Duke looks to bounce back against Tar Heels

BY foxsports • February 6, 2012

The Blue Devils insist they weren't looking ahead to their first
showdown of the season with North Carolina when they stumbled in an
overtime loss to Miami.

Now the chore for Duke will be focusing
on the task against the Tar Heels after a disturbing setback that cost
them a spot atop the ACC standings.

"I don't have an
explanation," Duke forward Ryan Kelly said. "I don't think (the upcoming
game against North Carolina) was part of it. I would hope not."

If it loses at North Carolina, Duke will fall two games off the pace in the ACC.

The
Blue Devils have one less day than North Carolina to prepare for the
rivals' meeting because North Carolina won Saturday at Maryland. While
Duke's energy appeared lacking at times against Miami, fatigue shouldn't
be an issue for the next game, guard Austin Rivers said.

"I'm not tired right now," he said. "I could play another overtime right now, but we can't."

It's
difficult to imagine the North Carolina game being any more critical to
the Blue Devils' chances of capturing the regular-season championship.

"To
us, every ACC game has equal importance, and the only time that changes
is in the ACC tournament, when you have the chance to win the
tournament," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said.

Krzyzewski often
talks about the importance of moving on to the next task. Even for him,
that sounded difficult with the short trip to Chapel Hill to face North
Carolina just a few days away.

"I'm going to digest this," he said.


NOTES, QUOTES

--Duke
has lost more than one home game in a season for the first time in five
years. Those setbacks this season have come to Florida State and Miami.
"We lost another one in Cameron (Indoor Stadium)," freshman G Austin
Rivers said after Duke lost at home for the second time in three games.
Miami's victory marked the Hurricanes' first win at Duke in eight
all-time visits.

--With sophomore G Tyler Thornton moving back
into the starting lineup, he could be matched up against former high
school foe Kendall Marshall on Wednesday night. Given Duke's tendency to
make lineup adjustments, especially after losses, it's also possible a
new mix of players could be in the starting lineup because Thornton
played only two minutes after the first half of Duke's overtime loss to
Miami on Sunday.

--The Blue Devils were stalled in reaching the
20-win mark for the 16th consecutive season as coach Mike Krzyzewski's
record fell to 919-288 with the loss to Miami. The 20-win mark isn't
that big of a deal for the Blue Devils, who have won 30 or more games
the past three seasons.


QUOTE TO NOTE

"I
just didn't want to turn the ball over, and I wanted to make a play and
I made a bad play. . . . It was a shot. I was just trying to get it to
the rim." -- freshman G Quinn Cook on his overtime air ball when the
Blue Devils had a chance to take the lead on Miami with about 15 seconds
remaining in Sunday's 78-74 loss.


THIS WEEK'S GAMES

--at North Carolina, Feb. 8

The
Blue Devils need no introductions when it comes to this rivalry, and
Duke will want to find ways to curtail the production of North Carolina
PG Kendall Marshall. Duke must also hope it has enough power on the
inside with F Mason Plumlee and F Ryan Kelly to neutralize North
Carolina's front line of C Tyler Zeller, F John Henson and F Harrison
Barnes.

--vs. Maryland, Jan. 11

The Blue Devils will want
to keep good tabs again on ACC scoring leader Terrell Stoglin, who
scored only 16 points at home as Duke won the first meeting. Duke should
have an edge in the interior.


FUTURES MARKET

The
Blue Devils might be trying to get more playing time for freshman G
Quinn Cook after his extended role in the overtime loss to Miami. Cook
logged a career-high 28 minutes, which was exceeded on the Duke side
only by freshman G Austin Rivers' 43 minutes and junior G Seth Curry's
39 minutes. Cook emerged in a heightened role after the holidays, but an
illness in January curtailed his progress. He could be back in a more
prominent role, and that might come at the expense of sophomore G Tyler
Thornton. Cook's presence could especially make it more difficult for
North Carolina to guard Duke's backcourt because North Carolina lost G
Dexter Strickland to a season-ending knee injury.


PLAYER NOTES

--Freshman
G Austin Rivers averages more points in home games than on the road.
He's averaging more than 15 points per game in 12 home games. Part of
the reason is that he is shooting almost 50 percent (64 of 129) from the
field in home games.

--Junior F Mason Plumlee's free-throw
shooting, which had been a trouble spot, has taken a positive turn.
Across the past five games, Plumlee has made 24 of 32 free throws (75
percent).

--Junior F Ryan Kelly led the ACC in 3-point shooting
percentage (at least 50 attempts) at 47.2 percent entering the weekend.
That took a dent when he was 2 for 7 from long range in the loss to
Miami.


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