden.

Parker averaged 19.1 points and 8.7 rebounds per game last year en route to racking up All-American honors as a freshman at Duke before being selected with the No. 2 overall pick in June's NBA draft... Read more

Making the Grade: Duke football vs. North Carolina

The Blue Devils' first Thursday-night home game in 20 years didn't end up the way they dreamed it would.

A pair of fumbles on Duke's first two possessions spelled disaster for the Blue Devils and foreshadowed a long night to come, as North Carolina controlled all aspects of the game in a 45-20 drubbing that took Duke out of the running for the ACC Coastal Division crown and spots in the ACC Championship Game and the Orange Bowl.

As the Victory Bell heads back to Chapel Hill for the first time in two seasons, the most important thing the Blue Devils can do is regroup, and quickly. Duke will need to bring its two-game losing streak to a halt Nov. 29 against Wake Forest to build some confidence before readying for its third bowl game in as many years.

Offense: D

Pass: For the second straight game, quarterback Anthony Boone struggled to get in a rhythm, completing just 22 of his 40 pass attempts for 262 yards and an interception. The redshirt senior tossed a pair of scores, but one came in garbage time with the Tar Heels well ahead... Read more