Duke basketball finally sees promise from leader despite concerning win

Duke basketball wing Wendell Moore (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball wing Wendell Moore (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /

82. 431. 83. 434. Final

Duke basketball saw promise out of an anticipated leader despite a concerning victory.

A rusty, shaky, and concerning Duke basketball team pulled out a victory after a 21-day layoff, despite many concerning signs.

The rust was expected. However, it was not anticipated that the No. 21 Blue Devils (4-2, 2-0 ACC) would be so unconnected on the defensive side of the ball to begin their meeting with Boston College (2-8, 0-4 ACC).

Boston College had its best half of the season against Duke in the opening 20 minutes, racing out to a 16-point lead late in the first half without major contributions from its leading scorer Wynston Tabbs and starter Makai Ashton-Langford.

However, the Blue Devils, sans head coach Mike Krzyzewski (COVID-19 protocols), five-star freshman Jalen Johnson (foot), and graduate transfer Patrick Tape (back), were able to claw back into the game right before halftime to cut the Eagles’ lead to eight, 43-35.

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Duke continued to battle in the second half, forcing Boston College to match them shot-for-shot before the Blue Devils took their first lead of the game since it was 2-0 on a DJ Steward layup early in the second half.

In a back-and-forth affair, it was heavily criticized Wendell Moore who put the Blue Devils on his back, finishing the night with a season-high 25 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field and 2-of-3 from 3-point range.

Matthew Hurt gave Duke a lead it would not relinquish with a 3-pointer to push the lead to 78-75 with 1:31 left.

But it was Moore who drilled the dagger off an in-bounds play with two seconds on the shot clock that pushed Duke’s lead back to three. The sophomore forward then also hit a free throw that gave the Blue Devils a four-point lead, a shot they would need as Boston College hit a corner 3-pointer as time nearly expired, giving Duke an 83-82 victory.

Duke basketball still has many concerns to fix

Yes, it was impressive to have a 17-point turnaround in nearly 23 minutes, but this Boston College team isn’t good, and the Eagles got any shot they wanted in the first half against Duke.

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The Blue Devils’ offense was good enough to win, but the free throw shooting wasn’t nearly good enough to beat a team better than Boston College.

Luckily for Duke and acting head coach Jon Scheyer, another below-average team in the Wake Forest Demon Deacons will be coming to Durham on Saturday afternoon for things to continue to get worked on and improved ahead of the impending tough ACC schedule.

Trending. Duke basketball continues streak of bad news in 2021. light