The Blue Devils’ road struggles continued in an 88-72 loss against a very good Florida State team. Here are 3 observations for Duke Basketball from the game.
Duke Basketball suffered it’s third loss of the season and second loss in conference play in an 88-72 loss to Florida State. The Blue Devils struggled without redshirt senior center Amile Jefferson who missed the game with a bone bruise in his right foot. Luke Kennard and Jayson Tatum led the Blue Devils in scoring with 23 and 21, but no other player was a factor for Duke against a deep Florida State team. Here are three things we noticed for the Blue Devils to improve on next game:
1. Lack of Ball Movement
The Duke offense is one of the best in the country when the team in sharing the ball and getting easy baskets. However, that was not the case tonight against Florida State. The Blue Devils only recorded 10 assists for the entire game, led by Grayson Allen with five. Duke had the exact same problem in their loss to Virginia Tech where they only compiled eight assists as a team against the Hokies. The Blue Devils are at their best when they assist on at least half of their made baskets, such as the offensive clinic against Georgia Tech where Duke had 24 assist on 39 field goals.
2. Perimeter Defense
Teams are starting to figure out they can take advantage of the weakness in the Blue Devils’ defense on the perimeter. Athletic guards are consistently able to drive by the Duke guards with little resistance. This almost always turns out bad for the Blue Devils, and leads to: a) a layup or easy basket, b) a lob or assist to a big for an easy basket, or c) a foul on Duke. All three of these were on display against the Seminoles, who had easy baskets, highlight alley-oops, and forced Duke into foul trouble early. Interim head coach Jeff Capel and the Blue Devils will need to fix this if they want to succeed for the rest of the ACC season and the NCAA Tournament.
3. Bench Production
This was also an issue for Duke Basketball in their loss to the Hokies and is directly related to the injury issues. The Blue Devils were not able to handle the depth of Florida State, who played 12 players with one Seminole playing over 30 minutes (Dwayne Bacon). Meanwhile for Duke, only eight players saw time with three playing 30+ minutes, including Luke Kennard who played for all 40 and not including Grayson Allen who left the game early. The Blue Devils only recorded 4 points off the bench with Frank Jackson and Marques Bolden struggling offensively this game.
Things don’t get much easier for the Blue Devils, who head to Louisville for another conference matchup on the road against a ranked opponent this weekend. We’ll keep you updated on injury news for Duke Basketball. As of right now, we know Grayson Allen is expected to return and the team will re-evaluate Amile Jefferson’s foot this week.