Matthew Hurt extends one Duke basketball lead over UNC

Duke basketball forward Matthew Hurt (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball forward Matthew Hurt (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports) /

There is now at least some cushion to one of Duke basketball’s ACC records.

Yes, Duke basketball sophomore Matthew Hurt was sensational last week. The 6-foot-9, 235-pound power forward totaled 44 points and eight rebounds while shooting 16-for-22 from the field, including 8-for-12 beyond the arc.

Furthermore, Hurt exhibited improvement on the defensive end, playing with a sense of toughness and ultimately altering the potential game-winning 3-pointer from Virginia point guard Kihei Clark on Saturday night.

And Hurt was consistent, contributing precisely 22 points and four boards to each outing last week: an 84-60 win at Wake Forest on Wednesday and then the 66-65 home victory against No. 7 Virginia three days later.

Plus, going back to the start of Duke’s current three-game win streak, a 69-53 road demolition of NC State on Feb. 13, Hurt has poured in 10-plus points in each of the past six halves while knocking down a blistering 73.7 percent (14-for-19) of his 3-point attempts in this span.

Hurt now leads the ACC with 109 points in February and by shooting 46.9 percent from 3-point land for the season. Speaking of season stats, the 20-year-old is certainly in the running for ACC Player of the Year — an award Duke has won a record 18 times, including in each of the past three seasons — with averages of 18.5 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 1.2 assists.

Adding to Duke basketball accolades

As a result of his recent sizzling performances and the Blue Devils’ all-important promising stretch, Matthew Hurt captured ACC Player of the Week honors on Monday.

In doing so, the former five-star prep from Minnesota extended Duke’s all-time advantage over the UNC basketball program and everyone else in this department. The Blue Devils have now combined for 144 ACC Player of the Week awards while the Tar Heels are stuck on 142; next on the list are Virginia and former conference member Maryland with 83 and 77, respectively.

Now, not only is this Hurt’s second such trophy this season, but it also adds to Duke’s conference-leading sixth recognition this season between ACC Player of the Week and ACC Freshman of the Week.

Matthew Hurt and the Blue Devils (10-8, 8-6 ACC) are back in action at 7 p.m. Monday when they host Syracuse (13-6, 7-5 ACC).

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