Vernon Carey Jr.
Vernon Carey Jr. is a beast.
There’s no debating that and he proved it once again, this time against a zone defense.
Carey Jr. went for 26 points and 17 rebounds in 28 minutes in the victory on Saturday night and was 9-of-14 from the floor and 8-of-10 from the free throw line.
Somehow the dominant season of the Duke big man is flying under the radar and there isn’t much talk about him in the National Player of the Year conversation.
Averaging 17.8 points and 8.9 rebounds per game, Vernon Carey Jr. will continue to lead the Duke Blue Devils in hope of reaching its ultimate goal in April.
Duke was never truly on the ropes, but when Syracuse was in the midst of its run and climbing back into the game, the Blue Devils went to Cassius Stanley.
Stanley delivered with two ‘and-one’s’ to seal the win for the Blue Devils.
The freshman guard has developed into the go-to scorer Duke needs down the stretch of games as Stanley’s athletic ability and explosiveness allows the wing to get to the basket basically at will.
Against Syracuse, Cassius Stanley went for 15 points, four rebounds, and five assists on 6-of-8 shooting but if the Los Angeles native can develop a consistent outside shot, he will become one of the most prolific scorers in college basketball.
Javin DeLaurier has been difficult to figure out this season.
In what one would consider the ‘non-significant’ games this season, he has flown under the radar and made very little productive players.
However, DeLaurier has shown up in big spots this season and Saturday was no exception.
The senior captain turned the momentum of the game when he first checked in through his energy and hustle and despite picking up two fouls right away, he was able to control himself and give Duke great minutes.
DeLaurier finished with eight points, four rebounds, and one block in just 12 minutes due to fouling out while making all four of his field goal attempts.
Duke needs its senior leader to step up and play with that tenacity in all of its games, but especially now as we inch closer to March.
Someone needs to tell Alex O’Connell that every game is being played in the Carrier Dome.
O’Connell posted a career high 20 points when the Blue Devils were in Syracuse last season and on Saturday night was no different.
It wasn’t a career high in points, but the junior guard snapped out of a nasty cold streak with 11 points, two rebounds, three assists, two steals, and a block on 4-of-8 shooting.
Against a 2-3 zone, O’Connell couldn’t get his looks to go from 3-point range, 1-of-4 for the game, but he then tried to penetrate the defense for easier looks at the basket.
Alex O’Connell is an important role player for Duke because if he’s able to stay on the floor, by contributing offensively and not being a liability on defense, he’s a valuable asset to this Blue Devil team, which sometimes struggles getting open looks at the basket.