After each Duke men's basketball game this season, check back here for the Player of the Game and more. Today, the Blue Zone breaks down a solid game from Paolo Banchero and the rest of Duke's hard-fought win against Campbell:
One player: Paolo Banchero
For the third straight game to start the year, Banchero has put up at least 18 points, and this time he led the team in scoring. His efficiency was strong yet again, as he went 7-for-11 from the field, including 7-for-8 from inside the arc. His impressive ability to get to the rim allows him to boast such a high percentage of shot-making, but his mid-range game has been particularly strong. Thus far, he has certainly lived up to the hype he built as a top recruit.
As for his work on the defensive side, Banchero spent much of the game as the tallest man on the court. This size advantage allowed him to pull down seven boards while adding one steal on top of that. His presence in the paint helped keep Campbell’s field goal percentage down to 36.1% as Duke erased an early deficit. His quickness also allowed for important switches out to the perimeter if need be, and overall the small-ball lineup created some impressive stops to allow Duke to dig out of a 10 point hole.
One word: Shooting
The 3-point shots are finally beginning to fall. After going an ice-cold 1-of-12 from long range against Kentucky, the Blue Devils quickly proved that 3-point shooting was not a weak point on this team. When facing Army, nine shots fell, but only at a 31.0% clip. Against Campbell, however, another nine threes were made, this time at 39.1%.
Each game, the shots have been getting better and better, however, there are still improvements to be made. While it is not the strongest part of his game, Paolo Banchero going 0-for-3 from distance is proof that there are still players on this team not reaching their full potential from downtown. As the Blue Devils storm through the rest of their nonconference schedule, it is important to continue to find their form. Key in on AJ Griffin and Banchero as two individuals who can give this team a huge boost if they can get going from beyond the arc.
One stat: Five turnovers from Paolo
For Duke Basketball fanatics, it was pretty clear that the last two games, despite the wins, were pretty sloppy on the offensive end. Passes were slipping out of hands and dribbles and possessions were lost due to careless play. By the end of the game against Campbell, Duke had only taken 50 shots compared to the opponent's 61. Without careless play, the 11-point victory could have been even larger.
One player, despite being voted Player of the Game, can be looked to for cleaner play—Banchero. By all indications, the freshman out of Seattle has been a star. However, he turned the ball over five times Saturday night. Some arrant passes sailed over the heads of his teammates, in part causing the disparity in the number of scoring chances. No one will be more disappointed with that stat than Banchero himself, as he likely knows he will need to clean up his play when tougher opponents come walking into Cameron Indoor.
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