How the Duke basketball guards led to win over Boston College

Duke basketball forward Wendell Moore (Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball forward Wendell Moore (Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) /

Four members of the Duke basketball backcourt delivered the latest victory.

After a three-week layoff, the Duke basketball squad finally returned to action on Wednesday night and for the first time this season, won its second game in a row.

It certainly wasn’t easy as No. 21 Duke (4-2, 2-0 ACC) dug itself into a 16-point hole at home late in the first half against Boston College (2-8, 0-4 ACC). But the Blue Devils did a good job of stopping the bleeding and cutting the deficit down to a manageable eight points going into halftime. Ultimately, they escaped with an 83-82 win.

Duke is a guard-dominant team, and that was very apparent against the Eagles. The guard play was a little shaky in the first half. The Blue Devils struggled due to poor shot selection and decision-making. In the last couple of minutes right before halftime, however, things started to turn around.

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Freshman combo guard DJ Steward made a couple of really big plays. He blocked a shot attempt that led to an easy run-out for Duke on the other end. He also knocked down a timely three to cut down the deficit right before the Blue Devils went into the locker room.

Freshman point guard Jeremy Roach played a huge role in getting Duke back into the game. Right out of the gates in the second half, he had a couple of layups and steals to quickly pull the Blue Devils right back even.

Roach was aggressive in the second half and was cutting into the Boston College defense at will. His ability to penetrate and finish around the basket was a huge reason why Duke was able to avoid another tough loss in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Senior combo guard Jordan Goldwire once again put together a very solid performance. He only had 12 points on 4-for-10 shooting, but he also dished out six assists and came away with three steals.

Goldwire’s defensive pressure also helped wear down Boston College’s guards and disrupted the flow of their offense. This was key at the beginning of the second half when Duke made a run to even up the score and ultimately take the lead. The intensity that Goldwire provided was a major factor in his team coming up with 14 steals on the night.

No bigger story than the emergence of Duke basketball wing Wendell Moore

It was only a matter of time before Wendell Moore found his groove and made an impact. The versatile Duke basketball sophomore had struggled mightily coming into this game. He scored just 19 points through the first five games but then exploded for 25 against Boston College.

Moore seemed far more confident and comfortable on the floor last night than in any other game this season. He came off the bench, but he will likely be back in the starting lineup moving forward.

It all started for Moore when he banked in a 3-pointer from the top of the key in the first half. After that, he was much more aggressive in looking for his shot and far more confident shooting it. He didn’t seem hesitant, and his shot-making saved Duke in this game.

One of the main reasons for Moore’s success was the type of shots he was taking. In previous games, he was mostly out on the perimeter. He wasn’t having much success trying to make plays starting from beyond the 3-point line. In this game, however, Moore did most of his work from the high post and around the foul line.

He seemed far more comfortable, and the pull-up midrange jumper seems to be a far more viable shot for him than long-range perimeter shots. I also thought Moore did a great job defensively. He spent most of the night at the four-spot and did a good job of walling up and playing tough defense around the basket.

Going forward, it is probably unfair to expect consistent 25-point performances from Moore. But if he can continue to be a versatile defender and a solid midrange scorer, then he can be a huge asset for this team.

Duke basketball has been waiting on Wendell Moore to step up, and on Wednesday night, he finally did.

It certainly was not a convincing win, but in the ACC, you have to take them any way you can get them. Hopefully, Duke can build on this game and continue to improve. The Blue Devils will hopefully return to action at noon on Saturday in Durham against Wake Forest.

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