Within the first three minutes of Duke’s 76-72 loss to North Carolina, Derryck Thornton had missed two shots, recorded two turnovers and committed one foul.
He was quickly replaced by freshman guard Luke Kennard.
Freshman guard Thornton only played 15 minutes versus the Tar Heels, his lowest total since returning to the starting lineup Feb. 2 at Georgia Tech. His decision-making early certainly didn’t help an offense that struggled to generate anything beyond mid-to-long range jump shots.
“I think in the first half we were real stagnant,” sophomore guard Grayson Allen said. “As a team, we all played a little selfish just because we weren’t moving the ball around. That’s when we’re going to shoot a low percentage.
“We always get good shots when we play team basketball offensively and move the ball around.”
There is a fine line between the decision to take a shot or to try for an extra pass and an even better shot. At times, coach Mike Krzyzewski thought his team was passing up too many shots. But it can be tough to strike the right balance, especially without a true point guard to run the offense.
Allen led Duke with five assists against UNC. Matt Jones and Kennard both had two, and Brandon Ingram and Marshall Plumlee recorded one apiece. Eleven assists on 25 made baskets speaks to how stagnant Duke’s offense was for most of the night.
Krzyzewski commented on the slow offensive start, too, saying “we didn’t share the ball well.” On a team with little margin for error, offensive efficiency is a must.