After each Duke men's basketball game this season, check back here for the Player of the Game and more. After starting their first-ever all-freshman lineup, the Blue Devils took down Maryland Eastern Shore with ease:
One player: Dariq Whitehead
The 6-foot-7 forward logged his best game of the year, recording 15 points, two rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block. The Newark, N.J., native was off to a slow start after missing a significant amount of time to injury, but with Saturday night’s performance, it looks like Whitehead will soon return to his pre-injury form.
One word: Polarizing
Without its captain, as junior Jeremy Roach was sidelined with a toe injury, the entire team stepped up in Duke’s 82-55 win against the Hawks. Freshman Dereck Lively II allowed the Blue Devils to take advantage of paint presence early with quick baskets and offensive rebounds, while sophomore Jaylen Blakes’ early entrance off the bench provided an instant defensive spark. Lively’s speed was also on full display as he racked up a total of five blocks, four of which occurred in the first half. And freshman Jaden Schutt, who made all three of his attempts from behind the arc, provided excitement for both fans and the team. Most importantly, the squad created open looks and made 40% of its shots from three, thanks to an offense oriented around passing and transition. All in all, the Blue Devils looked exciting all night, as the rotation showcased players' different abilities during different stages of the game.
However, the entire game was also plagued by turnovers, as Duke only had 18 assists against 19 turnovers. Nevertheless, the Blue Devils' ability to build and maintain a commanding lead made turnovers seem like less of an issue.
One stat: 37 combined turnovers
While Duke took control of the game from the start, it also showed its lack of ball security, as it committed a total of 19 turnovers, 13 of which came from the starting five. However, Maryland Eastern Shore had 18 turnovers itself, further highlighting the sloppiness on both ends of the floor throughout the game. The Blue Devils will have to play with more caution and minimize turnovers, especially when playing against better and more physical defenses in their upcoming ACC games.
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