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Film room: Duke men's basketball must clean up its offense against Miami

Jaylen Blakes pulls up for a jumper against Clemson.
Jaylen Blakes pulls up for a jumper against Clemson.

The Hurricanes are coming to Durham, and Duke men's basketball will have its hands full with the 17th-ranked team in the nation. The Blue Zone breaks down the film ahead of the matchup:

The Blue Devils still have 13 games left to play before the ACC tournament, and head coach Jon Scheyer’s squad has the chance to rebound this weekend with a win in its matchup against No. 17 Miami.

After their Elite Eight loss in last season’s NCAA tournament, the Hurricanes have come back stronger and more confident. Their strength is in their experience, as they bring back nine returners from their magical run last year in addition to picking up two third-year sophomores from the transfer portal.

The group from Coral Gables, Fla., is led by fourth-year junior Isaiah Wong—a crafty guard who can score in bunches and is the team’s offensive motor. The Piscataway, N.J., native is currently averaging 16.7 points and 3.8 assists per game on 45.5% shooting from the field. His best performance of the season came during Miami’s two-point win against Cornell, when he scored 36 points on 64.7% shooting to go along with seven rebounds and six assists. Check out this move where the 6-foot-4 guard stops on a dime and sinks the step-back triple. 

Wong isn’t the only veteran showing out this season, as fifth-year senior Jordan Miller and transfers Norchad Omier and Nijel Pack are all also averaging double digits in the scoring column. Omier, an Arkansas State transfer, has been a force in the paint for the Hurricanes, leading the team in rebounds and blocks at 10.2 and 1.5 per game, respectively. Take a look at Omier’s clutch block in Miami’s most recent victory against Syracuse.

The Blue Devils will need to get the ball out of Wong’s hands and win the physicality battle inside if they want to compete this weekend. The real key for Duke, though, will be quality possessions on offense. In the absence of veteran junior point guard Jeremy Roach, the Blue Devils’ offense has been a lot less smooth and clinical, like the play below.

In the clip, freshman forward Dariq Whitehead shoots a contested pull-up jumper with 23 seconds left on the shot clock. Whitehead is a talented player who is capable of making challenging shots, but the quick attempt resulted in a fast break for Clemson which ended in a basket and foul on Mark Mitchell. To beat an experienced Miami team, better-timed possessions, like the one in the clip below, will need to be more regular Saturday. 

In this possession, multiple Blue Devils touch the ball with efficient spacing and a lot of movement. The screen set by freshman Kyle Filipowski to free up fellow rookie Tyrese Proctor, followed by a ball screen on the dribble handoff with Proctor and graduate transfer Ryan Young created a two-on-one situation for the Blue Devils forcing the back defender to choose between giving up a Filipowski three or a Young layup. This means an guaranteed open shot for Duke, which is what Scheyer’s team will need in a competitive game.

The Hurricanes got off to a blazing start this season with a 13-1 record through the end of the 2022 calendar year. Since then, though, they have split their last four games, losing two to unranked opponents. If Duke wants to knock off just their second top-25 team, this is the time to do it. The Blue Devils are undefeated at home this season at 9-0. They will need a collective effort to protect that streak this Saturday afternoon.

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