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Key three: Duke men's basketball must be more efficient offensively in matchup with Bellarmine

The Blue Devils will need their veterans, particularly Wendell Moore Jr., to step up in the scoring department Friday night.
The Blue Devils will need their veterans, particularly Wendell Moore Jr., to step up in the scoring department Friday night.

After a 75-69 loss at the hands of Michigan State, the Blue Devils are ready to take on Bellarmine in Mako Medical Duke Classic. The Blue Zone has you covered with three keys to a Blue Devil bounce-back against the Knights:

Shooting From the Field

Despite Tuesday night’s game against Michigan State ending in a disappointing loss, it isn’t hard to find what the Blue Devils are missing—effective shooting, from inside and beyond the arc. While the free throw percentage, which stood at 80 percent, was an important factor of Duke’s early lead in the game, it was the poor field goal and 3-point shooting percentages, standing at 32.3 percent and 21.7 percent, respectively, that caused Duke to trail by the end of the first half. 

Consistency, Consistency, Consistency

The young Duke squad had 22 turnovers in the first matchup of the season, but the 12 turnovers on Tuesday night was an indicator of improvement, especially when it was against a much tougher and experienced opponent. Nevertheless, inconsistency among players in the team is still clearly visible, as starters DJ Steward and Wendell Moore Jr, along with Joey Baker, shot a combined zero percent from the floor against Michigan State. Foul control was a problem as well, as Jeremy Roach and Baker both fouled out before the end of regulation, yet they only contributed 6 points combined.

While the game on Friday will be the first game for Bellarmine’s season, putting up consistent performances will always be a necessity for the team’s short and long-term success.

Discipline Matters

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges Duke will face throughout this season will be the lack of organization on offense. This could take a lot of time to overcome due to the team’s sluggish start coupled with the postponement of two games in the early season. Matthew Hurt improved his rebounding abilities from last season, but he will also need to improve his defense against the bigger post opponents. Roach and Moore, on the other hand, will need to overcome their assist-to-turnover ratios and tendency to foul in favor of  a smoother style of play. Overall, the Blue Devils will have to put their foot on the gas after building small leads.

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