Beyond the Arc: Duke basketball vs. Connecticut

Izzi Clark / The Chronicle

It didn’t look pretty—especially in the first half—but the No. 2 Blue Devils were able to escape with a 66-56 victory against a scrappy Connecticut team Thursday night at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, N.J. Despite having all five starters reach double figures—led by point guard Tyus Jones with 21—Duke was unable to find a true rhythm offensively, shooting less than 40 percent for the game. The Blue Devils used a 15-2 run in the early minutes of the second half to pull away from the defending national champion Huskies, who had erased an early deficit and tied the game at 30.

Revisiting the three keys to the game:

  • Win the battle of the titans: Thursday’s 12-point, eight rebound performance from Jahlil Okafor was a far cry from Monday’s stellar 25-point, 20 rebound clinic, but other post players stepped up for Duke as Okafor faced constant double teams on the block... Read more

Cavaliers star Kyrie Irving visits Duke basketball following Duke-UConn

Another high-profile neutral site game, another high profile visitor for the Blue Devils.

Former Duke star Kyrie Irving was on hand for No. 2 Duke's 66-56 victory against Connecticut at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, N.J. Irving and the Cleveland Cavaliers host the Brooklyn Nets Friday night, but the former Blue Devil standout still found room in his schedule to take in the action courtside and visit the team in the locker room.

Irving's Read more

HALFTIME: Duke 30, Connecticut 25

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.—Head coaches Mike Krzyzewski and Kevin Ollie both were disappointed coming off lackluster wins against weaker nonconference opponents. They cannot be too much happier with their first-half performances tonight as Duke squeezed out a 30-25 lead heading into the break.

Connecticut struggled from the free throw line, shot 20 percent, committed nine turnovers and racked up foul trouble down low. The Blue Devils, despite their five-point lead, turned the ball over 12 times and shot just 33 percent from the floor—its lowest first-half average for the season.

After a 40-point, 13-rebound game against Coppin State Sunday, Connecticut center Amida Brimah took himself out of the first half. After being benched for picking up a blocking foul 12 seconds into the contest, the seven-footer picked up his second foul immediately upon returning to the court, guarding Jahlil Okafor high in the key.

Okafor and forward Amile Jefferson combined for 13 rebounds against the Brimah-less Huskies, but Okafor did not capitalize on offense... Read more

Duke legend Jay Bilas directs Duke Alumni Band during100th performance before Duke-UConn

Jay Bilas has worn a lot of different hats—Duke basketball forward, lawyer, sportscaster and even author.

He added another one to the list before Thursday's game between the No. 2 Blue Devils and reigning national champions Connecticut at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, N.J.

The ESPN commentator conducted the Duke Alumni Band during its 100th performance before the game and showed off his skills with a baton.

Bilas definitely thought his performance was worthy of applause and a few bows and made the occasion special for the alumni that volunteered to play at the marquee matchup.

The Alumni Band has become an important part of the Duke University Marching Band's ability to support Blue Devil athletics at regular-season neutral site games and at home games when school is not in session... Read more

The key three: Duke basketball vs. Connecticut

Looking to bounce back from their first lackluster performance of the season, the No. 2 Blue Devils will take on defending national champions Connecticut at 8 p.m. at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, N.J. Three keys to Duke earning its 10th win of the season:

Win the battle of the titans

Freshman Jahlil Okafor has impressed critics around the country with his play this season, particularly after the first 20-point, 20-rebound performance by a Blue Devil since Elton Brand in 1998 when the Chicago native scored 25 points and corralled 20 boards in Monday’s win against Elon. The center is nearly averaging a double-double and has showed poise and confidence in tough road environments like against the then-No. 2 Wiconsin Badgers in Madison Dec. 3.

However, he isn’t the only seven-footer to be reckoned with in Thursday’s game against Connecticut. The Huskies’ center, Amida Brimah, has made 20 of his last 21 shots across two games in which he combined for 54 points, including 40 points against Coppin State. The Ghana, native has also made 87... Read more

X factor: Duke basketball vs. Connecticut

Sanjeev Dasgupta / The Chronicle

After shaking off the rust from a week off in Monday's 75-62 victory over Elon, the Blue Devils will look to ace one of their toughest non-conference tests Thursday at 8 p.m. against the reigning national champion Connecticut at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, N.J.

We get you ready for tonight's game by breaking down a player on each team that could make the difference; check back with the Blue Zone to find out the x-factor before every Duke basketball game this season.

Duke: forward Amile Jefferson

The 6-foot-9 power forward doesn’t get the same shine as star freshman Jahlil Okafor, but will be crucial to Duke’s chances of pulling out a victory Thursday. In addition to serving as one of the biggest leaders in the locker room for this young squad, Jefferson has also made key contributions on the court for the Blue Devils. The Philadelphia, Pa., native has averaged 9.3 points per game—on a blistering 71-percent shooting mark from the floor—along with 7.9 rebounds per contest... Read more

Stock Watch: Tomlinson, Helton trending up after racking up postseason awards

The bell of the Blue Zone stock exchange has just rung again, meaning it's time for another taking a 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

Laken Tomlinson: Duke's right guard has cemented his legacy as one of the best Blue Devil football players ever with his impressive haul of postseason awards. Tomlinson became the first Duke player to be Read more

Jabari Parker likely out for season with torn ACL

When Jabari Parker fell to the ground awkwardly Monday while leading a fast break against the Phoenix Suns, the Milwaukee Bucks held their breath.

Their worst fears may have been realized.

Parker will likely miss the remainder of his rookie season after receiving bad news from an MRI Tuesday night. The Bucks suspect the No. 2 overall pick has a torn ACL, as first reported by ESPN's Marc Stein.

The former Blue Devil was driving to the basket against the Suns' P.J. Tucker on a breakaway when his knee appeared to give out on him. Parker fell into Tucker on his way to the ground, and had to be carried from the floor.

The initial diagnosis Monday night was that Parker had a sprained knee, but Tuesday's MRI revealed more serious damage... Read more

Beyond the Arc: Duke basketball vs. Elon

In No. 2 Duke’s first game since its win against then-No. 2 Wisconsin Dec. 3, the Blue Devils notched a 75-62 victory against Elon Monday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Freshman Jahlil Okafor had a career night on his 19th birthday. The 6-foot-11, 270-pound center stood four inches taller and 50 pounds heavier than any Elon starter, and he used that size difference to his advantage on his way to an incredible 25 points and 20 rebounds, both career highs. The 20 rebounds were also a freshman record for Duke, and helped Okafor pick up his second double-double of the young season.

Revisiting the three keys to the game:

  • Resume the rhythm on offense: The game got off to a sluggish start for both teams Monday with the first basket coming three minutes into the contest. As would be a common theme Monday, that bucket came from Okafor as he began to tear apart the Phoenix down low... Read more

Recruiting Roundup: Coaches make most out of bye week as possible 2016 package appears ready to emerge

As Duke's players headed to the library to study for final exams, the Blue Devil coaching staff head on the road and continued to scout heavily for the future.

Starting with the 2015 commits, assistant coach Nate James went to Las Vegas Wednesday night to watch center Chase Jeter lead his Bishop Gorman team to a 42-point win over Mojave. Jeter showcased his dominance on both sides of the ball scoring 18 points and adding 7 boards and 5 blocks.

While James was in Las Vegas, head coach Mike Krzyzewski, associate head coach Jeff Capel and assistant coach Jon Scheyer headed to Franklin, Ohio, to watch prized commit Luke Kennard... Read more