Saturday, January 10, 2009

Catching Up

I was out and on the road for two weeks during the holidays this year, and fell behind a bit. During that time, Duke took down two opponents with two impressive defensive showings (and, during my catch-up time, they beat Davidson too). Here are the HD Boxes from the three games I missed, along with some scattered commentary.

Duke v. Loyola MD

A comfortable NYE blowout against an overmatched opponent with a showman coach. Only disheartening note was bench play - Plumlee, Pocius, and Thomas each played about a quarter of the game, during which Duke played Loyola to essentially a tie. Bonus note: building on the "Meet Duke" profile from last week, the team won a game hitting just 1 three-pointer (and attempting just 12).

Duke v. Virginia Tech

In the second half, the Hokies scored just 13 points on 28 possessions, including just 4 in the final 13. For the half, they shot just 6-18, committed 10 turnovers, got only 2 of 13 offensive rebounds, and went just 1-3 from the line. That's dominant defense across all 4 factors. Singler and Henderson had very nice games on offense - for Singler, 6 turnovers were the only blemish in a line that featured 19 points on 11 shots with 7 assists and 8 boards (5 offensive). If Kyle could just cut his turnovers a bit, he would be superhuman on offense, instead of just outstanding. Of players in the ACC who use more than 25% of the team's possessions (Singler's at 27.23), he's second only to Hansbrough in offensive efficiency.

Duke v. Davidson

Duke had the single worst stretch of defense I can recall about mid-way through the second half. Davidson scored on 10 of 11 possessions, picking up 22 points on 9-13 from the field and 3-3 from the line, plus gathering 3 of their 4 misses and not turning it over. Thankfully, Duke was up 51-27 before that stretch, so all it meant was that what looked like a blowout stayed interesting toward the end. Duke finished the game making just 3 field goals in its last 19 possessions (although they did pick up 9 additional points at the line). Halftime improvement note: Duke turned the ball over 10 times in its first 21 possessions. The rest of the way - just 2 in 49, including a stretch of nearly 25 straight without a turnover. Bonus points to Zoubek (7 and 9 in limited minutes, at very high efficiency) and Scheyer (22 points, steady execution at the end).

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