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I don’t think it was completely unexpected for the Blue Devils to come out a little flat against Army. Duke has a tendency to have those semi-letdowns after big games, especially against Kentucky. After Dukes dismantling of Kentucky in 2018 the Blue Devils also struggled with Army before pulling away late. After the 2018 game Coach K had this to say: “That whole thing, the hangover of success and travel and then getting ready” for a game, Krzyzewski said. “The only way you do it is to do it. And our guys don’t feel good about themselves right now. And that’s good. Although they turned it around in the second half, they were in a position to lose the game and they responded, and they responded really well.”

There really isn’t a coincidence that Duke schedules Army, not just because of Coach K’s history with Army as a coach but also he knows he’s going to get a team that is well disciplined and is ready for a fight. Army gave Duke that tonight.

Duke began the game with a strong 10 point run but Army was unfazed. They battled back and began to string together stops aided by 8 Duke turnovers. Duke Also struggled to rebound the ball despite having the 3 tallest players in the game. In the first half Army nearly tied Duke in the rebounding department with 19 while Duke had 20.

Army battled the Blue Devils who managed to end the half leading by 13. The second half saw the Blue Devils clean up their turnovers in fact they only committed 3 the entire second half. Duke would also rebound the basketball better increasing their margin from 1 in the second half to an advantage of 7 in the second. The bad news was the the Black Knights increased their field goal percentage by 6 points to stay within reach for a good portion of the second half.

Army would chip away the Duke lead to 11 before the Blue Devils went on a 22-11 run to push the lead to 22 to put the game out of reach.

The Blue Devils were led by captain Wendell Moore who notched only the third triple-double in the Coach K era and 5 ever for Duke. Moore hit on 7-13 from the field for 19 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Freshman big man Paolo Banchero went 7-9, scoring 18 points and grabbing 12 rebounds for his first double-double as a Blue Devil. Jeremy Roach added q4 points off of 4-8 shooting and 4 assists. Freshman Trevor Keels did’t have a great shooting night but added 10 points and played tenacious defense adding 6 steals.

Even with being 2-0 this Duke squad has plenty it needs to correct during the early part of this season. Defensively, Duke has been better than I expected they, especially on the perimeter, have been menacing in the 2 games they have played – really harassing opposing guards. The Blue Devils have amassed 23 steals in 2 games so far this season. Where the Blue Devils have been lackluster is on the boards, considering the large lineup Duke is putting on the floor and the experience they have they shouldn’t have been out rebounded by the Kentucky Wildcats and they shouldn’t have been out rebounded by Army in the first half of that game. Offensively, even with a better assist number in this game, still are flailing a bit in the half court. It’s not to say they haven’t been effective offensively but against Army they had 8 turnovers in the first half – another noticeable deficiency was the precision of the passing, for a team that isn’t expected to be a strong 3 point shooting team passing around the perimeter have to be precise and delivered accurately. It’s the difference between getting an open look and catching the defense scrambling versus putting yourself in a bad position and giving the defender the advantage. Little things like pin point passing can really make a difference between shooting 31% and 35% from beyond the arc.

Duke will have a quick turnaround, playing Campbell Saturday Night at 8pm.


Opening Statement: “This is a good night for us because we played against a team that played so hard and was so determined. For our guys to recognize that that’s how everyone is going to come. For these kids, it’s their second college game and first home game and there’s a lot to learn. Overall, we played really good defense. We forced 21 turnovers and gave up 56 points … that’s good. I did not think we were strong with the ball and that has to do with them [Army West Point] playing so hard. I think overall this was a good night for our team and a great learning experience, especially with a team that plays away from the basket. We’re going to face a certain number of those, but not too many. It’s not unconventional … it’s just different. The thing is, they play well together and they have multiple ball handlers so they have four guards usually in the game and a big kid that sets big screens. There isn’t a lot of stuff around the basket. Again, overall good in that regard but we didn’t have the verve that I would like. You could say we got back at 4:30 a.m. on Wednesday and you have a big game. You’re right, but we have to be able to handle all of that. I think during the game we had moments where we did handle that really well. I thought Wendell [Moore Jr.] really had a hell of a game with a triple double. I thought in the second half, Jeremy [Roach], especially in the period of time when it was 10 … 11 … and then all of the sudden it was 17 … he made really big plays for us. We’re not playing one week and then another week and then another week. The rapidity of high-level performance is a difficult thing to teach. Our performance was good, but it wasn’t at the level I would like. Army [West Point] had a lot to do with that.”

On the offensive pace: “I thought we passed and stood. We don’t practice that way. Almost every day, it’s hit … cut … shallow cut … we move the ball. Part of it is they play man-to-man but it’s a top of the key man-to-man. It’s somewhat like a really good matchup zone. It invites multiple dribbles because it’s almost like ‘what am I going to do’, and you just start dribbling the ball. That comes with experience. We called this a zone game … one-dribble penetration. You have one hard dribble, kick and move. Then you might have a couple dribbles and you break it down. We didn’t break it down. I don’t know if we were a little tired but we need to move the target better.”

On playing against his alma mater: “The main thing is I’m pleased that Army [West Point] came here. It’s the Veterans Classic and they were the team we wanted the most to come. Obviously these kids are going to serve … it’s my alma mater, but the people who have gone there have served. So it’s a way of honoring our Armed Forces and visibly have the United States Military Academy here was tremendous. More so than it being my alma mater, on Veterans weekend … it’s so appropriate. Those kids really display the high level of passion and commitment and they should be proud of their effort tonight. For me, I didn’t get caught up in playing Army [West Point]. I love Army … I love that I went there and everything, but when I coach, I don’t look at who I’m coaching against or the team. I just want to beat the other people and I try not to let anything else in. I’m fairly good at that.”

On what tonight’s steal numbers show: “We’re good and we have athletic ability there. We have three really good on-ball defenders in Jeremy, Wendell and Trevor [Keels]. Paolo [Banchero] can guard. To me, I thought Paolo looked tired tonight. He had a great game (vs. Kentucky). I’m just wondering … he had an IV during the (Kentucky) game. He’s such a big guy and I’m wondering if there’s something in recovery that he didn’t recover yet at the level he needed to. The Kentucky game in the second half was crazy. You have two guys going back and getting IVs. Maybe he didn’t have as much recovery time but he had 18 [points] and 12 [rebounds]. You know he can play better tonight and I do too, but more importantly he knows. Our perimeter defense is pretty good and that has to be a key for us this year. They kept pushing us and pushed it well. They had multiple ball handlers so that was a test of transition defense for us.” 


On the lessons taken from this game: “You’re going to get everyone’s best shot. Army’s a good team. They’re tough, they were making shots, playing physical. We went up 10-0 and they weren’t phased at all. That’s what Coach told us. We went up 10-0 and kind of got comfortable and, maybe expected them to fold and that wasn’t the case so, obviously we learned from that. We’ve got Campbell tomorrow, so, we’re going to come out with more energy tomorrow definitely and try and prove that we can bring that effort from the jump.”

On the difference in performance from the first to second half: “Yeah, they stuck with us in the first half. I think they out-toughed us in the first half, so we wanted to come out and out-tough them and match their intensity and open the game up. So, I think that was the difference in the second half for us.”


On the team defense: “Yeah, we have a lot of potential defensively. There are still some things we’re working on and we need to keep getting better at. That’s part of the process throughout the season, just try to keep improving, but the potential is there. We have a long team and laterally, we move very well, so, the pieces are intact, we just have to keep getting better and keep that mentality.”

On his performance from beyond the arc and getting his first buckets in Cameron [Indoor Stadium]: “It felt good, just staying confident, trusting the work and trying to make plays to put the team in a winning position. Anything else, you try not to focus on too much.”


On his triple-double performance tonight: “I was really just going out there and hooping. My teammates believed in me and my teammates hit shots, so, at the end of the day they just did what they normally do and made me look good.”

On getting off to a good start this season: “It helps a lot and it all starts with my teammates. They’ve instilled so much confidence in me over this pre-season, I feel like I can do anything with them behind me.” 

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