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X-Factor: Joey Baker looks to energize Duke men's basketball in return to Cameron Indoor Stadium

Time will tell if Baker ends up being a consistent role player for Duke this season
Time will tell if Baker ends up being a consistent role player for Duke this season

After a dominating showing at the 2K Empire Classic, Duke returns to Cameron Indoor Stadium to take on Stephen F. Austin. The Blue Zone analyzes a key player from each team that could make the difference Tuesday night:

Duke: Forward Joey Baker

The battle against Stephen F. Austin shouldn’t be a tough one for Duke this coming week, but a little help from Joey Baker could go a long way for the Blue Devils. Although it’s too early to tell whether Baker is going to be a consistent and reliable player this season, he has had a few shining moments thus far. Baker had a solid performance against Georgia State, sinking two back-to-back shots from beyond the arc en route to a career-high eight points. The Fayetteville, N.C., native will have to take advantage of this matchup with effective 3-point shooting and lockdown defense if he hopes to earn more playing time in the future.

The 6-foot-7 sophomore has proven to have some chemistry with teammate Tre Jones. The duo can go a long way in this matchup, as Jones will expectedly have a lot of pressure on him from the Lumberjacks and will hope to look to Baker for some smooth treys. Baker has added a lot of energy to the game coming off the bench lately and his attitude on the court will hype up the rest of his team as well. Building up his teammates with his contagious explosiveness will allow the Blue Devils to ride the game on high momentum.

Stephen F. Austin: Guard Kevon Harris

The Lumberjacks present a roster with a lot of fresh faces this season. Of the team's ten leaders in minutes last season, only four return to don the purple and white this year, including senior Kevon Harris. Harris will be an important figure in this matchup for Stephen F. Austin and will be crucial to whether this will be a blowout game or not. The Georgia native leads his team with 19.4 points per game, outscoring his teammates by quite a long shot—forward Gavin Kensmil comes in second at 12.0 points per contest. 

Duke’s defense will put a lot of pressure on Harris, as he’s the dominant man on the Lumberjacks' roster. However, this shouldn’t be much of a problem for the guard, as he has a well-developed game beyond the arc, shooting 40 percent from deep on the year. Harris is an all-around solid shooter, shooting 48.4 percent from the field so far this season as well. The 6-foot-6 guard also poses as a threat on the boards with 5.8 rebounds per game.

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