HALFTIME: Duke 39, Notre Dame 36

SOUTH BEND, Ind.—In a battle of two of the top five most efficient offenses in college basketball, there has been no shortage of excitement in the opening 20 minutes.

No. 4 Duke holds a slim 39-36 edge against No. 8 Notre Dame at Purcell Pavilion.

After pounding the ball inside early on, Cook started to hurt the Fighting Irish from behind the arc. The senior captain drilled two triples—one from each corner—to stake the Blue Devils to a 16-13 edge and finished the frame with 13 points on 5-of-5 shooting.

But Notre Dame reeled off 12 of the next 14 points, including a couple of deep 3-pointers from star guard Jerian Grant over the outstretched arm of Amile Jefferson. The Fighting Irish entered the game shooting 40 percent from long range, and have been on target through the first 20 minutes, knocking down 4-of-11 3-pointers. Grant racked up 13 points, six assists and three steals in the first half.

The Blue Devils have created a lot of easy scoring opportunities for Notre Dame with self-inflicted wounds... Read more

2015 commits Luke Kennard, Chase Jeter named McDonald's All-Americans

The Blue Devils have gotten used to having a roster littered with former McDonald's All-Americans, and their only two 2015 commits made sure that trend would likely continue for at least another year.

Chase Jeter and Luke Kennard were among those officially named 2015 McDonald's All-Americans Sunday when the honorees were unveiled on a special selection show Wednesday evening on ESPNU. Kennard will play on the East Team with top-ranked recruit Ben Simmons, who is committed to play at Louisiana State next year, and Jeter will play on the West Team with in-state forward Brandon Ingram, who Duke is heavily recruiting. Each squad has 12 of the nation's top players, all of whom will compete on the same floor April 1 at the United Center in Chicago.

The key three: Duke basketball vs. Notre Dame

With head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s emotional 1,000th win out of the way, the No. 4 Blue Devils return to conference play against eighth-ranked Notre Dame Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at Purcell Pavilion in South Bend, Ind. Up against long-time Duke assistant Mike Brey and one of the country’s most lethal scorers in Jerian Grant, Duke looks to win its fourth consecutive game and improve to 18-2 on the season. Here are the three keys to tonight’s game:

Force Notre Dame to put it on the deck

Against most teams, Duke would prefer opponents to attempt more 3-pointers than shots in the paint. Not against Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish are the only team in the ACC that averages more points per game than Duke largely due to the fact that they shoot the 3-ball at 40 percent as a team, good for first in the conference. Most of Notre Dame’s predesigned sets try to find an open shot from behind the arc, but when they break down, Jerian Grant usually looks to take his man one-on-one. The senior averages 17.1 points and 6.2 assists per game... Read more

X factor: Duke basketball vs. Notre Dame

Matt Jones helped spark wins in Duke's last two road games and could come up big again with timely defense and outside shooting, especially with Justise Winslow ailing.
Elysia Su / The Chronicle

Matt Jones helped spark wins in Duke's last two road games and could come up big again with timely defense and outside shooting, especially with Justise Winslow ailing.

After securing a landmark victory with Sunday’s 77-68 comeback triumph against St. John’s, the Blue Devils head right back to the hardwood for the opening half of their toughest two-game stretch to date. No. 4 Duke travels to South Bend, Ind. to square off with No. 8 Notre Dame at Purcell Pavilion at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday before taking on undefeated No. 2 Virginia Saturday.

Wednesday’s matchup features two of the best offenses in the country—the Fighting Irish lead the nation in points per possession at 1.25 and the Blue Devils are not far behind at 1.19. Here’s a look at one player from each side who could determine the outcome of a crucial ACC showdown... Read more

Recruiting Roundup: New 2015 target Kyle Alexander emerges as high-profile visits, announcements draw nearer

This week’s roundup starts way up in Canada, as Duke has apparently been looking into a possible new 2015 target Kyle Alexander. Alexander plays for Orangeville Prep in Ontario and its head coach, Larry Blunt, reportedly spoke to Blue Devil assistant coach Nate James. Blunt also spoke to and had this to say about his talented forward:

He’s 6-[foot]-10 with a 7-[foot]-4 wingspan. He runs faster than our guards and has a knack for blocking shots. His dad was a Division I 1,000-point scorer and his sister was an All-American at Syracuse and a first-round draft pick in the WNBA. The kid has been playing basketball for three years and his potential is scary.

Alexander seems virtually unknown as he is not on ESPN’s top 100, but he may be a name to remember in the future... Read more

Stock Watch: Captain Cook guides young team as two-tower lineup pays dividends

The bell of the Blue Zone stock exchange has just rung again, meaning it's time to take another look at who is rising and falling with their performances for Blue Devil sports teams. Each week The Blue Zone will look at whose stock is on the rise and whose stock has taken a hit from the week in the world of Duke athletics.

Bull Market—Trending Up

Quinn Cook: For a young team to be successful, there needs to be a stabilizing force and along with freshman point guard Tyus Jones—who was trending up last week and had another strong stretch—Cook has made the lead guard position that force. The Blue Devils had their backs against the wall Sunday against St. John's with less than 10 minutes remaining, but Cook hit multiple timely 3-pointers throughout the contest and had a timely old-fashioned three-point play to ignite the game-defining 21-4 run... Read more

Around the ACC: Week 10

Virginia and Notre Dame kept rolling, meaning Duke has a chance to make a statement with two road games against the top two teams in the ACC this week:

1. No. 2 Virginia (19-0, 7-0 in the ACC): The Cavalier’s pummeled an overmatched Georgia Tech team at home and escaped a pesky Virginia Tech squad to stay unbeaten at 19-0. Junior guard Justin Anderson gave the Cavaliers a spark right when they needed it, leading Virginia on a 12-0 late in the second half to give the Cavaliers a 50-47 win on the road. Malcolm Brogdon led the way for Virginia against the Yellow Jackets, chipping in 13 points and four assists, giving the Cavaliers their 21st straight home win 57-28. Virginia now faces a tough stretch, with contests against No. 4 Duke, No 10 Louisville, No. 12 North Carolina and N.C. State looming.

2. No. 8 Notre Dame (19-2, 7-1): Notre Dame handled Virginia Tech on the road 85-60 behind 18 points from Jerian Grant. However, the Fighting Irish played a wild one against N.C. State Sunday night... Read more

Duke women's basketball Player of the Week: Week 10

Senior Elizabeth Williams showed her experience Sunday night with a historic game against Duke's arch-rival.
Emma Loewe / The Chronicle

Senior Elizabeth Williams showed her experience Sunday night with a historic game against Duke's arch-rival.

Elizabeth Williams

Statline: Thursday, Jan. 22 at Boston College: 19 points on 4-of-15 shooting, nine rebounds, one assist, one steal and two blocks in 37 minutes; Sunday, Jan. 25 at North Carolina: 33 points on 14-of-25 shooting, 10 rebounds, three assists, two steals and four blocks in 43 minutes

The good: Thanks to Williams' historic performance, the Blue Devils knocked off North Carolina 74-67 Sunday evening after a dramatic comeback to send the game into overtime. The 6-foot-3 center provided clutch scoring whenever Duke needed and her 33 points were the most ever by a Blue Devil against the Tar Heels and most since head coach Joanne P. McCallie arrived in 2007. The senior from Virginia Beach, Va., is on the John R. Wooden Award Midseason Watch List as one of the top players in the country and her huge effort Sunday made up for a subpar effort Thursday against the Eagles.

And when your subpar efforts are 19-point, nine-rebound performances, you know you are doing something right... Read more

The road to Tampa: Women's basketball update, Week 10

Upsets once again swept across the country as postseason play draws nearer in the world of women's basketball:

No. 15 Duke found itself on both sides of conference-play upsets, falling at Boston College 60-56 Thursday before rallying to defeat rival No. 12 North Carolina 74-67 in overtime Sunday. Senior forward Elizabeth Williams shot just 4-of-15 against the Eagles before notching a career-high 33 points to lead her team to victory against the Tar Heels.

The ACC saw more excitement when No. 17 Florida State upset No. 4 Louisville 68-63 Thursday, handing the Cardinals their first conference loss and ensuring no ACC team would finish league play unbeaten... Read more

Duke basketball Player of the Week: Week 10

Tyus Jones was spectacular again under the bright lights as he led Duke to two wins this week with more clutch shooting.
Elysia Su / The Chronicle

Tyus Jones was spectacular again under the bright lights as he led Duke to two wins this week with more clutch shooting.

Tyus Jones

Statline: Monday, Jan. 19 vs. Pittsburgh: 22 points on 7-of-11 shooting, 4-of-6 from 3-point range, 4-of-5 from the free throw line, four assists; Sunday, Jan. 25 vs. St. John's: 22 points on 5-of-11 shooting, 2-of-5 from 3-point range, 10-of-10 from the free throw line, six assists and four rebounds

The good: Jones rose to the occasion with his team needing great point guard play to handle the pressure of earning head coach Mike Krzyzewski his 999th and 1,000th wins this week. The Apple Valley, Minn., native continued his momentum from a strong effort Jan. 17 at then-No. 6 Louisville with two more big offensive games this week after a slow start to 2015. Every time the Panthers got close to making a comeback in Monday's game, it seemed like Jones had an answer offensively to maintain a comfortable margin for Duke.

Sunday against St. John's, the 6-foot-1 floor general once again Read more