They say the devil is in the details. But in Durham, the Blue Devils are in the details — and numbers:
In Duke men’s basketball’s most recent losses against Miami and Virginia, the team committed 21 and 22 turnovers, respectively. This was a large factor in the outcome of those games, and head coach Jon Scheyer preached the importance of limiting turnovers to be successful moving forward. The team responded, and during this four-game winning streak, the Blue Devils have averaged only 9.3 turnovers per game since. In Duke’s 79-62 win against Louisville, the Blue Devils committed six turnovers, representing their lowest total all season. Freshman forward Mark Mitchell has increased his level of play substantially; after committing a turnover in every ACC game this season, he has impressively not recorded a single turnover over his past four games. When the Blue Devils record 15 or fewer turnovers, the team is 19-4. However, when Duke gives away the ball more than 15 times, it is just 2-4. Therefore, limiting empty possessions offensively will be essential as the Blue Devils conclude regular season play this week.
While the men’s team has cut down its turnovers recently, Duke women’s basketball struggled offensively Sunday in its 45-41 loss to North Carolina. The Blue Devils committed 25 turnovers, their highest all season. Duke was suffocated by North Carolina’s aggressive defense, and never fully found its rhythm. To make matters worse, coupled with the high turnover count was an uncharacteristic assist performance, as the Blue Devils dished out a joint-season-low six assists. Despite this poor offensive output, the defense was able to keep Duke in the game, but in the end, the Tar Heels were too much. The Blue Devils have been plagued by high-turnover games throughout the season, averaging 15.3 per game. Nevertheless, due to a great conference slate, Duke is the No. 2-seed in the ACC tournament this week. On Friday, it will face the winner of North Carolina and one of Clemson or Pittsburgh.
It was an extremely impressive performance for Duke baseball this weekend, as the Blue Devils completed a sweep against Baylor. There were a number of record-breaking stats in the series, including that Duke scored 52 combined runs this weekend, the most in program history. Before clinching the sweep Sunday with a 10-3 victory, the Blue Devils routed the Bears Friday and Saturday, winning 20-1 and 22-3, respectively. Those games represented the first time in school history that the Blue Devils have scored more than 20 runs in two consecutive Division-I contests. A big part of this success has been sophomore infielder Alex Mooney, who recorded a hit in each of his first seven games. Duke will look to continue its hot streak this week Tuesday against No. 9 East Carolina, followed by a weekend series with Princeton.
Duke men’s tennis started off conference play on the right foot Friday, sweeping Boston College 7-0 and following this up the next day with another sweep against Charlotte. An important part of the matches is the doubles point, which is the tone-setter for the rest of the contest. The Blue Devils have clinched four-straight doubles points, their longest streak all season. This has led to three victories and a tough loss against No. 2 Kentucky on the road. The top doubles tandem of seniors Michael Heller and Andrew Zhang have developed great chemistry together, and they have achieved a 5-1 record on the season. Heller’s ability at the net coupled with Zhang’s reliable baseline game make for an excellent pairing. In addition, Garrett Johns and freshman Pedro Rodenas, the top two singles players, have played the No. 2 doubles line this season remarkably well. The pair has gone 8-2 this year, including winning the past four. The Blue Devils continue ACC play this week as they travel to Louisville, Ky., Friday to take on the Cardinals.
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