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Key three: Duke men's basketball must post balanced effort against Boston College

<p>Cassius Stanley and the Blue Devils are looking for their fourth straight victory.</p>

Cassius Stanley and the Blue Devils are looking for their fourth straight victory.

Before Duke's matchup with Boston College, the Blue Zone gives you three keys to the game:

Keep spreading the wealth

Duke’s biggest asset this season has arguably been the depth of its roster. There have been times when the Blue Devils seem completely unstoppable, and a common thread in those games is that the entire roster finds a way to contribute. This depth was on display again in Duke’s win against Syracuse Saturday night. Of the nine Blue Devils who played, eight appeared in the scoring column and five reached double digits. Alex O’Connell contributing 11 points against the Orange is an auspicious sign in a season where his production has been close to nonexistent.

Duke's win over Boston College earlier in the season was a perfect example of its potential to stuff the box score. Every single player scored, Matthew Hurt had one of his best games of the season with 25 points and Duke easily dispatched the Eagles by 39. While playing Boston College on the road will pose a tougher challenge, if every Blue Devil finds a way to contribute, Duke should emerge from the contest unscathed.

Good defense?

The Carrier Dome in Syracuse is always a tough place to play, and an 11-point win, along with scoring 97 points, is definitely a good sign for Duke. However, giving up 88 points in regulation is a little worrisome for a team whose defense is one of its strongest assets. Those 88 points were the highest mark of the season given up by the Blue Devils, three points higher than in the Stephen F. Austin loss.

However, there is room for optimism. Saturday's game was very high paced, and the Blue Devils held the Orange to just 38.6 percent shooting from the field and 23.1 percent shooting from 3-point range. When Boston College last came to Cameron Indoor in late December, they were held to only 49 points. While it might be unrealistic to expect Duke to repeat that performance, as long as it doesn’t have a complete defensive breakdown, there shouldn’t be any reason for concern.

Core four

Tre Jones has been the undisputed leader of this year’s Duke team, however, the last couple of games have seen freshmen Cassius Stanley, Matthew Hurt and Vernon Carey Jr. solidify themselves as integral pieces to complement Jones. These four players are the only Blue Devils averaging over 10 points per game, and they’ve found ways to be extremely productive beyond just getting buckets. 

Carey is leading the team with almost nine rebounds per game, while Jones is also making a case for ACC Player of the Year, averaging 6.8 assists along with 15 points. Stanley and Hurt are two of Duke’s most efficient players, both shooting above 50 percent from the field. Having a bonafide core four of stars will be a huge asset against any opponent, and look for the group to have another great game against Boston College


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