Duke in the NBA: Irving drops 55 as Cavaliers keep rolling

It was a tough week for the Blue Devils on the court, but a few spectacular performances from a former standout still provided some positive highlights for Duke fans to enjoy:

Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers: It seemed unlikely that Kyrie Irving could have a better performance later in the week after scoring a then season-high 38 points on 13-of-23 shooting Tuesday, when the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Detroit Pistons 103-95. The streaky shooter knocked down 6-of-10 3-pointers and added six assists and three steals in 42 minutes But the fourth-year pro was just getting started.

Irving had a historic performance Wednesday night as the Cavaliers beat the Portland Trail Blazers 99-94 for their eight straight win... Read more

Duke football releases 2015 schedule with spring practice 8 days away

For the first time since 2005, the Blue Devils will hit the road to kick off the 2015 campaign and their bid for three consecutive nine-win seasons.

Duke released its 2015 schedule Thursday morning and announced that it will play six of its 12 games at home in the newly-renovated Wallace Wade Stadium. The Blue Devils open the season with a trip to New Orleans for a Sept. 3 road contest against Tulane—a group Duke dismantled 47-13 at home this year—before christening the new Wallace Wade with the Sept. 12 home opener versus N.C. Central. This will mark the first time since 2005 that the Blue Devils will open the season on the road.

In total, the schedule features an even split of six home games and six road games for a Duke squad that returns nine starters from last year’s 9-4 team. The Blue Devils will enjoy a stretch of four straight home games early in the season, with N.C. Central, Northwestern, Boston College and Georgia Tech all slated to make the trek to Durham in consecutive weeks following Duke’s season opener at Tulane... Read more

NBA representatives watch game of runs in Duke-Notre Dame

SOUTH BEND, Ind.—The NBA: where everybody makes a run.

Wednesday’s 77-73 thriller at Purcell Pavilion wasn’t an NBA game, but it had no shortage of runs. Notre Dame built a 25-18 lead with a 14-2 run midway through the first half, only to see the Blue Devils answer back with a 14-5 spurt of their own to reclaim the lead going into halftime.

Duke built a 63-53 lead with 12:45 remaining thanks to a 14-4 scoring spree, but from there, the Fighting Irish tallied 24 of the final 34 points to claim the victory.

“You’re going to get a run from them, for crying out loud. We had a run [too], that’s why we had a 10-point lead,” head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “You have to beat other people when they’re good and they’re playing well, and [Notre Dame is] good and they’re playing well.”

Notre Dame is no stranger to come-from-behind efforts. The Fighting Irish stormed back last weekend to overcome a 16-point deficit against N.C. State, again keyed by the play of guard Jerian Grant... Read more

Justise Winslow finds shooting stroke in loss Wednesday night

Justise Winslow has been battling injuries and a shooting slump lately, but found a rhythm from the perimeter in Wednesday's loss at No. 8 Notre Dame.
Eric Lin / The Chronicle

Justise Winslow has been battling injuries and a shooting slump lately, but found a rhythm from the perimeter in Wednesday's loss at No. 8 Notre Dame.

SOUTH BEND, Ind.—No. 4 Duke played well Wednesday, but not well enough to win. A 10-of-20 showing from the free-throw line, several missed lay-ups and a sloppy first half led to the Blue Devils' eventual demise at Purcell Pavilion.

There were bright spots, like Jahlil Okafor's 22 points and 17 rebounds, Quinn Cook's three first-half treys and Tyus Jones' 12 second-half points. But nothing may be more important to Duke's long-term success than the re-emergence of Justise Winslow.

The 6-foot-6 swingman has been in a major funk of late, hitting just seven of his 30 field goal attempts since the Jan. 11 road loss to N.C. State. In the same five-game stretch, Winslow was just 5-of-15 from the free-throw line and 3-of-15 from long range.

The cold spell wasn't just about Winslow's shooting ability; the Houston native has been dealing with rib and shoulder issues that kept him off the floor for much of head coach Mike Krzyzewski's 1,000th career win Sunday at St. John's, when the freshman played a career-low 10 minutes and did not start the second half... Read more

Beyond the Arc: Duke basketball vs. Notre Dame

In a highly-anticipated matchup featuring two top-10 teams with two of the best offenses in the country, No. 8 Notre Dame upended No. 4 Duke 77-73 Wednesday night at Purcell Pavilion in South Bend, Ind. The Blue Devils led by as much as 10 in the second half, but their woes at the free throw line and several clutch plays by Jerian Grant—who led the Fighting Irish with 23 points and 12 assists—proved to be too much to overcome as they failed to capture their third road victory against a top-10 opponent this season.

Revisiting the three keys to the game:

  • Force Notre Dame to put it on the deck: Duke was successful in preventing the Fighting Irish from hoisting up 3-pointers over a zone defense, but Notre Dame was still able to be effective offensively... Read more

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