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Recapping the week in Duke athletics: Men's basketball continues to struggle, Zheng sinks hole-in-one

Duke struggled to contain Louisville's guards throughout Saturday's loss.
Duke struggled to contain Louisville's guards throughout Saturday's loss.

Each week, we’ll recap how each of Duke’s sports currently in competition performed over the last week, and give a brief look ahead.

Men’s basketball

Duke is getting close to a point of no return this season, with losses at Pittsburgh and Louisville pushing the Blue Devils to 5-5 overall and 3-3 in ACC play. The NCAA tournament isn’t out of reach just yet, but with a shortened season, every game matters even more as teams build their March Madness resumé. Duke did play one of its better games of the season against the Cardinals, but still finds itself on its first three-game losing streak since 2016. The Blue Devils will look to get in the win column Tuesday night against Georgia Tech. -Jake Piazza

Men’s golf

In its first competition since last March, Duke finished fourth out of 10 teams in the three-day Camp Creek Seminole Invitational from Jan. 17-19. The 26th-ranked Blue Devils were led by senior Evan Katz and freshman Ian Siebers, who both tied for ninth place at two-under 214. Elsewhere on the links, freshman Jimmy Zheng found the bottom of the cup for a hole-in-one during the final round, the program’s first hole-in-one in an NCAA event since 2016 and fifth overall. Duke is off this week as it prepares for an early February trip to Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., for the Sea Best Invitational. -Max Rego

Women’s tennis 

For the first time since 2008, Duke won’t be competing at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships. The sixth-ranked Blue Devils fell to No. 12 Georgia Tech Sunday to close out the ITA Kickoff Weekend, with the Yellow Jackets thus earning the bid to the 16-team midseason tournament Feb. 5-8.

Duke (2-1) held an early 3-1 lead Sunday but faltered down the stretch, with head coach Jamie Ashworth saying his team reverted to defensive play and “kind of hoped that Georgia Tech would miss rather than do what we did to put ourselves in those [winning] positions.” The Blue Devils will look to bounce back Sunday against Furman. -Evan Kolin

Men’s tennis

The 23rd-ranked Blue Devil men struggled during their ITA Kickoff Weekend Sunday through Monday, falling to both No. 20 South Carolina and Northwestern. Duke (0-2) is one of the younger teams in the country this season—sophomores make up four of the six spots in its singles rotation—and that youth was evident throughout the team’s opening weekend en route to losses of 4-1 and 4-0, respectively. The Blue Devils will look to bounce back Friday against Campbell. -Kolin

Wrestling

Duke’s dual-meet losing streak extended to 28 Friday night, with the team falling to No. 13 North Carolina 29-9. Three Blue Devils secured individual wins during the meet, with freshman Logan Agin, 19th-ranked redshirt junior Josh Finesilver and sophomore Jonah Niesenbaum taking home victories at 125 pounds, 149 pounds and heavyweight, respectively. Agin’s victory marked the first of his collegiate career. While Duke has looked competitive enough to indicate it can break its long losing streak at some point this season, that likely won’t happen in the team’s next meet against No. 6 Virginia Tech this upcoming Friday  -Kolin

Indoor track and field 

Another week, and another set of stand-out performances by senior Erin Marsh and sophomore Ezra Mellinger, this time in the Hokie Invite Jan. 22-23. Marsh picked up right where she left off last season, taking home first place in her first pentathlon since winning the event at the 2020 ACC Indoor Championships. Mellinger, meanwhile, leapt his way to another first-place finish in the long jump with a new personal record of 7.63 meters. 

Senior Leigha Torino also impressed during the meet, competing in her first-ever 1000-meter and securing the third-best time in Duke indoor history. The Blue Devils will split between two meets Feb. 5-6, with part of the team competing at the Camel City Invitational and the rest competing at the Virginia Tech Elite Meet. -Piazza

Duke swimming and diving did not compete this week. The Blue Devils will return to action this coming Friday against North Carolina.

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