Duke Takes it to the Tar Heel 93-81 on Senior Night in front of a raucous crowd and some high-profile signees, recruits and sports celebrities. Jabari Parker in what could be his final game in front of the Crazies had probably the game of his career. Parker scored a career high 30 points and pulled down 11 rebounds for the Devils wowing the crowd and burying the Heels in Dukes final regular season game. Parker got help from Rodney Hood who scored 24 points in what could also be his final game at Cameron. The first half Duke showed signs early that it could possibly blow out the Heels with Duke pushing an early lead to 13, but in what has been a trend for this Duke team Duke allowed the Heels to get back into the game. UNC would cut the Duke lead to 3 at the half.
The second half Duke seemed to step up the intensity on the defensive end and managed to get stops against the Carolina offense, aided by James Michael McAdoo’s foul trouble and the slow start (due to Duke defense) of Marcus Paige. Duke also shot the ball better in the second half. After going 2 of 13 from beyond the arc in the first half Duke would warm up, hitting 6 of 10 in the second. Duke also rebounded the basketball much better in this game winning the overall battle on the boards 34-20. Duke also drove the ball into the paint and forced the officials to blow the whistle. Duke trailed in made free throws 4 to 10 from UNC in the first half to 23 to 4 in Dukes favor in the second half. In the end Duke held on with rebounding and free throws and avenged the earlier loss and as one of my followers tweeted “Order is restored”.
There was a lot to like in this game for Duke.
It was good to see some flashed of the earlier season Quinn Cook. Cook would score 11 points, 6 assists to 3 turnovers and a steal. While not the best we’ve seen of Quinn, it’s a sigh of relief to see some swagger from the junior guard.
Getting good games from Jabari and Rodney at the same time, Coach K mentioned that it hadn’t really happened all season and the fellas delivered in a big way.
Defensively Duke was better in this game, not great but there were stretches where Duke was very good and stretches where they still seemed a bit slow-footed, but for the most part it was good for the Devils.
No giant stretch of offensive droughts. Near the end of the game Duke did have a few minutes of no baskets but continued to drive the ball and get to the free throw line.
Rebounding – Duke won it 34-20
Free throw shooting, 27-31 for Duke in this game. Good to see them pressing the issue and hitting at a good percentage like Duke teams of old.
Recruits got to see a great game, in the best place imaginable. Great for Duke, good for recruiting.
Duke had several possessions that ended in shot clock violations. There was too much dribbling, not enough north to south attacking and Duke began their stall ball tactic much too early.
13 turnovers are too many for this team, Duke has stellar guards but lately there seems to be a disconnect. Duke was able to even out with UNC on this front but the press and traps that UNC employed seemed to work well. These issues will need to he addressed, teams will see this tape.
Will do a more in-depth analysis later but right now time to enjoy this win – Go To Hell Carolina
Order has been restored
— grant hill (@realgranthill33) March 9, 2014
Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski
“Well it’s a huge win for us, just like it was a huge win for them when they beat us there because it’s a huge game. I thought both teams played extremely hard again. There were great stats. Our offensive rebounding was terrific. We got extra shots after that. Our seniors really started us off well. We had an unbelievable start to the game. Josh (Hairston) hadn’t been playing and he played really well. I thought in the first half we had some really good looks. We were two-of-13 from three and we just haven’t been shooting well, but at halftime we said ‘just keep shooting, just keep shooting’ and went six-of-10 in the second half. When they were fouling us, every kid stepped up there and shot their free throws. Jabari (Parker) was sensational and so was Rodney (Hood). This is the first game when the two of them were sensational together. They’ve both been good together, but they were sensational together. Fifty-four points is a lot of points from two kids. We beat a heck of a basketball team and they’re really good. I’m thankful that we could finish the regular season undefeated at home and I want to thank our students. Spring Break started yesterday and they were here for our little get together last night and they provided this incredible atmosphere that’s so unique to Cameron and that helped us a lot.”
On the difference between halves:
“We hit shots. Jabari (Parker) got us off to a good start. We wanted to go in to him. He made plays tonight. He got the ball in different positions and I just thought he had his best spirit to score tonight. They’re really good. We hit some threes. When you hit those threes, you start looking a lot better. The game can go really quickly into double-digits which it did. They’re going to come back because they’re good and we had the free throws.”
On having a young team:
“We have really good kids. We’re young and so when we get tired or we’re not shooting well, sometimes we go inward instead of talking more which is something that veteran players and veteran teams don’t do. Hopefully we’re learning and can learn a little bit more this week in the ACC tournament so that for the NCAAs we’re there. The season is a process. With this team, we have more development. They listen and they work hard. Wednesday and Thursday were crazy days for our program and my staff really was good with this team over the last couple of days. I benefitted greatly from that.”
On Rodney Hood and Jabari Parker:
“With Jabari (Parker), he fought through things. It wasn’t just smooth; he had to make plays against big guys who were good players. I think Rodney (Hood) didn’t hold back. Sometimes when he misses he lets that get to him, he thinks it’s a mistake and it’s not. Tonight he didn’t play like that. He’s really good. Those two kids were very good tonight.”
On three tough Saturday home games:
“It’s a different season for our team than most teams because of that level of emotion in a game. It takes its toll on a team. Sometimes you’re not able to respond as well. It’s kind of like after we took the break after those five games and then with Wake (Forest). They played really well; I don’t want to take away from what they did. We didn’t have an edge. It’s almost like we needed to decompress and you can’t completely decompress in a season. Hopefully from this game we will be back. We’re on Spring Break right now, so we’ll have some time to practice during the day and that might help us a little bit going forward to the ACC tournament. No matter what we’re the three seed. We’re just happy with what’s going on.”
On recent health problems:
“It wasn’t lightheadedness, it was different. I got all checked out. They said – I wish they hadn’t said this – that I have the brain of a 20 year-old, I’d rather have the brain of a 30 year-old. After that they did all sorts of stress tests and said I have the heart of a 20 year-old. I said ‘Well, something’s wrong. I probably have an 80-year-old something going on.’ I feel good. It’s just been an emotional two months for me and I think that’s it. I have to manage that better.”
Duke Freshman Jabari Parker
“I think our seniors really pulled through. They were leaders for us and we listened to them. In the games that we’ve lost, we didn’t listen, but today we had to and they really pulled through for us.”
“I think our momentum on defense kind of lead to the success on offense. Once we got stops, we went out in transition, we got good looks, and we just built off that.”
On bouncing back after the loss at Wake Forest:
“It was something that we talked about right after we lost. Something had to change. Everything that was on our minds we had to spill out and just share with the team, because we can’t let ourselves get held back anymore and we need to be there for each other throughout our time here. This is our last time together [with the seniors], so we just have to pull through for each other.”
Duke Redshirt Sophomore Rodney Hood
“Just starting off the game, first of all I wanted to send the seniors out the right note. I got tired of walking around Durham and people screaming, ‘Carolina!’ at me when I walked through [stores] and stuff like that. But it was a big-time win and I’m just happy to keep the [winning] streak going at home.”
On what it’s like to play beside Jabari Parker when he’s as strong as he was tonight:
“It’s exciting. My job is to just have his back when he’s not hitting. He was just aggressive, and when he’s that aggressive, he can get any shot he wants to on the floor, and it’s just up to him whether he scores or not.”
When asked if Duke is a different team when he and Jabari Parker are both having great games:
“We’re a completely different team. Offensively, I think it’s so difficult to guard both of us at the same time. Then, when you’ve got guys like Andre [Dawkins], Rasheed [Sulaimon], and Quinn [Cook] that can chip in like that, offensively we can score in the 80s or 90s every single game. Defensively, we’ve still got to make improvements. I think that’s where we’re going to win in the postseason.”
Duke Sophomore Rasheed Sulaimon
“This was a great win. We let our seniors go out on a great note, winning their last game in Cameron against our biggest rivals. It’s definitely a momentum push, but the regular season is over now. We’re both 0-0 now, so we just have to utilize these next couple of days and get better offensively and defensively and just head into the postseason with a full head of steam. Everything is amped up right now, so we’re going to be ready and we’re going to be locked in.”
On the play of Jabari Parker:
“Jabari is a different type of human being. As much praise and accolades that he’s had, he’s the most humble kid that you’ll ever meet. He’s so grounded and he’s not the guy that wants to be in the spotlight. He’s the guy that wants his team to be in the spotlight. We’ve been telling him as a player that he needs to go out there and dominate the game because nobody in the country can guard him. And that’s what he did. He was just being aggressive and taking his shots, and he had an outstanding game. He’s just worried about our team and what we’ve got to do to win, and that’s very exciting in such a great player. He’s still young. That’s what a lot of people forget. He’s still just a freshman. He’s still learning this game of basketball and he’s still learning this level. To do the things that he’s doing is absolutely amazing. We have a tremendous amount of confidence in him, and he has confidence in himself.”
North Carolina Head Coach Roy Williams
“That was a tough night for us, and I think that some of Mike’s [Krzyzewski] comments after last game, that they didn’t have ‘it,’ well I agree with him. It’s hard to say what ‘it’ is, but whatever the hell it is, Jabari [Parker] found it. We got off to a bad start in the first half and bad start in the second half. First half we were able to fight back, second half we were not able to fight back from their big-time start. Even when we got some turnovers, we ended up taking bad shots and didn’t even capitalize when we got turnovers when we were pressing. Jabari – Rodney [Hood] also – but Jabari, that was about as impressive I’ve seen in a long, long time. Again, whatever ‘it’ was, he was possessed. I thought tonight was a fantastic exhibition. Between Jabari and Rodney, we really had trouble trying to figure out a way to stop them, and at the end of the night, we still didn’t figure it out. Rebounding battles I thought, going into the game, was going to be key, and I thought it would be an area where we could – could – have an advantage, and instead, they just destroyed us on the backboards. When you look at 20 second-chance points for them and 10 for us – one of them was even on a free-throw at the end of the game, they missed a free-throw, and we got inside position, and Jabari got the offensive rebound off that missed free-throw, and they scored on that possession, as well. I congratulate those seniors for Duke. That’s the way you’d like to go out, there’s no question about that. North Carolina needs to play a heck of a lot better. We’ve got to get back to that sense of urgency that we had for a few weeks there. Kennedy – we tried to play Kennedy, but there wasn’t much there. At the pregame meal today, he was throwing up at the pregame meal, and so we couldn’t get much out of him, but we had other guys out there that still should have helped us do a better job on the backboards. As I said, one of the misses they had, they got the offensive rebound and put it back in, but when you’re 27-for-31[from the free throw line] there’s not too many misses, and we needed them to help us by missing some free-throws. They missed a couple of free-throws, and if we capitalized and scored on a couple of more turnovers, and it could have been a lot more fun at the end.”
On James Michael McAdoo getting fourth foul early in second half:
“Well, it hurt us there’s no question about that, but he fouled him. If he had gotten a better box-out, the foul wouldn’t have been called, but you have to overcome those kinds of things. We operate on a thin line. We need Marcus [Paige] and James Michael both really, really playing well. It hurt us to have James Michael over there with us for such a long time period.”
On resiliency of players:
“I’m proud of our kids with their competitiveness, there’s no question about that. This was a great college environment. It was a lot greater on their side probably, than it was on ours, but I like those kinds of things. I think it’s a test of your will, also, to be able to focus and really play extremely well with your heart and your brain. I think we played really well with our heart and competed, but we didn’t do as good of a job with our brain as we did with our heart, but I think we have a competitive bunch of kids there, and I enjoy them.”
On regular season; improving from 1-4 to winning 12 games in a row:
“It’s been hard, there’s no question. My saving time for me is when I’ve been with those guys, the kids on the court. It’s been a hard time for me for several months, but boy those kids have been fun. When it was 0-3 and when it was 1-4, they still came to practice and tried to get better every day, and they bought in even more, and bought in even more, and they bought in even more. So you appreciate that. It’s hard to think about that right now – we just got our tails kicked, but they’ve saved Ol’ Roy, because it’s been a tough time period, and I’ve enjoyed every practice with them.”
On early turnovers:
“I thought we tried to go too fast. Did you say two [turnovers] out of six possessions? The first six possessions were two bad shots, two turnovers, and two baskets, on layups, but you can’t score two out of six against Duke. You’ve got to score better than that. I think we allowed their defensive pressure to dominate our offense several times, and I thought they did early first six possessions, I don’t think we had more than two passes – somebody was jacking it up – usually that’s not the kind of shots you want to get. Whether it was the environment or that they were fired up to play because it’s Duke/Carolina, I don’t know, but we weren’t very efficient early, and we weren’t very efficient early in the second half either.”
Randy Dunson & Brian Horace Preview March 8, 2014Duke (23-7, 12-5) – University of North Carolina (UNC) (23-7, 13-4)
Randy Dunson & Brian Horace Preview Duke (23-7, 12-5) – University of North Carolina (UNC) (23-7, 13-4)
March 8, 2014
In its final game of the regular season, Duke will host Tobacco Road rival North Carolina Saturday at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke climbed back into the Associated Press top five this week, jumping from No. 6 to No. 4 following a 66-48 win over Virginia Tech. Duke, also ranked No. 4 in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll, is 56-13 all-time when playing as the No. 4 team in the AP poll. The Blue Devils are attempting to close out its 18th undefeated season at Cameron Indoor Stadium and second straight. Duke has won 32 consecutive games at home, the longest streak in the country. North Carolina will be the sixth ranked team Duke has faced. Duke is 3-3 against ranked teams in 2013-14 with wins over No. 1 Syracuse, No. 18 Pittsburgh and No. 22 Michigan.
North Carolina will try to win its 13th game in a row when it wraps up the 2013-14 regular season at Duke. They are coming off a 63-61 win over Notre Dame last Monday night. The Tar Heels lead the overall series 133-104. In the first match of the “Battle of the Blues” UNC defeated Duke 74-66 on February 20 in Chapel Hill. Entering this weekend’s action, UNC and Syracuse are tied for second place in the ACC standings at 13-4, and Duke is a game back in fourth place at 12-5. Virginia is the regular season champion at 16-1. The Tar Heels are ranked No. 14 in both the Associated Press and Coaches’ polls.
UNC Season Thus Far
James Michael McAdoo hit the go-ahead shot in the lane with 3:09 left and Marcus Paige blocked Eric Atkins’ driving shot on the final play to seal UNC’s 63-61 victory over Notre Dame on Monday night, earning the Tar Heels their 12th straight victory in their last home game. While the Tar Heels have their longest winning streak since 2008-09, it marked the second time in three days they found themselves in a fight with an underdog opponent. They won 60-56 at last-place Virginia Tech on Saturday, then blew a 14-point halftime lead and had to fight to the horn to beat the Fighting Irish.Still, the Tar Heels haven’t lost since January 20 at No. 5 Virginia when they were just starting their climb from an 0-3 ACC start. James Michael McAdoo finished with 14 points to lead the Tar Heels, while J.P. Tokoto added 11. But Paige, UNC’s leading scorer who had a career-high 35 points and the last-second layup to beat North Carolina State last week, managed just seven points on 2-for-8 shooting. But Connaughton’s three-point play with 52.1 seconds left cut the deficit to a basket, then Atkins followed Paige’s first missed free throw with a driving lay-up to cut the lead to 62-61 with 8.6 seconds left. Paige made 1 of 2 free throws with 6.6 seconds left to give Notre Dame its final shot.Notre Dame shot 54 percent from the field in the second half, while the defense limited UNC to 22 points—matching the Tar Heels’ season low for a half—and just one second-chance point.
Carolina has gone 8-0 since the midway point of ACC play with one game remaining. The Tar Heels are 70-19 (.787) in the second half of ACC play in 11 seasons under head coach Roy Williams. Carolina went 8-0 in the second half of ACC play in 2007-08 and was 7-1 in the second half five times (during The Tar Heels also went 6-3 in 2012-13, 5-3 in 2003-04 and 2006-07 and 3-5 in 2009-10.Carolina is 11-0 with the starting lineup of Marcus Paige, Leslie McDonald, J.P. Tokoto, James Michael McAdoo, and Kennedy Meeks. UNC has won each of its last three games by four points:or fewer, the first time it has done so since the 1985-86:season. The Tar Heels averaged 56.3 points in their first three ACC games this year (losses to Wake Forest, Miami, and Syracuse) and have averaged 77.8 points in the last 12 ACC games (12 wins, zero losses). The Tar:Heels are 2-0 in overtime:games this year and:have won six straight overtime contests, tying the second-longest streak in school history. Since losing to Syracuse on January 11, Carolina has shot 50 percent or better from the floor in the second half in nine of the last 14 games. The win over Notre Dame was the 723rd for head coach Roy Williams. He is 20th all-time in NCAA history. Marcus Paige is the only player in the ACC in the ACC’s top six in both scoring and assists. UNC is 17-0 when leading at the half this season. Carolina is 7-0 this season when shooting at least 50 percent from the floor. The Tar Heels are 46-1 when scoring 100 points under Roy Williams and 188-19 overall when hitting triple digits. Marcus Paige scored 21 second-half points vs. N.C.State after scoring four points in the first half. That was the 16th time this season he’s had single digit points in the first half and double digits in the second half. The Tar Heels are 5-1 this year against teams ranked in the AP Top 25 (wins over No. 3 Louisville, No.1MichiganState, No.11 Kentucky, No.25 Pitt, and No. 5 Duke, and a loss at No. 2 Syracuse). Marcus Paige is shooting 88.0 percent from the free throw line, ranking second in the ACC. Paige is averaging 35.5 minutes per game this season, more than any player in the Roy Williams era at UNC. Nate Britt and James Michael McAdoo are second with six. The Tar Heels lead all teams in ACC games only in rebounds per game, rebounding margin, offensive rebound percentage, offensive rebounding, defensive rebounding,:and assists. Carolina ranks 19th in the nation in assists per game,:38th;in field:goal percentage defense, 20th in rebound margin, 19th in assists per game, 14th in total rebounds,and eighth in offensive bounds per game.
Duke Season Thus Far
Tyler Cavanaugh scored 20 points and Travis McKie added 19 to lead Wake Forest past No. 4 Duke, 82-72, Wednesday in Joel Coliseum. Wake Forest had five players score in double figures, including Codi Miller-McIntyre, who finished with 13 points, eight assists and just two turnovers. Duke led 66-59 with 5:44 remaining, but the Deacons mounted a 17-0 run to stake a 77-66 lead. Wake Forest outscored Duke 23-6 over the final 5:20 of the game as the Blue Devils hit just 2-of-10 field goals during that stretch. Duke shot just .222 (6-of-27) from three-point range for the team’s second-lowest three-point percentage of the season. Duke hit just 2-of-12 treys in the first half and 4-of-15 in the second half. Jabari Parker logged his fifth straight double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds to lead Duke in both categories.Rodney Hood scored 16 points and dished out four assists, while Rasheed Sulaimon added 14 points.
The Blue Devils have won 32 consecutive games in Cameron Indoor Stadium, tied for the longest active streak in the country. Duke is just one win away from completing its 18th undefeated season in Cameron, owning a 16-0 record on Coach K Court in 2013-14. Duke also went 16-0 in Cameron in 2012-13. Saturday’s game will serve as senior night for Duke’s class of Andre Dawkins, Josh Hairston, Tyler Thornton, and Todd Zafirovski. Dawkins and Zafirovski were both part of Duke’s 2009-10 NCAA and ACC Championship team, while all four helped Duke capture the 2010-11 ACC Championship and posted a 112-25 record over the past four seasons. Duke has lost back-to-back games just once since the start of the 2009-10 season and is 25-1 following a loss during that span. Among Duke’s six previous victories following a loss this season are wins over No. 22 Michigan (79-69), Virginia (69-65) and No. 1 Syracuse (66-60). Duke owns an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.54:1, which would rank as the highest ratio since Duke began tracking turnovers in the 1970-71 season. The Blue Devils logged a school-record 1.51:1 assist-to-turnover ratio last season, bettering the previous school record of 1.32 set in 2000-01. Jabari Parker leads the ACC with 13 double-doubles and is one shy of tying Duke’s freshman record of 14 set by Gene Banks in 1977-78. Parker has nine double-doubles in his past 12 games and is averaging 16.9 points and 9.7 rebounds per game in conference play. He leads the ACC in rebounds per game, ranks second in points per game and third in field goal percentage (.483 – 199-of-412). Andre Dawkins needs just three points to become the 63rd Duke player to join the 1,000-point club. Dawkins is averaging a career-best 8.4 points per game this season. Marshall Plumlee is averaging 6.0 rebounds, 4.3 points and 1.8 blocks over his past four games. Plumlee has 3.5 offensive rebounds per game during that stretch. Rodney Hood has logged six of his nine 20-plus-point performances in Cameron Indoor Stadium, including a career-best 30-point outing against East Carolina on Nov. 19. Hood scored 21 against Virginia Tech in his last appearance in Cameron and averages 17.5 points per game on his home court. Only Jabari Parker has more 20-point games in Cameron this season (9).
Four Factors to Winning
Duke will have their work cut out for them, Duke will need to keep the Heels off of the offensive glass. If Duke fails to do so it will be a very long senior night. Duke will also have to force the issue and get to the line. Duke needs to shoot free throws at a much higher clip and make this game easier for them. Duke also needs to defend without fouling. Foul problems have been a common theme and has spelled disaster in several games for the Devils.
Key Points to Consider
Duke has had a serious bad habit of offensive droughts and inefficiency. What, if anything, can the coaching staff do to curb this issue? In my opinion the problem is multi-faceted, partially guard play is to blame. Duke has not been strong with the ball as of late, whether it be teams simply just pressuring Duke into really bad turnovers, shot selection issues or not getting the ball into the paint effectively. Defensively Duke is what it is and what it is, well isn’t great. Duke will need to do a much better job of forcing turnovers because as it stands toughness isn’t something this team has shown this year. I understand the charge call and the appeal of it and Duke having a history of it, but teams at this point know you are doing it, for once I would like to see Duke be aggressive on defense, punish, stand ground and fight. March is not the time to expect to be bailed out by a charge call. Show some toughness on defense and maybe it will be contagious.
It’s going to boil down to Duke being fundamentally sound, making the good pass, being strong with the ball…but the intangibles for Duke are always at play. As much as we want to bash and hate on UNC they are playing well and Duke is, well, it’s hard to say. The first game Duke did not match the level of intensity of Coach K or for that matter the opponent. It’s been a common theme in Duke’s ACC losses. If this team has a problem with getting after it in this game then I don’t have words for it. This is the reason you come to Duke. This is game you wait for all year long and the players that put on the uniform need to represent. Play for the banners, the past, the future but more over – the present. We predict this team will get it’s act together because they real have no other choice. UNC will not come into Cameron with fear or trepidation, they are riding high and deservedly so. Duke is going to have to do what it did no do against UNC in the first game, or Wake Forest in the last game. FIGHT.
FIGHT!! GTHC!!! FIGHT!! GTHC!!! FIGHT!! GTHC!!! FIGHT!! GTHC!!! FIGHT!! GTHC!!! FIGHT!! GTHC!!! FIGHT!! GTHC!!! FIGHT!! GTHC!!! FIGHT!! GTHC!!! FIGHT!! GTHC!!! FIGHT!! GTHC!!! FIGHT!! GTHC!!! FIGHT!! GTHC!!! FIGHT!! GTHC!!! FIGHT!! GTHC!!! FIGHT!! GTHC!!! FIGHT!! GTHC!!! FIGHT!! GTHC!!!FIGHT!! GTHC!!! FIGHT!! GTHC!!!
ACC Upload: Coach K Goes Crazy After Winning 1988 ACC Championship | ACC Hidden Gem
Come on Dukies, don’t you want to see Coach K do this again:
It’ sometimes hard to look at a team you are a fan of with an eye that isn’t biased. When they lose it’s hard not to be a fatalist, when they win it’s difficult to not think they are world beaters…but I shall try.
Last nights debacle really shouldn’t surprise anyone, Duke has been less than stellar in road games, and honestly every team that has believed that they can beat Duke on the road has beaten Duke on the road or gotten within a possession of it. Duke is a very difficult team to assess when it comes to post season play because they are so erratic. I’m not a KenPom type of guy. I could give a rats ass about that stuff (no offense). To me the best indicator of how a team plays is watching them, numbers are just numbers. Looking at how a team handles adversity, to me, is a much better judge and indicator of future success and failure. Duke has had a mixed bag of it, prone to losing leads on the road to me shows a lack of a leader out on the floor and a lack of fortitude. Duke has captains but I’m not sure how vocal those captains are, most of us are on the outside looking in, all we see is what happens on the floor. Sure you want your captain to grab a guy buy the jersey and pull him into the huddle or get in his face and explain things, but you also want your captain to lead by what he does on the floor – to make smart plays and be tough. It’s easy to mean mug and slap high-fives and show emotion when things are going well. I want to see a guy show that same emotion when things aren’t going well. Too many heads were down, too much standing around and not enough FIGHT. Duke has lacked that on occasion, and last night Wake as just quicker to the ball, they made shots, but more over they fought, they fought for loose balls, they muscled Duke and they TOOK the game.
Duke didn’t seem to understand or be able to execute for long stretches against the Wake zone…which makes me shake my head because they’ve seen it a million times this year. It should be old hat at this point. If you are a team that doesn’t play defense for 40 minutes then you cannot be a team that doesn’t play offense for 40 minutes. @TheDevilsDen pointed out on twitter that Duke has had leads of 6 on Kansas, 7 on Arizona, double digits on Clemson, ND, and UNC and 7 on Wake Forest in the second half. If you are going to try to out-score rather than stop then the offensive droughts that Duke has had of late are signals that this could be a 3 game season for the Devils. Hell, if they play like last night they will have plenty of time off to reflect on that lack of toughness and leadership.
I haven’t written this team off but I also have to come to terms with the fact that as high as the ceiling is for this team, the floor can go just as low in the opposite direction.
Very poor performance by a team coming off of a long break that was supposed to be filled with working on things but what translated to a team that was completely lost on both sides of the floor. Out hustled and out hearted. I wont go into stats but what I will go into is how this team completely falls apart offensively. Guard play for Duke has been a serious issue as of late and more often than not Duke ends up depending on long jump-shots which as fans we all know is a recipe for disaster.
Having offensive meltdowns is something that a lot of teams can overcome because they get stops, well, Duke does not do that at a high enough clip to make up for a 5 minute offensive drought. You have to give Wake credit for hitting shots and outworking Duke who just didn’t seem like they ever arrived.
Stats wise (I know I said I wouldn’t, so I’ll keep it short) Duke really wasn’t that far off. Turnover wise they lost by 5, rebounding they won by 2. Free throws however, 12 makes to 25 for Wake Forest.
Duke has be tougher, simple as that heart isn’t something the coaching staff can infuse, it is something you need to bring to the table, you cannot phone anything in this time of year. At this point of the year freshmen are sophomores, sophomores are juniors and so on. No excuses at this point, Duke has played in close games, they’ve played in tournaments. It’s time for those experiences to to yield fruit.
I tweeted earlier my thoughts:
It’s very simple for Duke going forward. Get tough or get beaten. Champions are not prima donnas but primal. Each player needs to sack up!
I love my team but losing to a team you are supposed to be better than is a little troubling for fans when that’s sorta how tourneys work.