2K EMPIRE CLASSIC BENEFITING WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT
NOV. 15 | CAMERON INDOOR STADIUM | DURHAM, N.C. | 7:00 P.M.
Overall: 2nd meeting; Duke leads, 1-0
In Durham: Duke leads, 1-0
In Atlanta: n/a
At neutral sites: n/a
Current streak: Duke, 1-0
Coach K vs. Georgia State: 1-0
Friday the 3-0 Blue Devils take on the 1-1 Georgia State Panthers in Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Panthers routed Brewton-Parker College 104-35 before losing to the College of Charleston 84-80 in their second game. The Blue Devils are fresh off of a drubbing of Central Arkansas 105-54. Both teams have been defensive-minded in this early part of the season with each allowing less than 60.0 points per game, while the Blue Devils are forcing opponents to 22.3 turnovers per contest.
The Panthers are led by a foursome of guards who are all averaging in double-digits in the early going of the season. Kane Williams leads the team in scoring at 13.5 points per game. Justin Roberts comes in at 13 per game and is coming off of a 22 point performance in a loss to College of Charleston. A game that saw them commit 19 turnovers and still have a chance to win. They gave up 27 points off of their turnovers for a deficit of 13 and had an edge in second chance points (they won the rebounding battle 40-28) by a margin of 16 to 10. You can do the math but a few less turnovers and they win that game.
The Panthers start one freshmen, their center Joe Jones III and they surround him with a ton of experience in a redshirt senior ( Damon Wilson ), a redshirt junior ( Corey Allen ), a redshirt sophomore ( Juston Roberts ) and a junior Kane Williams.
Their 4 guard lineup in 2 games is shooting 43% from 3-point range (26th so far nationally) and out rebounding their opponents 95-59 in 2 games.
Player to Watch:
Of their players with more than 2 attempts averaged per game, Nelson Phillips, Corey Allen and Kane Williams are shooting combined 52% from beyond the arc.
If you are into such things with the loss to Evansville by #1 ranked Kentucky, the Blue Devils have a chance to assume the #1 ranking for that it's worth when the new poll comes out. Moreover Duke has a chance to work more on lineups that work and substitution patters as the competition starts to become stiffer. It will be interesting to see if Duke goes with a strategy of putting out a lineup to impose their will size-wise on the Panthers or a lineup meant to combat what the Panthers do well. Either way the Blue Devils will need to defend the perimeter well against a hot shooting team. Duke should be able to force a good amount of turnovers but if the Panthers play as good as a team that starts 4 guards should play in terms of valuing the ball it should interesting to see if Duke's pressure actually pays off as it has been. I expect Duke to win handily but if the Panthers can hit shots and limit turnovers it could be closer than one might imagine. I don't see that happening.
Duke was much better offensively in their last outing and stringing together multiple games with positive offensive numbers would be a blessing for a team who has struggled shooting the ball from the outside early in the season.
Probable Starting Lineups
Guard - Tre Jones - 6'3, 185lbs
Guard - Cassius Stanley - 6'6, 193lbs
Guard - Wendell Moore - 6'6, 213lbs
Forward - Matthew Hurt - 6'9, 214lbs
Center - Vernon Carey - 6'10, 270lbs
Guard - Corey Allen - 6'2, 205lbs
Guard - Kane Williams - 6'3, 190lbs
Guard - Damon Wilson - 6'5, 190lbs
Guard - Justin Roberts - 5'11, 170lbs
Center - Joe Jones III - 6'9, 245lbs
JUNIOR GUARD ALEX O’CONNELL
On being a defensive team:
“We’re definitely a good offensive team naturally but a big part of being a good team is working on our defense every day. We try to predicate our team on our defense and try to see if we can build our offense off defense by creating steals and getting fast baskets in transition.”
On using defense to help win games:
“Defense is going to be a big key for our team this year. If we keep working and preparing for games like we have been lately, our defense can definitely be a key component for our team.”
On specific areas worked on in the offseason:
“We all have been working since the summer and somethings I’ve been working on are staying solid, staying in front of the guy and also being up in passing lanes trying to get steals.”
On the offensive difference between this team and last year’s team:
“Last year was a team in its own and this year we are a more balanced team. We have more guys that are capable of coming in off the bench or being a starter and having a hot night. That helps us because we’re able to bring in guys with fresh legs and we’re more capable of rotating guys in especially if someone gets hurt or tired.”
On being a work in progress to start the season:
“We have a lot of guys who can play and we have different starting lineups that we can put in the game depending on who we’re playing and what matchups we want to get. The balance and depth we have is a good thing for our team.”
On playing without Tre Jones last game:
“It showed us that if Tre isn’t in the game, we have to pick up the defensive intensity and pick up the slack where he left off because he is such a great on-ball defender. If we can pick up that intensity when he’s out, that will only make us a better defensive team.”
SENIOR FORWARD JAVIN DELAURIER
On the main takeaway from the last game:
“We’re really just working on trying to maintain our identity that we’re starting to build as a young team. Playing hard for 40 minutes, being together and playing great defense. For us, it starts on the defensive end and everyone has bought into that. We’re trying to take our opponents out of what they do so we can win basketball games.”
On the biggest change from last year:
“We are forced to rely on each other a lot more than last year. Last year, we had guys who could individually take over games more often than not. We have to work together as a unit.”
On going back to the Duke Basketball roots:
“There is definitely an enthusiasm that has rubbed off on our entire program. Everyone is excited to get to work every day and the game applies when we get out there for a game. What you guys are seeing is the enthusiasm rubbing off.”
On the defensive feedback from going through the NBA Draft process:
“[I’m] really trying to defend ball screens. That’s going to be something that is huge at the next level. Trying to eliminate foul trouble … I’m okay with that. Getting rid of unnecessary fouls is the biggest thing.”
On the amount of time spent on defense in practice:
“I would definitely say this season we focus the most on it, especially early. We’re doing defensive workouts for a couple months now and I think that was a great move by the coaching staff. It was very intentional knowing we have a lot of young guys. For us to play the way we want, we have to be totally comfortable out there.”
On the different mindset with young guys this year:
“Knowing our personnel and what it takes to be successful, we really stress the importance of being on the same page a little earlier than we have in the past.”