Duke showed why it’s the No. 2 team in the country during a 95-62 thrashing of Miami Saturday night. The Blue Zone takes a look at three key takeaways, stats and looks forward for the Blue Devils:
Three key takeaways:
1. Keeping it moving
The Blue Devils’ offense was predicated on motion and ball movement throughout Saturday’s matchup. Duke executed extremely well during the course of the 33-point victory, working the ball around the perimeter and looking for the best shot available. With the Hurricanes breaking out a 2-3 zone at certain points during the game, the Blue Devils showed their ability to stay patient and move without the ball to exploit the holes in the defense. With Duke assisting on 57.5 percent of its field goals, it was obvious that the strategy was to go through all the options on every offensive possession.
2. Goldwire gaining trust
With Tre Jones in foul trouble during the first half, the coaching staff looked to Jordan Goldwire for steady point guard play. While the junior had just three points, his impact cannot be boiled down to the box score. Goldwire got the Blue Devils into their offensive sets consistently and handled the 2-3 zone that Miami implemented with ease. The Georgia native also hounded the dynamic Chris Lykes, holding the Hurricanes’ high-usage playmaker to just eight points on 2-of-15 shooting. Once Jones returned to the contest, Duke utilized Goldwire as an off guard to give the defense a different look. With no turnovers in 26 minutes, it appears as though Goldwire is providing exactly what the Blue Devils need.
3. Freshman duo dominates
Freshmen Vernon Carey Jr. and Cassius Stanley carried a significant portion of the scoring load Saturday, with the two “Diaper Dandies” putting up 24 and 20 points, respectively. Carey was simply unstoppable in the low post, using his pure strength and elite footwork en route to another impressive performance. It was a special night for the Florida native, as his father was a standout offensive lineman for Miami and there were many relatives in attendance. As for Stanley, the high-flying Californian showcased his ability to get to the rim in a flash and rise above the rim protectors. Both freshmen played with poise and maturity, contributing greatly to Duke pulling away once it took the lead for good about midway through the first half.
Three key stats:
17 more rebounds
Miami has been a consistent proponent of the small-ball craze in recent years, and that trend continued Saturday. The Blue Devils needed to take advantage of their clear size advantage, and they did exactly that by outrebounding the hosts 41-24. Duke’s hustle and fight on the offensive glass resulted in multiple shot opportunities during a single possession, and the Blue Devils’ prowess on the defensive glass jumpstarted the fast break.
59.7 percent from the field
Duke was hot from the floor during the contest, shooting at a 59.7 percent clip on 67 attempts. Through crisp offensive execution, the Blue Devils displayed how efficient they can really be when everything is firing on all cylinders. While making nearly three out of every five field goal attempts won’t happen every night, trusting the system and staying patient clearly results in Duke getting great looks from all over the court.
Alongside the 88-49 drubbing of Boston College on New Year’s Eve and 77-63 defeat of Virginia Tech in early December, Duke’s 95-62 victory over the Hurricanes puts its average margin of victory during ACC play at 28.7 points, an impressive feat especially considering the fact that two of the Blue Devils’ three conference matchups have been on the road. Staying focused will be the key for Duke to continue its domination of the ACC.
The Blue Devils hit the road again, this time to take on Georgia Tech in Atlanta Jan. 8. The Yellow Jackets are fresh off a 96-83 win against North Carolina, so they will be riding high heading into Wednesday’s tilt with Duke. Duke exited the Miami game completely healthy, so look for a full rotation once again.
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Max Rego is a Trinity senior and an associate sports editor for The Chronicle's 118th volume. He was previously sports managing editor for Volume 117.