Game Preview: Duke Blue Devils vs. Wofford Terriers

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Game Preview

Duke Blue Devils (11-0, 0-0] vs. Wofford Terriers (9-3, 0-0]

Wednesday, December 31. 2014 • 3:00 PM • ESPN3/RSN • Durham, N.C. • Cameron Indoor Stadium

By Randy Dunson

1. Snapshot

Duke

Duke (11-0) wraps up the calendar year with a home contest against Wofford (9-3) Wednesday, December 31. Tipoff is set for 3:04 PM with RSN televising the contest. The Blue Devils look to open the season with 12 straight wins for the 15th time in school history and 11th time under Mike Krzyzewski. Duke enters the game ranked No. 2 in the AP Poll and the USA Today Coaches Poll. The Blue Devils are 117-18 when ranked No. 2 in the AP Poll.  Wofford is unranked in both polls.

Duke has won 29 straight games in the month of December dating back to a Dec. 2, 2009 loss at Wisconsin. The Blue Devils have won 39 consecutive games at Cameron Indoor Stadium, the fourth longest streak in both Duke and ACC history. Duke has won a school record and active NCAA-best 115 straight non-conference home games, more than twice as many as the next closest school (Illinois – 42).

Wofford

The Toledo Terriers have tasted success in recent years against opponents from the Atlantic Coast Conference. Wofford is 2-1 in its last three games against ACC opponents. Earlier this season, the Terriers went to Reynolds Coliseum and handed NC State its first loss in the building since 1999. On January 2, 2012, Wofford traveled to Wake Forest and beat the Demon Deacons, 56-52. Wofford’s two other wins against current members of the conference came December 2, 2002 over Virginia Tech, 79-77 (when the Hokies were still a member of the BIG EAST), and November 21, 1999 over Clemson, 79-74. All four wins have come on the road.

Wofford will hope to earn its first win over an AP Top 25 opponent in program history. Heading into Wednesday, Duke is ranked No. 2 by both the AP and USA Today Coaches Poll. The Terriers have gone up against nationally ranked opponents 20 times and have never been able to come away with the victory. The closest call was four points on two occasions. The first was December 7, 2000 when the Terriers fell 68-64 in Tuscaloosa to then-No. 23 Alabama. In the 2010 NCAA Tournament, 13th-seeded Wofford had fourth-seeded Wisconsin (No. 13 AP) on the ropes, tied at 49 with less than 30 seconds to play. Jon Leuer hit a jumper for the Badgers with 17 seconds left and Wofford turned the ball over on its final possession. Wisconsin went back to the line and hit both free throws to put the game away.


2. Team Seasons Thus Far

Duke Blue Devils

In its last outing, Jahlil Okafor scored 27 points and Quinn Cook added 20 points to pace Duke to an 86-69 win over Toledo Monday evening. Okafor was an efficient 12-of-15 from the field as the Blue Devils shot 55.8 percent (29-of-52) for the game. Duke was an even more impressive 23-of-37 (.622) on its two-point field goal attempts. Tyus Jones added 15 points, four rebounds, eight assists and two steals. He knocked down a pair of three-point field goals and was 9-of-9 from the free throw line. Duke outrebounded the Rockets, 34-28, with Okafor and Amile Jefferson each grabbing eight boards. The Blue Devils have now outrebounded nine of their 11 opponents.

Game Notes

  • Duke started 11-0 during the 2012, 2010, 2005, 2004, 2002, and 2001 seasons (since 1996).
  • The win over Toledo extended the Duke winning streak to 11 games.
  • The Blue Devils have recorded more rebounds than their opponents for the past eight games.
  • This is the sixth game at home this season–Duke has a 34.7 average scoring margin against opponents at home.
  • Jahlil Okafor recorded a team season high in points with 27.
  • Jahlil Okafor accounted for 31.3 percent of the team’s points.
  • The top two rebounders (Jahlil Okafor and Amile Jefferson) accounted for 47.0 percent of the rebounds.
  • Jahlil Okafor has led the team in scoring five times and in rebounding 6 times in 11 games this season.
  • This marks the ninth 20-point game of Quinn Cook’s career.
  • This marks the fourth 20-point game of Jahlil Okafor’s career.
  • Jahlil Okafor has 11 straight double-digit point games

Overall, several notable highlights, trends, and highlights continue to emerge as the season progresses:

Team Highlights

  • The Blue Devils are one of six remaining undefeated teams in the NCAA. Duke is the only team in that group to win each game by 10 or more points.
  • Duke has won each of the first 11 games by 10 or more points, marking the first time in program history it has accomplished that feat.
  • The Blue Devils have trailed for just 5:01  through the first 11 games of the season. Duke’s largest deficit this season has been four points.
  • Duke is averaging 94.8 points per game while shooting 57.3 percent from the field in six games at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Blue Devils have a +34.6 scoring margin in those contests.
  • Duke is 185-26 (.877) in the month of December under Mike Krzyzewski, including an active 29-game win streak in the month.
  • Duke is averaging 18.5 made free throws over the past four games. The guard tandem of Tyus Jones and Quinn Cook is 39-of-45 (.867) from the charity stripe in that stretch.
  • The Blue Devils are seeking their first 12-game win streak since the start of the 2012-13 season. Duke opened that season with 15 consecutive victories.

Individual Player Highlights

  • Freshmen Tyus Jones, Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow have started all 11 games for the Blue Devils. Mike Krzyzewski has started three or more freshmen in a game 46 times at Duke, including 27 times during the 1982-83 season.
  • Duke’s top-rated freshman class – Grayson Allen, Tyus Jones, Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow – combines to average 45.5 points per game while shooting an efficient 54.4 percent (173-of-318) from the field. The group has accounted for 25 of Duke’s 45 double figure scoring games.
  • Jahlil Okafor and Amile Jefferson each rank in the top 10 of the ACC in rebounds at 8.8 rpg. and 8.4 rpg., respectively. The last time Duke had two players average 8.0 rebounds or better for a season was 1994-95 when Cherokee Parks (9.3 rpg.) and Erik Meek (8.3 rpg.) accomplished the feat.
  • Quinn Cook has made at least one three-point field goal in each of the past 21 games. He is shooting 41.0 percent (50-of-122) from behind the arc in that stretch. Cook is second in the ACC in three-point field goals (2.55 3pg.) this season.
  • Duke’s starting frontcourt of Jahlil Okafor and Amile Jefferson combines to average 26.6 points and 17.2 rebounds per game, while shooting 66.7 percent (126-of-189) from the field.
  • Tyus Jones is averaging 15.6 points, 4.4 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 1.4 steals per game over the past five contests. He is 18-of-34 (.529) from the field and 34-of-41 (.854) from the foul line in that stretch. Jones has two 20-point games, including a team-high 21 points in Duke’s win over Connecticut, over the past five games.
  • Jahlil Okafor, a four-time ACC Rookie of the Week selection, leads the ACC in scoring (18.3 ppg.) and offensive rebounds (3.91 orpg.), while also ranking second in field goal percentage (.669), tied for fifth in rebounds (8.8 rpg.) and tied for 10th in blocks (1.5 bpg.).
  • Jahlil Okafor has been outstanding at Cameron Indoor Stadium averaging 22.2 points, 9.7 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.7 blocks per game. He is 59-of-77 (.766) from the field at home and has made eight or more field goals in all six contests.
  • Jahlil Okafor has the highest field goal percentage (.669) in the NCAA among players attempting 10 or more shots per game. Okafor has shot over 60.0 percent from the field in eight of Duke’s 11 games.

Wofford

In its last outing, Wofford shot just 26.8 percent from the field and lost big against No. 18 West Virginia 77-44 on Monday, December. 22. It was over at the half, as West Virginia jumped out to a 42-20 lead and never looked back. The Terriers were led by Karl Cochran, who got 10 points and six rebounds. Spencer Collins had a team-high 12 points. Juwan Staten registered a double-double for the Mountaineers with a game-high 17 points and 10 rebounds. Next up for Wofford (9-3, 0-0 SoCon) is second-ranked Duke (11-0, 0-0 ACC) on Wednesday, December 31 on the road.

Game Notes

  • This game was statistically over in the 2nd half with 11:52 left to go
  • Prior to this game, Wofford played seven Top 25 opponents in the last five seasons with a record of 0-7
  • Wofford has lost 100 percent of the time this season (0-3) after recording 27 or fewer rebounds
  • When the opposition shoots a field goal percentage of 49.1 percent or better this season, Wofford has lost 100 percent of the time (0-3)
  • The Terriers set a season high for turnovers (21)
  • The last time Wofford recorded at least 21 turnovers was November 18, 2012 against Ohio
  • Wofford set season lows for assists (7), field goals made (11), field goal percentage (26.8), steals (4), and total points (44)
  • The top two scorers (Spencer Collins and Karl Cochran) accounted for 50.0 percent of the points
  • The top two rebounders (Karl Cochran and C.J. Neumann) accounted for 40.7 percent of the rebounds
  • Karl Cochran has led the team in rebounding in seven out of 12 games this season

Overall, several notable highlights, trends, and highlights continue to emerge as the season progresses:

Team Highlights

Head Coach Mike Young, in his 13th season at the helm and 26th year with the program overall, is two wins shy of becoming the third coach in program history to crack 200 wins. Young enters the Duke matchup with a record of 198-188 (.513), which sits behind only current Director of Athletics Richard Johnson (236-230, 1985-2002) and all-time wins leader Gene Alexander (283-265, 1958-77). Young would be the first Terrier coach to record 200 wins that have all come in the NCAA Div. I era.

Wofford’s 2014-15 schedule features four NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago. Stanford advanced the furthest, making it to the Sweet 16 as a No. 10 seed with wins over New Mexico (58-53) and Kansas (60-57). The Terriers also meet up with NC State and Duke, as well as two matchups with one of the SoCon’s newest members, Mercer. Mercer won the Atlantic Sun Tournament last season and defeated No. 3-seeded Duke as a No. 14 seed in the second round 78-71.

Wofford is one of 53 schools to have earned an NCAA Tournament bid in three of the last five seasons. The Terriers are just one of 16 schools on that list from a non-power conference (excludes the ACC, American, Big East, Big Ten, Big XII, Pac-12, SEC). Other non-power conference teams include Belmont, BYU, Gon­zaga, Harvard, LIU-Brooklyn, Montana, New Mexico, New Mexico St., Saint Louis, San Diego St., St. Mary’s, Temple, UNLV, VCU, and Wichita St.

The Toledo Terriers have tasted success in recent years against opponents from the Atlantic Coast Conference. Wofford is 2-1 in its last three games against ACC opponents. Earlier this season, the Terriers went to Reynolds Coliseum and handed NC State its first loss in the building since 1999. On January 2, 2012, Wofford traveled to Wake Forest and beat the Demon Deacons, 56-52. Wofford’s two other wins against current members of the conference came December 2, 2002 over Virginia Tech, 79-77 (when the Hokies were still a member of the BIG EAST), and November 21, 1999 over Clemson, 79-74. All four wins have come on the road.

Wofford will hope to earn its first win over an AP Top 25 opponent in program history. Heading into Wednesday, Duke is ranked No. 2 by both the AP and USA Today Coaches Poll. The Terriers have gone up against nationally ranked opponents 20 times and have never been able to come away with the victory. The closest call was four points on two occasions. The first was December 7, 2000 when the Terriers fell 68-64 in Tuscaloosa to then-No. 23 Alabama. In the 2010 NCAA Tournament, 13th-seeded Wofford had fourth-seeded Wisconsin (No. 13 AP) on the ropes, tied at 49 with less than 30 seconds to play. Jon Leuer hit a jumper for the Badgers with 17 seconds left and Wofford turned the ball over on its final possession. Wisconsin went back to the line and hit both free throws to put the game away.

Player Highlights

Senior guard Karl Cochran became the second Terrier in program history to achieve 1,500 points, 500 rebounds and 250 assists in Wofford’s 66-45 win over Presbyterian (December 3). He entered the game needing three points and two assists for the milestone. Cochran got the points on his first 3-point shot of the game, and completed his second assist at the 3:15 mark of the first half to join Robert Mickle (1981-85 • 1,572 points, 569 rebounds, 264 assists) as the only two Terriers to accomplish the trifecta. Reaching 1,500 points also made Cochran just the 12th Wofford player in program history to do so. The game prior to joining the 1,500-500-250-club, Cochran earned his 500th career rebound at William & Mary. Cochran is the only player in program history to boast those numbers and have 100 or more steals. Mickle had 57 in his career and Cochran enters the Duke game with 187.

Cochran leads the Terriers in points (13.3), rebounds (6.8), assists (3.0), and steals (2.0). Among Southern Conference competitors, Cochran comes in at No. 13 in points, No. 10 in assists, No. 3 in rebounds and No. 3 in steals. He is also the Southern Conference leader in defensive rebounds (5.8). The 6-foot-1 guard ranks No. 58 nationally in steals, No. 55 in defensive rebounds.

Sophomore guard Eric Garcia set a career-high with seven assists in a 66-45 win over Presbyterian (December 3). It marked Wofford’s individual game-high this season. Cochran was the last to have more than seven in a game, going for eight on just two occasions in 2013-14 against High Point (December 30, 2013) and at The Citadel (February 8, 2014). Senior forward Lee Skinner and junior guard Spencer Collins are on pace to become Wofford’s 44th and 45th 1,000-point scorers. Skinner enters Wednesday with 995 points to sit five back of 1,000. Collins now has 937 in his career after scoring a team-high 12 points on December 22 at West Virginia.

Collins has played and started in all 77 games of his Terrier career, and is expected to make his 78th consecutive start on Wednesday at Duke. Junior forward Justin Gordon has never missed a game either with 77 career appearances. Meanwhile, seniors Cochran and Skinner have also never missed a game. Both are expected to step on the court for the 111th consecutive time.

All but two letter winners from last season return for the 2014-15 campaign. The Terriers bring back all five starters (Garcia, Cochran, Collins, Skinner, and Neumann), along with 95 percent of their scoring and 91 percent of their rebounding. Wofford welcomes four newcomers to the program this year, guard Derrick Brooks, forward Cameron Jackson, and guard Bobby Perez come in as freshmen. They are joined by Ryan Sawvell, a transfer from Evansville who will sit out the 2014-15 season. Sawvell appeared in 71 games in two-plus seasons at Evansville and was named to the MVC All-Freshman Team in 2011-12.


3. Head-to-Head

Wofford and Duke go head-to-head for the first time in 79 years when the Terriers visit the second-ranked Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Wednesday at 3 PM. Wofford last played December 22 and had its four-game winning streak snapped by West Virginia, 77-44, in Morgantown . Duke enters a perfect 11-0, most recently fighting off Toledo, 86-69, on Monday. The Blue Devils are 5-0 in the all-time series against Wofford, which was last contested January 6, 1936, in a game which Duke won 36-28 in Durham. The series dates back to 1913.

In terms of a few key offensive and defensive statistical parameters, Duke predominates in all except for 3PT FG%, which gives the Blue Devils a significant statistical edge head-to-head.

Duke 2014-15 Regular Season Key Stats Comparison Wofford (Wofford)
85.5 (+24.5) PPG (Scoring Margin) 66.3 (+6.8)
61.0 Opponents PPG 59.6
59.3 Effective FG% 51.3
52.6 FG% 44.9
41.2 Opponent FG% 41.7
37.3 3PT FG% 40.4
27.2 Opponent 3PT FG% 28.5
38.1 (+8.9) RPG (Rebound Margin) 33.0 (+2.2)
29.2 Opponent RPG 30.8
17.6 APG 14.6
8.7 SPG 6.3
11.1 (+3.2) Turnovers Per Game (Margin) 13.4 (+2.4)
14.6 Opponent TOPG 13.8
4.0 BPG 3.4


4. Four Factors to Winning

[If you wish to learn more about how the four factors are calculated and implemented, a description can always be found here, https://www.dukeblogger.com/four-factors-winning/.]

Wofford 4 Factors

Duke holds a fairly edge in all factors. When looking at eFG%, it is 59.3% to 51.35%. In terms of handling the ball, the Blue Devils have the edge in (16.6% vs. 18.9%). In offensive rebounding, the edge is 38.7% vs. 27.9%), and finally, when it comes to getting to the free throw line (44.7% vs. 33.4%).

5. Key Points to Consider

First, a few points regarding both team’s overall profile at this point:

Duke

  • Highly efficient attack
  • Stingy defense
  • Commits few fouls

Wofford

  • Methodical on offense
  • Hits a lot of 3 pointers
  • Hard to score against

Now, a few key points to consider. These may often carry over to future games but keys specific to a current opponent will always be mentioned.

  • Three Point Shooting
    • Wofford is one of a handful of teams that has a better 3PT FG% than Duke
    • They have three players shooting 40+ 3PT FG% with Cochran just under
  • Contain Skinner and Cochran
    • Leads Wofford in all categories
  • Bench Production
    • Remains a problem and does not bode well when the ‘real’ season begins
    • With the exception of Rasheed Sulaimon the bench production has to pick up
    • They will good test in this and the Wofford game but will others produce?

6. Endgame

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski scheduled two unheralded opponents this week to get his club ready for ACC play. The second-ranked Blue Devils were tested by the first one, though that might not happen again despite facing a team that has already beaten one of Duke’s Tobacco Road rivals.

Wofford has lost all 20 games to ranked foes as a Division I program and has the daunting task of going on the road Wednesday to try to end the Blue Devils’ perfect start.

Duke (11-0) is off to another strong start after beginning 15-0 two seasons ago, and enters this contest with the nation’s longest non-conference home win streak at 115 games. The Blue Devils are gearing up for Saturday’s ACC opener against Boston College.

Krzyzewski starts three freshmen, though Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones, and Justise Winslow are three of Duke’s top four scorers. The coach wanted to use this week to have those youngsters play against some experienced players.

The Blue Devils were tested Monday by a Toledo team that started three seniors. Duke led by four at halftime before pulling away for an 86-69 victory. Next up is Wofford (9-3), which has two seniors and two juniors in its starting five. “We felt these two games, against Toledo and Wofford, would help us,” said Krzyzewski, who is six wins shy of 1,000 overall. “Wofford is very good and very well coached, too.”

Okafor took advantage of man-to-man defense as he scored a season-high 27 for Duke, which worked through a tricky contest against a team it expects to reach the NCAA tournament. “They were like a first-round team in the (NCAA) tournament that you could face, and that was great experience, especially for our young guys,” junior forward Amile Jefferson said. “And then this next game, this Wofford game, will also be great because it’s like a tournament-style atmosphere. We get one day off and then we play the next day.”

The Terriers are returning to the area where they stunned North Carolina State 55-54 on December 14, on Justin Gordon’s contested layup with 1.9 seconds left. Wofford returned nearly its entire team from last season’s Southern Conference championship club that lost to Michigan in the NCAAs.

Forward Lee Skinner, who is averaging 8.2 points, is five points away from becoming the 44th player in school history to reach 1,000 points. Guard Karl Cochran, who ranks 11th with 1,544 career points, leads the Terriers in scoring (13.3) and rebounding (6.8) and guard Spencer Collins is averaging 11.4 points per game. Still, Wofford may not be ready for this caliber of competition after its four-game winning streak was snapped with a 77-44 loss at then-No. 18 West Virginia on December 22. The Terriers were held to season lows in points, assists (seven), and shooting percentage (26.8). Wofford finished with a season-worst 21 turnovers after averaging 9.0 during its win streak. The Terriers have three players shooting 44.4 percent or better on 3-pointers, though top scorer Karl Cochran (36.5) is not among them. He averages 13.3 points.

“It was not our night, but I did think we did some things very well,” coach Mike Young told Wofford’s official website. “We ran some plays and created a good amount of open looks, but we just couldn’t get in the basket.”

Therefore, at the end of day, three factors are important:

  • Duke has won all five previous meetings
  • Wofford is shooting 40.4 percent from 3-point range
  • Cook has made at least one 3-pointer in 21 straight games dating to last season

The Devils should win this game with ease as long as it does not turn into a three-point shooting contest.