Duke basketball continues to be plagued by same issue

Duke basketball forward Paolo Banchero (Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball forward Paolo Banchero (Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports) /

The same issues have been hurting the Duke basketball team over the past several seasons. 

Tuesday night was painful to watch for the Duke basketball team as a victory slipped through the fingers of the No. 6 Blue Devils against Florida State (11-5, 5-2 ACC).

The two teams traded clutch baskets at the end of regulation and overtime before the Seminoles emerged with a 79-78 victory.

However, the same issue presented itself for Duke that has cost the team games in the past.

Most notably in the 2018-19 season, the Blue Devils cost themselves a chance at a National Championship by not giving the ball to the best player in the country, Zion Williamson.

Duke ended up losing to Michigan State in the Elite Eight after Williamson did not attempt a shot in the final six minutes of the second half.

After not having a postseason in 2019-20 and missing the postseason in 2020-21, Mike Krzyzewski is looking at the same problems for his squad in the midst of the 2021-22 campaign.

Paolo Banchero is the best and most talented player on the Blue Devils this season.

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He can score from all three levels, has a high basketball IQ, and almost always makes the right play with the ball in his hands.

Banchero did not attempt a shot in the first 15 minutes of the second half of Tuesday’s loss to Florida State, and when Duke finally gave him the ball, he willed the team into contention in the final five minutes.

The All-American candidate looked to have the game-winning assist on a pretty pass to Mark Williams from the top of the key to put the Blue Devils up by two, 67-65, before Florida State tied the game in the final seconds and sent it to overtime.

Paolo Banchero then looked to have the game-winning free throws in overtime before two free throws from the Seminoles gave them the lead, and Duke inexplicably didn’t get its best player the ball in the final 12 seconds and lost on a poor shot from Wendell Moore.

This is not a first-time occurrence for the Duke basketball team

The same thing happened in Duke’s loss to Miami (Fla.) earlier in the month.

Paolo Banchero nearly single-handedly got the Blue Devils the lead in the final minutes. But after poor defense and rebounding from Duke, he never got a chance at either of the final three shots for the Blue Devils.

If Duke is going to go down this season, it has to go down with Paolo Banchero. Not with Paolo Banchero standing at half court to get the basketball while the rest of the team puts its heads down and drives to the basket.

The next chance the No. 6 Blue Devils (14-3, 4-2 ACC) have at rectifying their loss will be inside Cameron Indoor Stadium against Syracuse (9-9, 3-4 ACC) on Saturday afternoon (12:00 p.m., ESPN).

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