The independent news organization of Duke University

X-Factor: Duke men's basketball's Matthew Hurt needs to find offensive rhythm against Boston College

<p>Matthew Hurt led Duke in scoring with 20 points in the first half.</p>

Matthew Hurt led Duke in scoring with 20 points in the first half.

Before the Blue Devils take on Boston College in their conference home opener, the Blue Zone gives you a player to watch from each team Tuesday night:

Duke: Forward Matthew Hurt

The Blue Devils suddenly cannot shoot from beyond the arc. Whether it's the extra holiday treats or something else throwing them off, the Blue Devils hit just 12.5 percent of their 3-pointers against Brown.

Hurt, a 6-foot-9 “matchup nightmare," is draining treys at a 38.5 percent rate thus far, and the Blue Devils will need him to hit at a similar ratio to pull away from a Boston College team looking for a major upset.

Hurt will need to use his size and touch to become a secondary scoring option against the Eagles, as the offense has occasionally gone on stretches that are downright questionable with Vernon Carey Jr. subbed out of the game for Duke.

Being able to kick it out to the freshman will cause matchup problems for the Eagles, and if he is hitting from downtown, Hurt can facilitate quick slashes and passes to wide open teammates for easy buckets.

Boston College: Guard Derryck Thornton

The leading scorer for the Eagles will need to be in prime form to match up against a newly crowned No. 2 Duke team.

So far this season, Thornton has racked up an average of 13.8 points per game to go with 3.6 dimes per contest. Boston College has put together a well-balanced supporting cast behind him too, with two others averaging over 10 points per game and sharing the ball handling duties.

However, Thornton will need to kick his game up a notch facing Duke's tough defense. At 6-foot-3, he stands taller than most quick guards, which will likely give him an edge compared to other scoring point guards who have stepped up against the Blue Devils previously.

His 195-pound frame will also likely play a role in defending Tre Jones, who is back from injury tonight after missing two games. While students are not back on campus yet, Cameron Indoor will still be raucous, and Jones will be looking to make up for lost time with a statement statline over a conference opponent in the last game of the calendar year.

Comments