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It's been a nightmare season so far for the Stetson Hatters. Although the season began with a promising 50 point win against Johnson University, the Hatters followed that up with a 7 game losing streak. Stetson has been in each and every game within that losing streak aside from a 36 drubbing by USC two weeks ago. The Hatters are in search for something to build off of and a strong showing against a top 5 Duke team, even with a loss, could be a huge momentum builder for Corey Williams' squad.

Stetson is a young team still in search of consistency and although they have put themselves in position to win a good amount of close games, they've been unable to get over the hump. The prevailing and constant theme for the Hatters is to finish games and do the little things that separate a 3 point loss from a 3 point win.

Stetson is led by a pair of sophomores in guard Christiaan Jones with 12.8 per game and 5.5 rebounds and Iyola Abayomi, at the forward spot,who adds 12.3 a game and 8.5 boards.

The Blue Devils are led in scoring by R.J. Barrett, the Canadian freshman is averaging 22.7 points a game and 3.6 assists. Zion Williamson, a 6'7 freshman forward, comes is as the second leading scorer and the leading rebounder - Williamson averages 21.3 per game and 9 rebounds. Tre Jones comes in leading the ACC in assist-to-turnover ratio and is averaging 5.9 assists per contest and 10 points a game. Cam Reddish leads the Blue Devil starters in 3 point shooting percentage at 43%.

Duke, another young team, is also looking for consistency. It's easy to look at the record of 6 wins and 1 loss and not dig beyond it but the Blue Devils still need to execute better in a lot of phases. Duke, against Indiana, did not execute at a high level. Clearly scoring 90 points and winning by 21 is a very good deodorant but 14 turnovers is high against a team that didn't apply a ton of ball pressure. There were a lot of unforced errors for the Blue Devils that they need to shore up. Duke also shot poorly from the free throw line shooting 17 of 29 for 58.6%, the Devils had to shoot over 70% in the second half to get to that number. Duke will need to use this game against Stetson, as well as the games against Hartford, Yale and Princeton to build a body of consistency before their trip to NY to face a good Texas Tech team and then on to the Winter break and Clemson.

Some specific goals I'd like to see for this Blue Devil team will be to get Cam Reddish going early, his confidence may be at a season low. The freshman forward has been shooting great from the perimeter but has had problems finishing at the rim and has seemed to try to force the issue resulting in turnovers as of late. Reddish seems to have allowed his struggles to leak into his defense as well and if K and company can address getting Cam back to doing all of the fundamental things that lead to success they may be able to jumpstart him once again.

For R.J. Barrett some consistency with his jump shot, better execution in his floor game - less turnovers and better shot selection. As a whole, being able to execute in the half-court is going to be crucial going into the real meat of the schedule.

Defensively, the Devils need to understand that intensity matters but it matters regardless of score. Until this team learns to take it personally when giving up a bucket they will not play like an elite defensive team. There seems to be a mindset with younger teams that we can get that bucket back but to see this team value the stop as much as they value scoring would be a welcomed sight. That's not to say that Duke doesn't defend well, they've gotten good defensive efforts from freshman Tre Jones and junior bigs Marques Bolden and Javin DeLaurier but that needs to be something that permeates through the entire squad.

Duke PPG

Duke Probable Starters

  • G Tre Jones 6'2 183lbs
  • F R.J. Barrett 6'7 202lbs
  • F Cam Reddish 6'8 218lbs
  • F Zion Williamson 6'7 285lbs
  • C Marques Bolden 6'11 250lbs

Stetson Probable Starters

  • G Marques Sumner 6'1 185lbs
  • G Christiaan Jones 6'4 175lbs
  • G Kenny Aninye 6'1 185lbs
  • G/F Leo Goodman 6'5 210lbs
  • F Abayomi Iyiola 6'9 210slbs

One Comment

  • Andy says:

    Absolutely correct!….This team HAS to value DEFENSE – and they are not. I partly blame that on the coaches, esp. the assistants.

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