The Duke Blue Devils played their best forty minutes of basketball this season. The result was an impressive 74-52 ACC win over Virginia Tech. The win sets up a situation where the (9-4 ACC, 21-5 overall) Blue Devils can move into second place with a win at Clemson this weekend.
Duke played zone the entire contest and more importantly they talked to one another on the defensive end. "We stress talk. The system we try to teach is offense, defense and communication. But defensively, especially in zone, when you are talking you will be wider," said Krzyzewski.
The Duke coach also acknowledged it was his teams best defensive game of the season. The Blue Devils helped themselves after a half time adjustment where the Hokies had nine turnovers after just one at the break.
Grayson Allen led Duke with 25 points and was the kind of leader the staff envisioned for Duke tonight. "He's our leader. We've had him off the ball a lot, so he has tried to lead from there but the ball is not in his hands. With the ball in his hands he can make plays and call plays and is in more command, said Krzyzewski.
You can expect the strategy of Allen having the ball in his hands more to continue for Krzyzewski acknowledged it has helped the team in their last two outings.
All of the Duke players Blue Devil Nation spoke with after the game said this was their best 40 minute effort of the season. And all of them had things to say about their communication in a zone defense that held a potent Hokies team to just 52 points.
Gary Trent Jr. added 19 points for Duke. He was joined by Revon Duval (10 points) and Wendell Carter Jr. (13 points and 13 rebounds) as double figure scorers.
Duke started Marques Bolden (2 blocked shots) in the first half but opted for Javin DeLaurier in the second half. DeLarurier played with energy and went 3 for 3 from the field and was on the end of some outstanding passes. Those scores helped Duke gain continued energy in their victory.
The Blue Devils also scored 18 second chance points and tallied seven steals in the game to just one for the Hokies. Duke held a monster advantage on the boards with a 36-19 advantage despite their leading scorer and rebounder in Marvin Bagley III being sidelined with an injury.
Duke can take over sole possession of 2nd place in the ACC with a win at Clemson this Sunday. That game tips off at 1:00 and will be televised by the ACC Network.
The No. 4 rated Duke Blue Devils bounced back from their third defeat of the season for a 88-66 win over Notre Dame. The Blue Devils push their ACC record to 7-3 and stand 9-3 overall.
Duke was coming off an emotional loss to conference leader Virginia and scored their 23rd win against the Fighting Irish against 7 losses. in the series.
Duke was paced by Gary Trent Jr. who tallied a double-double 22 points and 10 rebounds. Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski praised his game as efficient.
Grayson Allen also drew his coaches praise, where Krzyzewski said he played his best game in his last several outings. Allen finished the game with a team high 8 assists to go with 18 points.
Wendell Carter Jr. added 17 points and 7 rebounds as he continued his consistent play. Trevon Duval knocked down the games most critical three-point shot when Duke needed it most. The freshman PG struggled in the 1st half but ended the game with 12 points and 4 assists.
Marvin Bagley III coming off his sixth ACC Rookie of the Week honor had an off night by his standards with 12 points and 8 rebounds.
The story of the game for Duke was the spark Jack White gave the team off the bench. "It's great when you get that kind of performance from a player you are not expecting it from," said Krzyzewski.
White finished the game with 7 points and 5 rebounds as the Cameron Crazies chanted his name on several occasions.
Duke also gained he services of Marques Bolden back after missing several games due to injury.
The Blue Devils dominated the boards with a 43-27 edge. The Irish struggled from the three-point stripe in the second half as Duke led by 30 points at one point.
A battered Notre Dame team hung tight for much of the game but with three key players out, they were no match for Duke on their home floor.
Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski notched his 1090th win which is the most of any coach in NCAA history.
The Blue Devils will now enjoy a few days off before taking on St. Johns in their last non conference game of the season this coming Saturday. That game will be played New York and tips off at noon on the Fox Network.
Well, I can't tell you how many times Duke basketball has played 9:00 games in late January on the road at Winston Salem. The result was nice for the Blue Devil faithful but these games are no fun for the team due to travel and early morning classes. And with that said, lets jump into the sixth edition of 10 Random Thoughts on Duke Basketball.
The most important thing we learned last night...
...was that the young team is learning how to handle their business on the road. Duke has now won five consecutive conference games and more importantly, three of those wins have come on the road. The team is getting better after the lessons they learned in losses to Boston College and N.C. State on the road. The resurgence has positioned the team in sole possession of 3rd place in a tough 14 team league.
Who played well and who didn't
Firstly, Grayson Allen comes to mind. He is still struggling a bit with his shot but put up a big time stat line while running the team. By his running the team, that obviously means that Trevon Duval did not have a good game. In fact, Duval had perhaps his worst game of the season. Gary Trent Jr. has been playing his best basketball of the season since the loss to N.C. State. And all Wendell Carter Jr. and Marvin Bagley III did was once again tallying double-doubles. And then Alex O'Connell came off the bench to play 20 minutes of good ball. As for Javin DeLaurier, he still seems to be getting back into the flow of things upon his return from injury.
No, I am not talking about the title of a Stephen King book. I am speaking to the fact that Duke has perhaps their most important home stand of the season coming up this Saturday and then Monday night. And their opponents will be #2 Virginia and conference nemesis Notre Dame. Cameron needs to be on point.
Speaking of the Virginia game
It is not often the home crowd in Cameron or anywhere else are treated to a top 5 match up. But that is what we get this Saturday and there is plenty of incentive for the Blue Devils in this contest. Lets start with the fact that Virginia is undefeated in the league and atop the standings ranked #2 in the nation. Duke Basketball can flip the script with concern to the ranking and pull within a game in the standings with a win.
The keys to a win will be ...
Well, Virginia is good on defense. And they knock down their free throws. Quite simply Duke must have great shot selection in this game for possessions need to count. When teams miss, the Cavaliers can make you pay with a slow methodical style. And Duke must limit their opponents trips to the free throw stripe. It would bode well for Duke to get a working margin or lead in this game while limiting their turnovers. Perhaps no other player thanTrevon Duval who struggled in his last outing, will be more important. He'll need to play under control and watch for the traps.
Future Dukies played well on Tuesday
After his verbal commitment to Duke, Zion Williamson went off for 37 points in Spartanburg Day’s (S.C.) 87-38 win over Oakbrook Prep. Tre Jones went for 24 points as his No. 5 Eagles beat visiting Lakeville South. Oh, and he had double figures in rebounding and assists for a triple double. Yeah, he is a Jones. BTW, Duke will not have its 76th McDonald's All American game participant this coming March in Williamson and the aforementioned 2018 class.
A heads up
NCAA Tournament tickets are on sale at all locations and they are running some early specials. Duke basketball fans may want to consider looking into the region in Charlotte that takes place on March 16th through the 18th. Yes, that is a hint and the teams goal on where they want to play. Some key dates -
While some are caught up in next seasons recruiting class, this years team is way to fun to watch....so pay attention and beam into the present. Duke will be a major factor heading down the stretch as we enter the halfway point of the ACC season. One of the most incredible talents in the land in Marvin Bagley III is special, so enjoy him while you can. The other freshman starters are all doing their thing as well and the senior leadership of Grayson Allen and his last home game against UNC will be here before you can blink an eye.
I was asked about Virginia at Duke tickets
It generally starts, "Hey, do you know anyone..." Yes, somebody asked me if I knew of any #2 Virginia at #4 Duke tickets in Cameron Indoor Stadium. FTR, there is one ticket left on Stub Hub for five hundred bucks. The rest are going much higher than that. Vivid Seats has them from $579.00 per ticket to $789.00. FTR, face value on most Duke tickets is close to one hundred bucks. which is likely most expensive in America these days. If you have won the lottery recently, you might look into Grayson Allen's Senior Day game against North Carolina to close out the regular season.
Several columns coming
There are two columns coming to bluedevilnation.net this week. One will be on Zion Williamson to Duke and the other will be titled you heard it here first, but we cannot divulge what that will be about just yet. We are also running a special through the end of the month on Blue Devil Nation Premium where we double your membership for the usual price. For those who have recently subscribed, be sure to sign up for the message board as well for more information.
They did it again! Just when you thought the team was about to lose their third game of the season, Duke came alive. The Blue Devils uses an 18-0 run to shock Miami and snatch a key ACC road win. Without further ado, here is volume V of 10 Random Thoughts on Duke Basketball.
30 Point Efforts
No other team in the ACC has more than two players with 30 plus scoring games this season. Duke, on the other hand, has now had players go for 30 points or over in seven games. Last night it was Gary Tent Jr.s turn. After being sick the game before against Wake Forest and still playing well, Trent followed up that game with 30 points which included some big time three pointers. His effort helped Duke remain undefeated against teams in the current A.P. Top 25.
Trailing 66-53, Duke went on an 18-0 run and outscored Miami 27-4 over that stretch which sealed their fourth conference win. Gary Trent went 6 of 9 from three-point range, knocking down two consecutive trays to start the comeback. Trevon Duval also stepped up his game after struggling with turnovers early in the game and ended up having 8 assists. Duke has had a way of turning up their offense for spurts all season long. Quite simply, they are capable of staging major comebacks in just a few minutes or when the game looks to be in doubt.
Not to take anything away, but ...
The Blue Devils still need to find some consistency in many areas of the game. Firstly, they need to protect leads they build in the first half or leads in general. Duke also needs some work on their free throw game. They got away with going 10 of 21 from the charity stripe last evening and left a lot of points with misses of late. Then there is the need for a consistent effort and better shot selection not to mention a better understanding of man to man defense. Duke is young and learning. Once they take better shot and gain a killer instinct with the lead, they will be hard to beat. Just a little bit of improvement in the aforementioned areas could pay huge dividends.
A different role from Bagley
Well of course Marvin Bagley III got his 15 double-double on the season. And he tallied 13 points, 12 rebounds and 3 assists by deferring to other Duke players at times. Last evening three other Duke players had more shots than Bagley. The talented freshman took another step in his development by allowing this to happen which translated to a win. And if Duke wins, Bagley will still remain the center of attention for many.
Wendell Carter went beast mode
When teammate Marvin Bagley went to the locker room with a shoulder injury, Carter played outstanding basketball. He was a machine on the boards where many of his game high 14 rebounds came early or in key times in the game. Carter is a double-double guy as well and he has pout together back to back games with the not so easy feat. Duke would be well served to make sure he continues to get touches moving forward for he is better when that happens as is the team. What people might miss is there is a timed development with players from the staff. They told Carter he would float outside for some shots to better that part of his game when recruiting him. They are keeping their promise. BTW, Carter has an insane stat line - 15 points, 14 rebounds, 4 blocked shots, 3 assists and 2 steals.
Allen continues to struggle with his shot
Sometimes players get in a shooting funk. That has been the case with all of the Duke backcourt players at times this season. It is scary to think how good Duke can be if all three are hitting on the same night. What Allen is doing is finding his way into the stat line and remaining the senior leader a team needs. Last evening he led Duke is steals with 5 and his effort towards the end of the half to get one and assist Trent for a 3 halted Miami's momentum.
I know there is a part of Mike Krzyzewski that hates going to a zone. But in the one and done era with limited teaching time with players, not to mention a top-heavy team with concern to minutes: it is necessary. And when Duke does go to that zone it seems to have a great effect to date. When they went to it last evening, the Hurricanes offense immediately struggled with the length and movement.
Bad Duval, good Duval
Trevon Duval got into some early foul trouble and had to sit. He needs to learn to harness his aggression in that Duke needs him on the court. He is the best option at his position hands down. I thought he was on his way to 8 turnovers like he had against NC State, but he flipped the switch and halted that. Instead of 8 turnovers he ended the game with 8 assists. And he was very efficient from the field going 7 of 11 and 2 of 2 from 3. There is no position like the point guard spot which makes mistakes stand out. Duval was good down the stretch and was a part of Duke not committing turnovers after a season high 19 during their 30-9 run to close out the game.
This and that
Duke has now had players garner 25 double-doubles on the season. Bagley is 2nd in the nation in double-doubles and 1st among freshmen players. Trent tied a Duke freshman record with six made three pointers. Coach K is now 1014-273 at Duke and has 1087 total wins.
Pitt will visit Cameron Indoor Stadium on Coach K Court this coming Saturday. That game will tip-off at 4:00 on ACC Network Extra. Duke should get both rest and good practice time this week. They should also be able to let injured players continue to mend against Pitt which s struggling while rebuilding their program.
Always check back for new 10 Random Thoughts on Duke Basketball. And take advantage of our special on Blue Devil Nation Premium where we double your membership through the month of January. Get two years for the price of one or one year for the price of six months.
After an unseasonably warm couple of days, the weather turned cooler on the day of the Duke-Wake Forest game. Walking up to Cameron Indoor Stadium one could see tent city in full bloom. The students were back in force to cheer on their beloved Blue Devils who sought to get back in the thick of the ACC race with a win.
But things were far from normal on this day. About an hour before tip-off, Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski decided not to coach in the game. He had just come down with a stomach virus and he did not want to make his players sick, especially with a trip to Miami on the horizon where Duke has to take on the Hurricanes in just over a day away.
Add Gary Trent Jr. to the list of sick players as well. Trent hovered over a trash can on the bench but would play in the game. Duke was also without the services of Javin DeLaurier and Marques Bolden, but the team did not give in to the pressure. Instead, they rose to the occasion and came away with an 89-71 win over Wake Forest.
Duke Associate Assistant Coach Jeff Capel took the reigns in Krzyzewski's absence. And Capel looked more than a little comfortable taking over the role with short notice. After all, this is not his first rodeo.
Capel substituted enough to keep the players fresh in the game. The involvement seems to have helped Duke in wins over Pitt and Wake Forest which has pushed the team's record to 3-2 in the ACC and 15-2 overall.
Of course, it is nice when Capel has Marvin Bagley III (30 points, 11 rebounds) on the floor. Bagley threw down some emphatic dunks on his way to his 14th double-double of the season which ties the Duke record for a freshman.
Bagley also has 4 steals. And, of course, some of those led to crushing dunks. Some of the students were donning his face on their shirts which his Dad had made.
Wendell Carter Jr. (15 points, 11 rebounds) chipped in with a double-double as well. The duo were also beasts on the glass and altered many Wake Forest shots over the course of the game.
Grayson Allen continues to struggle with his shot. But he earned the praise of Coach Capel in that while only scoring 2 points he led the team in rebounding with 12 and assists, dishing 8 dimes.
Despite being really sick, Trent Jr. nailed three consecutive three-point shots and played another good overall floor game. Capel praised his toughness where he tallied 19 points.
Duke played a zone for much of the game and they were active in it when doing so. The Blue Devils held a good Wake offense down when Capel went back to it in the 2nd half, after they cut into the Duke lead and closed to within 13.
Due to the closeness of the two games, the staff will not be able to go on the road and watch some key prospects in the Hall of Fame Classic. It is unknown when Krzyzewski and player Bolden and DeLaurier will return.
John R. Wooden Award Presented by Wendy’s has announced 25 players who are vying for the coveted player of the year honors.
Included on the list released just moments ago were Duke senior Grayson Allen and freshman Marvin Bagley III.
Allen is the captain of this seasons team, while Bagley III leads the ACC in scoring and rebounding and has the 2nd most double-doubles in the nation.
Chosen by a poll of national college basketball experts based on their performances during the first half of the 2017-18 season, the list comprises of 25 student-athletes who are front-runners for the sport’s most prestigious honor.