Duke’s seven game winning streak came to a devastating stop Saturday in front of 30,000 at the Carrier Dome. It was a game of inches that did not go the Blue Devils way, but nonetheless, Duke was not worthy of a win in this ugly showing. Here are the three storylines from the thrilling contest:
Live & Die by the Three
It’s really no shocker that Duke shot 33 three-pointers compared to 11 shot by the Orange. This is no breaking news or unfamiliar storyline but, whether you like it or not, it solidifies the notion that Duke is a team that lives and dies at the three-point line. In this one, Duke only hit ten of their 33 attempts (30%) with Grayson Allen contributing seven of the 23 misfires from deep. This is a large part of the reason the Blue Devils took home the L, and if you don’t believe me just look at Duke’s three-point shooting percentages during the winning streak. In the seven games Duke shot 45%, 42%, 39%, 48%, 42%, 47%, and 48% from beyond the arc.
Harry Giles Improving & Marques Bolden Nowhere to be Seen
One neon green bright spot in this game was the play the Blue Devils got from freshman Harry Giles. In only 11 minutes, Giles posted six points, shooting 3-3 and added four rebounds while only committing one foul and zero turnovers. Additionally, Giles altered multiple shot attempts at the rim on the defensive end. At this point I don’t see a reason not to give Harry at least 15 minutes a game. He grabbed more offensive rebounds in 11 minutes than Amile snagged in 28. With Duke’s ailing rim protection, I wouldn’t mind seeing Giles play some minutes alongside Jefferson… and that brings me to my next point: Marques Bolden. For those of you who read my articles, you know I am a firm believer in the 6-11 beast from Desoto, TX. Bolden is an absolute animal defensively at the rim with his impressive reach and he’s shown flashes of potential on the offensive end of the floor as well. I couldn’t tell you why he hasn’t been given a legitimate shot (in games) to contribute to this team.
The Inevitable Occurred
Despite having the lead almost the entire game, Duke found a way to lose this one in the final moments to a hot-shooting Syracuse team. Just as I had discussed after the Wake Forest game, it was only a matter of time until the Blue Devils dropped a game with the way they’ve been playing with the lead. Duke has to find that killer instinct to punish teams when they have the chance. There were multiple fast break attempts botched early in the contest that could have made the difference. Let’s hope the Blue Devils can find a way to shut the door on teams in the waning days before the Big Dance.