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And one: Duke men's basketball falls to N.C. State after disappointing all-around performance

Tyrese Proctor contests Terquavion Smith's three-point attempt in last night's matchup.
Tyrese Proctor contests Terquavion Smith's three-point attempt in last night's matchup.

After each Duke men’s basketball game of the season, check back here for the Player of the Game and more. The Blue Devils fell handily to N.C. State last night, and the Blue Zone breaks down the loss:

One Player: Jarkel Joiner 

Duke's narrative of struggling on the road continues. On Wednesday night, that next chapter was in the hands of Jarkel Joiner. The graduate guard brought fast-paced energy for N.C. State and dropped 21 points, shooting 8-of-18 from the floor to contribute to the Blue Devils' downfall at PNC Arena. Averaging 37.3% from three this season, Joiner shot 50% from beyond the arc against Duke, going 5-of-10 from downtown. Arguably the most exceptional of those five came as the 6-foot-1 guard shot over Blue Devil captain Jeremy Roach to beat the halftime buzzer and bring the Wolfpack lead to 22 at the break. 

Joiner additionally docked nine assists, bordering a double-double, in conjunction with two steals and six rebounds during his 35 minutes of action. The Oxford, Miss., native maintained his control over the ball, and the game, committing zero turnovers while each of Duke’s starters had at least one. 

Joiner worked largely with star sophomore Terquavion Smith to lead the Wolfpack in scoring. Together, the two tallied 45 of N.C. State's 84 points, making up more than half of the team’s total.  

One Word: Disruptive

Not No. 16 Duke’s disruptive defense. But that of the unranked Wolfpack was the dominating force in this game. 

Without a doubt, N.C. State has a strong offense, led thus far by Smith, who averages 18.4 points per game. The Wolfpack are the conference's second-highest scoring offense at 79.8 points per game. However, what stood out against Duke, in addition to their usual dominant offensive performance, was the N.C. State defense.

Head coach Jon Scheyer’s team was unable to get comfortable and collect due to constant disruptions by the Wolfpack, including 10 steals, that led to turnovers and more messy play down the stretch. The Blue Devils struggled to get cohesive gameplay in motion. With multiple slip-ups on the defensive end of the floor, as well as an unproductive offensive showing, Duke fell to 2-2 in the ACC and 11-4 on the season. 

N.C. State turned its defensive efforts into offensive success all night. The Wolfpack converted 21 Duke turnovers into 30 points in addition to their nine blocked shots. Notably, with just over seven minutes left in the second half, Blue Devil freshman Tyrese Proctor pulled up from three only to be blocked by senior Casey Morsell who turned the rejection into an easy layup on the other end. 

Duke has been acclaimed this season for its defense. However, this game was a different story. It failed to stay composed, recording 18 total fouls. Graduate transfer Ryan Young even fouled out. Further, the Blue Devils allowed 84 points on Wednesday night, the most they have allowed of an opponent this season. 

Where Duke struggled, N.C. State shined. 

One Stat: 13 consecutive missed shots 

The Blue Devils led not once throughout the 40 minutes of play. Scheyer’s young team dug itself a gaping hole in the opening eight minutes and was unable to claw back. After going up 15-0, the Wolfpack held the lead for the entirety of the contest and made it nearly impossible for Duke to come back. By the halftime buzzer, the Blue Devils trailed 22-44; N.C. State had doubled the Duke total. Head coach Kevin Keatts’s team would eventually take a lead of 29 points and close the game with a winning margin of 24, officially blowing out the Blue Devils. 

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