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Led by Tre Jones, Duke men's basketball's offense fires on all cylinders Saturday

<p>Tre Jones conducted a masterpiece Saturday night, with his 23 points and five assists helping the Blue Devils piece together one of their best offensive showings of the season.</p>

Tre Jones conducted a masterpiece Saturday night, with his 23 points and five assists helping the Blue Devils piece together one of their best offensive showings of the season.

With one of the most lethal and efficient offenses in the nation, it is no surprise that five different Blue Devils have led the team in scoring on any given night this season. 

From the opening minute Saturday night in Cameron Indoor Stadium, the Blue Devils fired on all cylinders, breezing past Wake Forest en route to a 90-59 victory. Though Duke point guard Tre Jones starred with 23 points and five assists, the Blue Devils' dazzling offense was led by a true team effort, with nine different Duke players scoring, including five Blue Devils that reached double figures.

“As a point guard, I'm trying to set up our offense, whatever is the best shot for our offense each possession,” Jones said. “I'm just trying to read how the defense is playing and how they’re guarding certain guys.”

Although Jones’ stat line pops out in the box score, the offense flowed well with Jones and Jordan Goldwire in the backcourt, each finding the open man when an opportunity presented itself. 

The Blue Devils' offensive dominance came in large part thanks to the 3-pointer, with five different Duke players connecting from deep in the opening half. After Jones kicked off the contest with a triple, freshman Matthew Hurt downed one from the corner, with Joey Baker, Cassius Stanley and Jack White also getting in on the fun. As a team, the Blue Devils shot 6-for-10 from behind the arc before halftime.

In the first half, six Blue Devils scored at least five points, with Jones leading the way with 11 points and four assists, with the team as a whole shooting a deadly 62.5 percent from the field.

“I wish that all of them had eight points, so we have to improve on that,” head coach Mike Krzyzewski said jokingly. “We will have pretty balanced scoring, with some guys scoring a little more.”

In the second half, the story was the same, as a healthy mixture of Duke’s rotation players saw action in the blowout. In particular, after a strong first half with seven points, Stanley went on a run of his own, knocking down five free throws in a 75-second span to give him 12 points on the night. However, Stanley was not finished just yet.

With six minutes left, Stanley inched off to help on senior Javin DeLaurier’s defensive assignment. He then poked the ball out to Hurt, who picked it up and returned it to Stanley at midcourt with an open floor in front of the high-flying freshman. Two dribbles later, Stanley elevated from just inside the ACC logo in the paint for a right-handed slam dunk. On his next possession, Stanley dribbled right from the left wing, stopped for a split second to give him some space and drove right to the basket for his ninth consecutive point.

After Duke dominated inside in the first half, Wake Forest packed the paint, forcing the Blue Devils to score from the perimeter. Without the paint presence, the Blue Devils relied on their shooters to continue to increase the lead, as Carey, did not have a lot to work with in the final 20 minutes, concluding his night with eight points and six rebounds.

“We didn’t get the inside stuff tonight although they packed it in,” Krzyzewski said. “When Vernon did get the ball, they were right there, so thank goodness our perimeter came through.”

When the Blue Devils hit the hardwood again Tuesday against Clemson, the recipe for a Duke victory will be that the Tigers can't simply focus on shutting down the Blue Devil stars in Jones and Carey. The rest of the Duke team proved itself against Wake Forest to be able to step up and lead the team in spurts, causing headaches for any Blue Devil opponent.