The Blue Devils will host No. 25 Ohio State Wednesday night as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Before the matchup, the Blue Zone analyzes a player from both sidelines that may lead their team to a win:
Duke: Tyrese Proctor
The No. 17 Blue Devils did not walk away from the Phil Knight Legacy championship unscathed, falling to No. 24 Purdue 75-56. Despite the loss, freshman Tyrese Proctor scored a career-high and team-leading 16 points against the Boilermakers. The Sydney native played nearly the entire contest, using his crafty ball-handling skills and smooth jumper to lead the team. With growing confidence and a knack for creating his own plays, Proctor has what it takes to be the difference-maker against Ohio State. If the 6-foot-5 guard can find some consistency, in spite of his youth, he may be Duke’s weapon during the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
“[Tyrese] didn’t have the best game against Xavier, then he bounces back and does that," head coach Jon Scheyer said at the post-game media conference.
Proctor logged zero points in Duke’s win against Xavier in the second round of the tournament, then drained shots at a clip of 53.8% in the championship while also getting five rebounds and three assists.
The Australian player has also had some great moments in Durham. When Delaware traveled to Duke, Proctor recorded his first career double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. He also displayed his depth against Bellarmine in Durham with eight rebounds, two assists, two blocks and two buckets from three. When the Buckeyes come to town, Proctor will need to show up as he did against Purdue, Delaware and Bellarmine to give the Blue Devils a chance to rebuild following the Phil Knight Legacy tournament. If his most recent performance is any indicator of what’s to come, Proctor may help hand Ohio State another loss.
Ohio State: Justice Sueing
This time last year, Ohio State hosted Duke in Columbus, Ohio, where it faced a 71-66 loss—the first of the season. Head coach Chris Holtmann’s team looks to repeat that upset this year. Now-ranked just eight spots behind Duke, Ohio State must shut down the acclaimed freshman-heavy team for a full 40 minutes of play. Last year, then-sophomore Zed Key scored a career-high 20 points to defeat the top-ranked Blue Devils. This year, forward Justice Sueing has what it takes to lead the charge to a Blue Devil defeat.
The transfer from California averaged a team-high 14.3 points and 6.0 rebounds per game as a sophomore with the Golden Bears. Having sat out the majority of last season due to an abdominal injury, it is clear that the starting forward looks healthy again and is ready to make a huge impact for the Buckeyes. Earlier this season, Sueing was crucial in Ohio State’s season-opening 91-53 rout of Robert Morris, recording a team-high 20 points from going 8-of-14 in shots including two from beyond the arc.
Wednesday, the 6-foot-6 senior led the then-unranked Buckeyes past then-No. 21 Texas Tech at the Maui Invitational tournament. The Honolulu native notched eight rebounds and a career-high 33 points against the Red Raiders, 23 of which came in the second half. During the final 10 minutes of play, Sueing added 15 consecutive points for the Buckeyes to halt any attempts at a Red Raider run. This impressive second-half push will be crucial against Duke, who has proved itself to be a second-half team. Sueing decorated the entire stat sheet against Texas Tech, going 12-for-19 from the field along with five assists and two steals. With this momentum, he shall look to carry his success from Maui to Cameron Indoor Stadium.
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