Duke returns from 14 day break with 103-62 win
Duke returned from a 14 day break to rout South Carolina State 103-62.
It had been two weeks since Duke last took the court for game action prior to Tuesday night’s tip.
If you didn’t know that to be true, you surely would not be surprised by the Blue Devils’ 103-62 blowout of South Carolina State.
If you did know that to be accurate, there might be a smidge of bewilderment with Duke’s performance. To be clear, we’re not suggesting any surprise or amazement that the Blue Devils won in convincing manner.
That, and no offense to South Carolina State, by no means, comes as a surprise. What was a little bit astounding is how fluid Duke played from start to finish.
Most would expect some level of rust or at least moments of struggle. Neither really existed in the victory over the Bulldogs.
In fact, the Blue Devils were lights out offensively. The only sign of any kind of struggle for Mike Krzyzewski’s team came with turnovers, as the Blue Devils handed the ball back to SC State 16 times on the night.
As disappointing as those miscues likely were for Krzyzewski, the team’s overall offensive efficiency was off the charts. Duke scored 60 points in the first half alone. That’s right — 60 points. To make that number even more impressive, the Blue Devils did it by shooting lights out: 62.1% from the field, 72.7% from 3-point range and 94.1% from the free throw line.
The Blue Devils went into the half with three players in double figures — Wendell Moore Jr. with 11 points, Trevor Keels with 10 and Paolo Banchero with 10. Additionally, Joey Baker added seven points and Jeremy Roach posted six.
In fact, Duke’s offense was so successful, every single Blue Devil that saw the court in the first half scored. Of course some might think what’s the big deal?
Usually, it is offense that suffers most after long layovers. Duke’s clearly did not. By game’s end, the Blue Devils had connected on 55.9% from the floor, 55.6% from long range and 91.7% from the charity stripe. Those numbers skewed downward after Krzyzewski began clearing the bench and resting his regular rotation, but nonetheless, Duke was shooting the ball really, really well.
Defensively, Duke was on top of its game once again as well, holding SC State to just 32.5% shooting from the field and 20% from 3 for the game, while also forcing the Bulldogs into 17 turnovers. The Blue Devils turned those SCSU miscues into 24 points.
TORCHING THE NETS
The statistics speak for themselves. Duke was unreal on the offensive end of the floor. After absolutely torching the nets in the first 20 minutes, Krzyzewski’s squad continued to score the ball with relative ease.
Duke had seven players connect from 3-point range in the game. Jeremy Roach, Joey Baker and A.J. Griffin led the way with three apiece (combining for 9-of-12), while Keels added two 3s, and three others — Moore, Jaylen Blakes, Bates Jones and Michael Savarino made one 3 each.
For the game, the Blue Devils drilled 15-of-27.
Aside from Duke’s prowess from beyond the arc, the Blue Devils also found success inside the stripe. Mark Williams scored 10 points on 4-of-4 shooting. Banchero posted 12 points, though he was just 3-of-7 from the floor. He did, however, also add seven rebounds and six assists, leading the team in both categories.
Griffin, who finished the night as Duke’s leading scorer with 17 points (7-of-7, 3-of-3), wasn’t just pulling from deep. He was also making plays near the hoop — yet another positive sign in his development. Overall, the freshman showed his heralded shot from the perimeter, and his smooth, yet powerful ability to play around the basket.
Keels finished the night as Duke’s second leading scorer with 14 points, while Baker followed close behind with 13 points of his own. Roach posted nine, and Moore added 11. Jones also got in on the action, scoring seven points.
Blakes and Savarino also scored three points, while Keenan Worthington scored two points. In all, 11 Blue Devils scored in the game.
OK, THERE WAS SOME RUST
We alluded to the turnovers earlier, and they were beginning to pile up by the end of the game, with Duke posting 16 as previously mentioned.
As fluid as Duke was on offense, where it handed out 23 assists on 33 made shots, there were some moments where the Blue Devils were loose with the basketball. In fact, three Blue Devils had three turnovers apiece — Blakes, Baker and Roach. Additionally, three others posted two turnovers each — Moore, Keels and Banchero.
Those mistakes resulted in 16 points for the Bulldogs.
The other sign of rust was Duke’s inability to control the backboards. Duke has surprisingly struggled on the glass some this season, particularly in keeping opponents off the offense boards. Tonight was no different as South Carolina State pulled down 21 offensive rebounds.
SC State converted those boards into 17 points on the night. Overall, Duke was out-rebounded 42- 39.
Duke will have two more games to clean up some of its concerns before hitting the gauntlet that is the ACC schedule, beginning on Dec. 22 when Virginia Tech comes to Cameron Indoor Stadium.