There were a lot of people predicting that after the NC State game that Clemson was going to put a hurting on the Devils, I too thought this game could ugly if Duke got flustered. Apparently Coach K had seen enough, the bench was shortened and the starters and seniors got he bulk of the minutes. That moves speaks volumes about where this team is bit more on that later.
With 3 assists, 3 turnovers and 5-13 shooting, Jon Scheyer still finds himself in a bit of a slump, some of that is due to teams really keying on him, some is due to shot selection. We all want to see Jon shoot, but sometimes the shots are ill-advised. We hope he shoots his way out of this slump by being judicious with the types of shots he’s putting up there.
Kyle Singler also still in the midst of a slump had some good moments in this game and some ugly ones to the tune of 5 turnovers and 5-12 shooting. Perimeter player or not, we want to see less dribbling around the arc from Kyle and much more attacking the paint. We want to see him on the line about 10 to 12 times a game, Duke as a team barely managed to get to the line at all. That was just the way this game was called, very lax on the contact on both sides. Neither team got the advantage but still wasn’t a very well officiated game.
The only player that brought his offensive game today was Nolan Smith. This has become a common theme, when 2 of the big 3 aren’t producing leave it to Nolan to get off. He got 22 points off of 13 shots, had no turnovers and used a wide array of shots to get it done, from layups, to floaters, to the long ball. In the second half Nolan steadied the offense and came up with the big shot off of the dribble.
Lance Thomas was the second leading scorer in this game, watching the game his points aren’t the most memorable and if I hadn’t looked at the stat sheet I probably would have said he scored 5 or 6 points. In this game those little offensive sparks whether they be off of put backs or free throws. They were needed.
Clemson at Clemson is always a dogfight but once you take the crowd out of the game, this team tends to lose a little steam, if you can get in there as Duke did and go about your business in a workman like fashion and not get phased by the dunks or the crowd noise you can win this game every time. What Duke didn’t do last year was push back, this year they did. A true quality road win in a hostile environment is definitely a milestone for this team, unfortunately the bench being overlooked in this game probably isn’t the best sign for the rest of the season
We will talk more about the shortened bench in a later post..