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And one: AJ Griffin catches fire from deep, helps Duke men's basketball find its footing late against Louisville

Freshman forward AJ Griffin hit all five of his 3-point shots in Duke's win at Louisville.
Freshman forward AJ Griffin hit all five of his 3-point shots in Duke's win at Louisville.

After each Duke men's basketball game this season, check back here for the Player of the Game and more. Today, the Blue Zone takes another look at AJ Griffin's shooting clinic and the rest of the Blue Devils' win against Louisville:

One player: AJ Griffin

Scoring the most points of any player once again, AJ Griffin was undoubtedly Saturday's Player of the Game. With 22 points in 34 minutes, the Ossining, N.Y., native made sure to use his time on the floor—and mainly his time on the wing—effectively. With accuracy from afar, the small forward drained 5-of-5 baskets from downtown and an additional 3-of-8 from inside the arc.

Louisville was also strong from beyond the arc, hitting 8-of-22 triples thanks to the work of many different players, while Duke only went 6-of-20 from range with six total shot-takers. The closest player to fare as well as Griffin was Mark Williams with his 14 points, showing just how much of a difference the first-year forward made. Thanks to Griffin’s efforts, the Blue Devils remained competitive despite the Cardinals’ persistence, allowing them to take the contest in the end.

One word: Recovery

With the Blue Devils only leading by five as the time in the first half ticked to zero, the group needed to return to the floor with something special to keep the Cardinals from overtaking their lead. Early on, finishing the first nine minutes of play with a 15-point lead, it seemed that the Blue Devils had little to worry about. However, that didn’t ring true when Louisville regrouped and surged to score 24 points in the second 10 minutes of the half. 

But nearly two and half minutes into the second half, Louisville caught up to Duke, tying it in the score. And though the Blue Devils were able to inch away from the Cardinals, the group managed to catch up once more to tie the game 60-60 with less than nine minutes left. That was the last time Duke allowed the Cardinals to believe they had a chance to walk away with a win, as the Blue Devils played impeccable defense for the remainder of the contest, going on a 12-0 scoring run. Louisville was able to add five more points to its side of the scoreboard before the game finished, but Duke’s late recovery defined the game, as they ended the game with a nine-point margin of victory.

One stat: 47 team rebounds

Finishing the match with their most rebounds since a win against Georgia Tech earlier in conference play, the Blue Devils strived to maintain possession as the group played Louisville, recording 47 boards on the day. By getting more possessions than the opposition, Duke didn’t have to be perfect at making its shots and was able to just prevent the Cardinals from getting the ball enough to drain baskets. 

Leading the group in rebounds were starters Paolo Banchero and Williams, who went for 15 and 11, respectively. With these players leading the way, the Blue Devils ended the match with 68 attempts from the field to Louisville’s 59. Though the score stood tied three times throughout the contest, Duke was able to finally get the extra magic it needed to defeat their opponents through their rebounds. That magic came from the 18 rebounds the Blue Devils had from when the score was 60-60 to the final buzzer. Taking the ball any opportunity they could, the Blue Devils limited their opponents to five points as they scored an extra 14.

Ana Young | Assistant Blue Zone Editor

Ana Young is a Trinity sophomore and an assistant Blue Zone editor of The Chronicle’s 118th volume.


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