Duke basketball: Studs and duds have one positional group blossoming

Duke basketball center Mark Williams (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball center Mark Williams (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Duke basketball
Duke basketball center Mark Williams (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /

It was a great day to be a Duke basketball forward against North Carolina State. 

Returning back home after an embarrassing loss in Cameron Indoor Stadium a week ago, the Duke basketball team took care of business on Saturday afternoon against the North Carolina State Wolfpack (9-9, 2-5 ACC).

The then-No. 8 Blue Devils (14-2, 4-1 ACC) were coming off of a bounce-back victory against Wake Forest earlier in the week, and the Wolfpack were similar to the Demons Deacons in the fact that both programs were looking for their footing in the conference.

Duke outscored NC State by nine points in the first half and was able to pull away in the second half, winning 88-73.

Mike Krzyzewski, in his return to the bench after missing the Wake game due to a non-COVID illness, saw his team shoot 58.3-percent from the floor but struggle from the 3-point arc and free throw line.

The Blue Devils only connected on 30.8-percent of their triples and 58.3-percent of their free throws but used their size in the frontcourt to overcome shooting deficiencies.

The combination of Mark Williams, Paolo Banchero, and Theo John combined for 50 points as the Wolfpack had no answer down low for the Duke trio.

Duke had 23 assists on its 35 made field goals.

Duke basketball still struggling on backboards

Despite the scoring differential in the paint, Duke still struggled to pull away on the glass as the rebounding numbers were tied at 38.

North Carolina State was able to secure 17 offensive rebounds in its loss, as Duke was able to secure 15 offensive rebounds of its own.

The Wolfpack had more offensive rebounds than defensive rebounds (15).

The Blue Devils only turned 11 North Carolina State turnovers into eight points while the Wolfpack added 16 points to their scoring total on 12 turnovers from Duke.