Not many positives in Duke basketball’s most recent loss

Duke basketball (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Duke basketball
Duke basketball forward Jalen Johnson (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports) /

Duke basketball players who improved their stock against Pittsburgh

Jalen Johnson

Perhaps the only positive that comes out of Tuesday night’s game is the full return of Jalen Johnson.

Johnson played four minutes in Duke’s loss to Virginia Tech last week after returning from a foot injury but appeared to be fully healthy for the Blue Devils against Pittsburgh.

The five-star freshman forward was the sole reason why his team did not lose by 30 points, and once Duke was down by 15 points in early in the second half, the Wisconsin native took it upon himself to will the Blue Devils back into the game.

Jalen Johnson ultimately fouled out with just over two minutes remaining, which ended any threat Duke had at completing the comeback because the forward was the only source of offense the team had.

Johnson ended his night with 24 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists, four blocks, and two steals on 8-of-14 shooting from the floor and made his only attempt from 3-point range.

Seeing more of a healthy Jalen Johnson for the remainder of the season will be the one positive for the Blue Devils as Duke must now fight its way into the NCAA Tournament.

Wendell Moore

It has been feast or famine for Wendell Moore this season, but Tuesday night was a very good showing from the sophomore.

Moore, coming off the bench, was active on both ends of the floor and finished with 15 points, four rebounds, two assists, and a steal.

While the numbers do not jump off the box score, it was Moore’s efficiency from the field that was the most impressive, shooting 5-of-10 from the field and 3-of-6 from 3-point range.

Perhaps Wendell Moore has played his way back into the starting rotation after Tuesday night’s showing as Duke’s two best players both came off the bench in its loss.