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 monster game from Trevor Keels and the rest of Duke's dominant 82-64 win at Clemson:
One player: Trevor Keels
Keel Mode is back. After a brief hiatus due to injury and a slow start back, the freshman looked like the first-round NBA pick he could ultimately become. Trevor Keels came off the bench to deliver a 25-point, 11-rebound performance that propelled the Blue Devils to their 18-point victory.
Keels was electric on offense. He shot 9-for-13 from the field, including 3-of-6 from beyond the arc. His scorching hot second half—which he began with only two points with 1-for-4 shooting on the books—pushed the Blue Devils away from the pesky Tigers. He stepped up when he was needed, providing Duke with a boost off the bench that they had been sorely missing since he went down Jan. 18 against Florida State. Now that he seems to have regained his mojo and confidence, that starting spot could be his once again.
One word: Rebounding
There’s no denying that Monday night's loss against Virginia was rough. Duke played far below its ceiling and lost on a heartbreaking 3-pointer that gave Virginia the lead with a second left. The loss crushed the momentum that Duke had built up over its five-game win streak that culminated in the blowout rivalry victory. The Blue Devils needed to bounce back, and they did. The offense was firing and the defense was strong. While not perfect, Duke returned to its strengths.
That strength against Clemson was rebounding. Duke dominated the boards, grabbing 42 rebounds to the Tigers' 33. In the first half, Clemson was held to just a single offensive rebound. Paolo Banchero and Keels were both in double digits for Banchero’s sixth double-double and Keels’ first. The duo’s performance was reminiscent of the domination in the season opener against Kentucky when they combined for 47 points. The improved showing all around bodes well for the Blue Devils as they finish out their ACC slate and approach the postseason.
One stat: Four double-digit scorers
After shooting about 42% from the field against Virginia, Duke dialed up the offensive production. Against Clemson, the Blue Devils shot 49% from the field while holding the Tigers to 38%. The Blue Devils also made four more 3-pointers as they eclipsed 80 points for just the third time in conference play.
While Keels led the team in scoring by far with his monster 25-point day, three Duke starters contributed double-digits performances. AJ Griffin found his touch from the arc once again, making 4-of-5 for a 12 point showing. Mark Williams was perfect from the field on his eight attempts. Banchero put up 15, even though he shot just 33% from the field. The offensive firepower was much-needed after a down scoring performance, and Duke will need to keep it up in order to finish the season strong.
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