Reactions to Duke’s 77-75 OT Loss vs. Utah


Usually reactions to any loss are not positive but the Duke Blue Devils on Saturday were lucky to push it to overtime. No Amile Jefferson against one of the top big men in the country, Jakob Poeltl. Grayson Allen was riddled with the flu that obviously affected his performance as he went 3-18 from the floor. Duke might have been favored before the game but it was clear that this Utah team which was dispatched last year in the Elite 8 by these Blue Devils, was not going to lie down. Coach K was even upbeat after the game saying, “I’m not disappointed in my team.” The same can be said for all the fans. While nobody likes to lose, the team showed the heart and determination it takes to win later in the year. 

More from Duke Basketball

Not many teams can win while they shoot 30% from the field. That is exactly what the Blue Devils did on Saturday afternoon. Brandon Ingram was 6-16, Matt Jones was 6-19, Derryck Thornton was 2-13 and of course Allen went 3-18. When your entire team full of shooters cannot make shots you are going to lose and most often lose by double digits. Duke could have won if the ball bounced differently a couple different ways. The freshmen in particular could have laid down and felt sorry for themselves without the presence of Amile Jefferson on the floor as well as Grayson Allen feeling unlike himself. Anyone can have a bad shooting game, it just so happens that basically the entire team shot poorly in this game. Besides Luke Kennard that is.

Kennard is a frustrating freshmen to watch. It is clear that he can shoot the ball despite shooting poorly all year. But he can do so much more than shoot. He attempted 13 free throws against Utah while turning over the ball ZERO times. That might be Kennard’s greatest strength. He does not turn the ball over. Kennard is going to become a player here that every other team’s fans strongly dislike.

This Duke team is going to lose games this year based on the sole fact of how young they are in addition to Jefferson’s absence. But it is how they look in their losses that will predict how this team does in March and hopefully April. I would much rather have a loss like this then the one like against Kentucky. Duke was overmatched against Kentucky. Against Utah, they were short-handed and shot poorly. Both problems are fixable.

Duke’s next game is against Elon on December 28th. Only a few games remain until Duke opens up ACC play. Remember, Amile Jefferson’s right foot will be reevaluated on December 26th. Duke’s season could hinge on that re-evaluation.