No. 1 Duke remained undefeated after its 92-63 win over Furman on Monday. Duke, which shot a season-high 61 percent from the floor, played much better than it did in its previous game against Southern.
Here are three takeaways from Duke’s game against Furman:
Grayson Allen is banged up
For the second straight game, Grayson Allen struggled from the floor. On Friday night against Southern, Allen scored only 10 points. And last night, against Furman, he scored a season-low 5 points on 2-for-9 shooting. Allen said he wasn’t worried about it, and that the Blue Devils were just taking advantage of their size advantage. While that’s true, Allen has been off since his career high 37-point performance last week against then No. 2 Michigan State.
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Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said that the coaching staff had kept Allen out of the last couple of practices.
“He is a little bit banged up so he has not had the reps,” Krzyzewski said. “But I thought today, even though he wasn’t shooting, he was really handling the ball and didn’t really force things.”
Allen has never seemed to be afraid of contact. On one play in the first half on Monday, he drove to the basket and attempted a layup in a crowd of defenders. While in the air, he bumped into the body of a Furman player. He came back down the court slower than normal. Earlier this season, Allen said the difference between him this year and last year was his health.
“I think I’m under control more, especially with the ball, and not just driving into 7-footers all the time,” he said earlier this month. “I like to play at 100 miles per hour, but you know just kind of switching that up and slowing it down helps.”
With a long season ahead, he may have to slow down a bit.
When Wendell Carter Jr. and Marvin Bagley III are on at the same time...
Duke is hard to beat when both of these guys are on. The two players play off each other in the post. Both are so tall, and can jump so high, that when one player is at the top of the key, he just has to throw the ball up high over the top of the defender for his teammate to catch it.
Carter and Bagley have scored 34 and 43 points respectively over the past two games. They’ve also combined for 39 rebounds.
“They’re not ‘big men’. They are basketball players who are big,” Krzyzewski said. “They possess not just a low post skill, they have a great feel for the game and they can shoot. They have good hands. Both of them, and it doesn’t happen very often, are big guys who can pass. Both of them can really pass and they like it. They are keep growing together.”
Javin DeLaurier giving Duke good boost off the bench
Sophomore forward Javin DeLaurier might not be the best offensive player, but his impact on the defensive end has been huge for Duke. DeLaurier, listed at 6-10, 231 pounds, is one of the most athletic players on the team. On Monday, he played for 17 minutes. During those minutes, he had 4 blocked shots, 2 steals, and when he was in the game, Duke was +20.
Against Michigan State, DeLaurier had the highest +- score on the team. When he entered the game, Duke was +18. It seemed every time he entered the game, the Blue Devils went on a run.
Having DeLaurier helps when Carter or Bagley is in foul trouble, or when Duke wants to go big.
Krzyzewski had high praises for DeLaurier after the game.
“He has what we call a ‘motor,’” Krzyzewski said. “He has got a good motor. At 6-9, he is a superb athlete who is becoming a really good basketball player. He doesn’t let some of the things he can’t do now get in the way of his motor and his defense and rebounding. He picks us up all the time.
“Every once in a while, he will do something crazy, but he’s been a big plus,” Krzyzewski added. “He only played 12 games last year. I love when a kid at some time in his career has ‘DNP’s’, ‘did not play,’ and stays with it and they become better. This kid has done that and he won’t have any DNP’s anymore.”