Duke does get the blowout against Army 93-73 but it was not the game most expected execution wise for Duke. Army was in reach for the majority of the game before Duke put together a late run to put things out of reach. Duke was not sharp defensively for most of the game but some of that can be attributed to a stout Army team, a team that came in with no fear and a very smart team. I was impressed with some of the in-game coaching moves by Army coach Zach Spiker. Taking what the Duke defense gave in the first half using Dukes aggressive nature against them. Guard Kyle Wilson shouldered the first half scoring load with 17 points on 6 of 12 shooting in the first half (Wilson ended the game with 19). Wilson was able to hit on mid-range jump-shots catching Duke defenders by surprise but also Army was able to get open lanes to the basket against Duke with an active offense. In the second half Army was able to again use the Duke aggressiveness to get a fair amount of back-door cuts to the basket. Duke did not shoot well from beyond the arc in the first half only going 1 of 8 which helped to let the Black Knights hang around.
Duke never did get it going from beyond the arc going 4-19 for the game, while letting Army shoot 7 of 16. Duke was able to keep the lead with a double-digit rebounding margin in their favor 43-25. Duke got 12 of those rebounds from junior Amile Jefferson who also added 7 points and 2 assists. The scoring load fell on freshman Tyus Jones in the first half, scoring 13 points and 16 for the game for the Blue Devils. Jones would finish with a double-double by also dishing out 10 assists to zero, yes zero turnovers. Jahlil Okafor would lead Duke in scoring with 21 points. It didn’t look like a very strong game for the freshman center but the numbers said otherwise – Jahlil went 8 of 14 from the floor and had 8 rebounds. Duke fans are used to big games from freshman Justise Winslow but early foul trouble curtailed his efforts to make a stamp on this game. Winslow would only see the floor for 12 minutes but still managed to score 7 points on 3 of 4 shooting. It was also a quiet 13 for senior guard Quinn Cook who didn’t shoot the ball from 3 particularly well (no one really did for Duke in this game).
There are definitely areas that Duke will need to address on both ends of the floor. Army did a very good job of exploiting Duke’s weaknesses on both ends of the court and there were definitely teachable moments that will be looked at going forward in preparation for a very touch Wisconsin team.
As per usual each game needs to be taken with a grain of salt, coming off of a holiday and time off it is always a task and a test to have a team ready to play. Duke was not sharp but with regular practice and routine back in effect I expect better going forward.