Promise continues to be shown from unlikely Duke basketball pieces

Duke basketball wing Joey Baker (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball wing Joey Baker (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Unlikely Duke basketball pieces continue to show promise. 

Saturday afternoon was the best game of the season for the Duke basketball team, no questions asked.

The Blue Devils (7-5, 5-3 ACC) led Clemson (10-5, 4-5 ACC) by as many as 35 points in the second half, capturing their second straight victory after a three-game losing streak in the ACC.

Duke’s longest winning streak on the season is three, when it defeated Notre Dame, Boston College, and Wake Forest, and Mike Krzyzewski’s team will have a chance to match that winning streak against Miami (FL) with a trip to South Beach on Monday night.

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However, the Duke defense continues to look better, holding Clemson to 35.1-percent shooting from the field and 23.8-percent from three-point range.

The Tigers turned the ball over 13 times, resulting in 25 points for the Blue Devils, compared to just nine Duke turnovers into six points for Clemson.

Brad Brownell’s team dealt with foul trouble all afternoon, most notably to star forward Amir Simms, but he still managed to post 19 points, six rebounds, and four assists on 7-of-13 shooting despite his four fouls in 27 minutes.

Duke basketball sees noticeable improvement

Since returning from its COVID-19 induced pause, the Clemson Tigers are nowhere close to playing like the No. 12 team in the country, where it was ranked in the AP Top-25 prior to its hiatus, but Duke still deserves a lot of credit for its victory.

The Blue Devils had not been able to dominate opponents this season, including in victories over Coppin State and Bellarmine, but they did so on Saturday.

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When Duke posted its rare double-digit leads, it never pulled away from teams as its opponents always crept back into the game, forcing the Blue Devils into tense late-game situations.

So just because Clemson isn’t as good as it used to be doesn’t mean people should discredit the Duke win; in fact, it should be held in high regard.

With that being said, we turn to this game’s edition of ‘Stock Up, Stock Down’.