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Beyond the arc: Duke men's basketball's bench and defense lead to victory over Wofford

<p>Javin DeLaurier committed zero fouls Thursday night.</p>

Javin DeLaurier committed zero fouls Thursday night.

After a lengthy break for finals, the Blue Devils returned in glorious fashion to thrash Wofford 86-57. The Blue Zone gives you three key takeaways and stats for a deeper look at Duke’s win:

Three key takeaways:

1. Joey gets buckets

Sophomore forward Joey Baker has been a reliable contributor this season and at times has shown glimpses of excellence, such as a 16-point performance against Winthrop. However, that clearly wasn’t enough for him as he shattered all expectations against Wofford. 

Leading the team in scoring for the first time in his career, Baker totaled 22 points in just 18 minutes. He proved once again that he can be one of the few reliable long-distance shooters on the team, converting 5 of 7 3-point attempts on his way to a legendary performance.

2. Blue Devils stifle Wofford stars

The Terriers needed everything to go right for a win Thursday, especially a strong performance from their top dogs: Storm Murphy and Nathan Hoover. Averaging 14.5 and 13.6 points per game, respectively, the pressure was on these two guards from the tip to lead the offensive effort. Unfortunately for Wofford, Duke had the duo locked up, combining for just 12 points on 5 for 20 shooting.

3. Bench makes up for Jones’ absence

Duke’s most skilled team captain, Tre Jones, sat out for the first time this season due to a mild foot sprain. Fortunately for the Blue Devils, the rest of the team stepped up with confidence and came out firing on all cylinders. The Duke bench combined for 43 points, exactly half of the team’s final total. The majority of the bench points came from Baker and Matthew Hurt, who combined for an efficient 12 for 20 from the field.

Three key stats:

1. Carey Jr. goes 8-for-11

Vernon Carey Jr. set up camp under the basket and ate up buckets all night long, converting on 8 of 11 field goal attempts. With a clear size advantage over his Wofford matchups, he showed no mercy in the post and bodied every defender who crossed his path.

2. Duke out-blocks Wofford 6-0

The well-rested Blue Devils entered the game with plenty of energy to pull off hustle plays left and right. One clear indicator of Duke’s superior aggression was six blocks compared to Wofford’s zero. Led by Justin Robinson’s three swats in just five minutes, the effort was balanced and effective for demoralizing the Terriers.

3. DeLaurier commits zero fouls

For the second time this season, it appears that Javin DeLaurier has found a way to channel his aggression in a more legal way. At one point this year, the senior averaged more fouls than points, however, he is clearly starting to turn a corner in his defensive prowess. There are many things to be optimistic about with this Duke team, and DeLaurier's newfound self control should be near the top of that list.

Looking forward:

The Blue Devils will have yet another long break before their next game against Brown in Cameron Indoor Stadium Dec. 28. The Bears' path to victory is slim, as they are currently 5-5 against a slew of mediocre teams. As long as Duke comes out hot and shakes off any rust in the early minutes, there is no reason to believe that this shouldn’t be an easy home win.


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