The Blue Devils could do without some of the dramatics, so that’s something they’re intent on cutting back on.
After a couple of wild comebacks this month, they realize they’ve played it too close for comfort.
“Just imagine if we played with that energy (that sparks comebacks) the whole game,” freshman guard Austin Rivers said. “It’d be really tough to beat us.”
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The Blue Devils followed through on their intentions for more a more complete performance because their 75-50 romp past host Boston College on Sunday night marked their largest margin of victory in an ACC road game in more than seven years.
Two of Duke’s previous three games required rallies from double-digit, second-half deficits in defeating North Carolina and North Carolina State. Their flaws showed in those games, though so did their fighting spirit, and that’s something that coach Mike Krzyzewski has emphasized more prominently as opposed to dwelling on the shortcomings.
The Blue Devils should have no problem being fully attentive at the start of their next game because it comes at ACC tri-leader Florida State. One of those teams will drop out of a share of first place by the weekend.
Blue Devils’ defense currently in lock down mode
Duke’s defense has shown signs of coming around at different junctures of the season, and the Blue Devils hit another of those crossroads Sunday night at Boston College. The Eagles made only 15-of-44 shots from the field, and considering they made their first five attempts, the lockdown from Duke was more significant. Duke held Boston College without a field goal for a stretch of more than 14 minutes and without a point for a nine-minute span.
The Blue Devils have taken pride in winning on the road, and they’re off to another significant stretch of road success in the ACC. By going 6-0 in their first six conference road games, it’s the best start in that category in six years. Duke has been 6-0 in ACC road games only five other times. The Blue Devils have two road games remaining, beginning Thursday night at Florida State as they try to avenge a home loss, and then later in the month at Wake Forest.
The Blue Devils have gone all-out on rebounding. It has become such a focus that coach Mike Krzyzewski’s half-hour television coach’s show during the weekend was dedicated to the topic of rebounding. That theme continued for the Blue Devils when they outrebounded Boston College 45-21. The 24-rebound margin is the highest for Duke this season. The Blue Devils have outrebounded their opponents in 14 of 27 games this season.
BY THE NUMBERS: 30 — Total points for the Blue Devils at halftime against Boston College, though that’s the lowest total for Duke while holding a halftime lead (30-21) this season.
THIS WEEK’S GAMES:
–at Florida State, Feb. 23
KEY MATCHUPS: The Blue Devils will have to cope with Florida State’s physical play, particularly in the frontcourt, where F Bernard James can provide resistance for F Mason Plumlee and C Miles Plumlee. Duke’s guards will have to work to find openings against Florida State’s defense as the Blue Devils try to avenge a January home loss that came on G Michael Snaer’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer.
–vs. Virginia Tech, Feb. 25
KEY MATCHUPS: This game comes with a quick turnaround for the Blue Devils, who’ll play less than 36 hours after returning from their trip to Tallahassee, Fla. Duke will look for another solid game from G Seth Curry, who made headway in the first meeting with Virginia Tech, though the Blue Devils have undergone lineup adjustments since winning earlier in the month at Virginia Tech.
The Blue Devils will keep shooting 3-pointers, and that’s going to be part of their offense regardless of the matchups. It plays to their strengths even with some size advantages in the post in many games. Duke has hit at least eight 3-point baskets in its last six games, averaging 8.3 successful 3-point shots per game to lead the ACC in that category this season. In nine of the games, the Blue Devils have reached double figures in made 3-pointers, and they have lots of options to pick from to launch those shots. For instance, seven different players attempted at least one 3-pointer against Boston College.
Senior C Miles Plumlee pulled in a team-high 10 rebounds against Boston College. His sudden rebounding surge overshadows his team-leading 61.1-percent shooting from the field for the season.
Junior G Seth Curry has led Duke in scoring in four of the last five games, with the exception being when freshman G Austin Rivers torched North Carolina. Curry’s 21.6 points per game during that span is his best five-game scoring stretch of the season.
Freshman G Austin Rivers tied former Duke player J.J. Redick by picking up his 23rd double-figure scoring outing of the season. The 23 games in double figures puts Rivers tied for Redick for the seventh-most for a Duke freshman.
QUOTE TO NOTE
“Some teams hit a wall, and we haven’t hit a wall. We may run into it, but we find some door that opens and figure out a way to win.” — Coach Mike Krzyzewski, whose team’s varying performances included a season-low five turnovers against North Carolina State followed the next game by 18 giveaways at Boston College.