Postgame: thoughts from Duke’s 72-66 loss to Arizona

Posted by Laura Keeley on November 29, 2013 

NEW YORK—Not the result the Blue Devils were looking for.

But something to build on nonetheless.

That was the prevailing thought in the locker room after the 72-66 loss to Arizona. Read all about that here.

And one other postgame thought, one that will likely have many people buzzing.

***For a few possessions in the second half, Duke went to a 2-3 zone. This came after Mike Krzyzewski brushed aside a question about going zone after the Vermont escape.

Since then, Duke hasn’t practiced a zone any more, Quinn Cook said. But Krzyzewski called it for a specific game situation.

“We used it just to guard the inbound (pass) because they are so big and have a lot of athletes out there,” Cook said. That kind of neutralized that. “Coach said just stay in there for a couple of plays, and we did that. We did a good job, it was just the lob play. Coach ( Sean) Miller drew up a good one.”

Twice, Arizona was able to finish over the zone with a dunk. With the Wildcats up 57-51, just after their decisive 20-5 run, the Blue Devils set up in their zone, with Jabari Parker in the middle of the back line, Josh Hairston on the left side, Rodney Hood on the right, and guards Rasheed Sulaimon and Cook out front. Arizona point guard T.J. McConnell found Aaron Gordon over the top for a lob dunk.

On the Wildcats’ next possession, Gordon found Rondae Hollis-Jefferson with a nice pass inside for another slam finish. The zone experiment ended shortly thereafter.

With the new rule making a charge tougher to draw (a defender is supposed to be set before the driver starts coming, as opposed to just sliding in front of him right before he shoots) and the emphasis on calling hand-check and arm-bar fouls, many coaches have gone to a zone to try and stop the drive. It remains to be seen if Krzyzewski will continue his zone experimentation.

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