"We're Going To Have To Fight"

The Sports Xchange reviews the year to date and looks forward to the upcoming tests for Duke. Most notable is the upcoming game at Littlejon against an angry group of Tigers.

The Blue Devils are winless in true road games after the third such trip ended with a loss at North Carolina State. Next up is another road assignment, this one coming at nationally ranked Clemson on Saturday night.

Duke players point directly to failures on defense for their road shortcomings.

"We're going to have to fight," senior forward Lance Thomas said.

The Blue Devils were once a program that thrived on winning in hostile environments. Now their deficiencies on the road have become an issue.

The setback to N.C. State was particularly disturbing because the Wolfpack had lost four previous home games.

"I just thought they were much more energized than us," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "We needed to change our attitude on defense and we were never able to do that."

Duke's other road losses came at Wisconsin and Georgia Tech, both teams that have been in the national rankings. N.C. State hasn't been ranked this season.

The Clemson game will be the first of three in-conference rematches for Duke before the Blue Devils play the first of two meetings with either North Carolina or Maryland.

NORTH CAROLINA STATE 88, DUKE 74: The Blue Devils failed to make enough defensive stops and were blitzed by the Wolfpack's 58.2-percent shooting from the field. Duke gave up more points than its previous high allowed (71) with more than five minutes remaining. Duke's 40-22 rebounding advantage didn't mean much, while Kyle Singler's 22 points and Jon Scheyer's 21 points kept the Blue Devils in it. The Blue Devils cut a 17-point deficit to 70-62 with 51/2 minutes remaining, but never closed the gap any tighter.

--G Jon Scheyer's shooting hasn't come under as much scrutiny as teammate Kyle Singler's misses, but that much change. In the past three games, Scheyer has shot 4-for-12 against Boston College, 3-for-11 against Wake Forest and 5-for-16 against North Carolina State.

--F Kyle Singler took a hard fall as he was fouled late in Sunday's game against Wake Forest. Coach Mike Krzyzewski said Singler's instincts might have helped in land in such a way that he wasn't seriously injured. He airballed the first free throw before sinking the second of the two attempts. In the next game Wednesday night at North Carolina State, he played with a protective brace on the right wrist, scoring 22 points in a loss.

--G Andre Dawkins was shut out for the third time in the last six games when he didn't score -- nor take a shot -- in the loss at North Carolina State. The freshman has a total of nine points in the last six games. He also failed to receive more than single-digit minutes of playing time for the third time in a six-game span.

ON THE SPOT: Duke's aggressive style usually pays off, but the Blue Devils have left some openings for other teams to secure defensive rebounds. Part of this comes because Duke has the ability to be a good shot-blocking team. Pursuing those opportunities has meant not paying as much attention to rebounding in some sequences. Wake Forest collected 19 offensive rebounds Sunday night against Duke. The Blue Devils blocked only one shot in the next game against North Carolina State, which secured only six offensive rebounds but didn't need to collect many because the Wolfpack hit more than 58 percent of its shots.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think our guys were just reminding everyone (on the team) that, 'Hey, it's a physical game. We have to amp it up a little bit.'" -- Coach Mike Krzyzewski, whose team held a 24-13 rebounding edge in the second half against NC State. The Blue Devils failed to outrebound their opponents in their two losses this season.


SEASON RECAP: The Blue Devils have avoided slides this season, recovering from their two losses with solid victories at home. They've benefited from consistent backcourt play from G Jon Scheyer and G Nolan Smith. They've not only been their leading scorers, but they've provided stability at just about every turn.

PLAYER ROTATION: Usual Starters: G Jon Scheyer, G Nolan Smith, C Miles Plumlee, F Kyle Singler, F Lance Thomas. Key Subs -- G Andre Dawkins, F Mason Plumlee, C Brian Zoubek, F Ryan Kelly.


  • Georgia Tech 71, Duke 67
  • Duke 79, Boston College 59
  • Duke 90, Wake Forest 70
  • N.C. State 88, Duke 74


IN FOCUS: The Blue Devils head back to the road for a pair of games after a two-game homestand. This will be an important stretch to ensure that the Blue Devils don't develop a stigma about road games. They're 0-3 when playing true road games.

--G Andre Dawkins scored a total of six points in his first three ACC games combined. Coach Mike Krzyzewski has disputed suggestions that Dawkins has fallen out of the regular rotation, but it's difficult to wedge in playing time in Duke's backcourt. Still, Dawkins' playing time has declined because he played a total of 23 minutes in a three-game span before logging 17 minutes in Wednesday night's victory against Boston College.

--C Brian Zoubek has four double-figure rebound outings this season after grabbing 11 against Boston College. That gives the senior six double-figure rebound games in his career. Two of his double-figure rebound games this season have come in games when he has logged only 16 minutes.

--G Jon Scheyer had been fouled on 3-point attempts 10 times through the first 15 games. He converted two four-point plays, while he had gone 24-for-24 on the free throws associated with the times he was fouled on 3-pointers.

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