Duke basketball veterans need to be much better going forward

Duke basketball guard Tyrese Proctor (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball guard Tyrese Proctor (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Duke basketball team needs more production from its veterans 

The Duke basketball program welcomed two familiar faces to Cameron Indoor Stadium on Friday night for its matchup against No. 12 Arizona, Mike Krzyzewski and Caleb Love.

It was Coach K’s second game back at Cameron since his retirement and the first game in the historic building since transferring from North Carolina this offseason.

After taking care of Dartmouth in the season opener, Duke faced a different level of opponent in the Wildcats and struggled from the tipoff with Arizona getting up 4-0 quickly, including a nicely designed play off of the tip.

Arizona’s defense proved to be too much for Duke’s guards as its offense looked scattered and unorganized throughout the entire game, a major credit goes to head coach Tommy Lloyd and his coaching staff for the way they guarded and scouted Duke’s offense.

The biggest issue for the Blue Devils was the way Arizona was able to sag off of Ryan Young and deny the wings, blowing up the entire play.

Duke saw the return of sophomore forward Mark Mitchell from an ankle injury he suffered in practice last week that kept him out of the season opener and he certainly looked as if he needed a bit more time before he committed to playing.

Mitchell finished 4-of-10 from the field, missing all four of his attempts from 3-point range, in addition to two fouls and two turnovers. The most concerning issue was his lack of confidence in his jump shot, which clearly looks like a lack of improvement from last year to now.

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Tyrese Proctor also struggled mightily for Duke finishing with eight points on 3-of-9 shooting, including 1-of-6 from deep. When facing an opponent of Arizona’s caliber, Duke simply could not have only two players play well in Kyle Filipowski and Jeremy Roach, who finished with 25 and 17 points, respectively,

Roach continued his normal clutch ways hitting a tough 3-pointer to put Duke up by two, 67-65, with 2:11 to play.

Duke basketball has to clean up issues going forward

Duke remains the king of college basketball, and with that comes taking everyone’s best shot.

When the Blue Devils lose to a better opponent, or a team that shoots lights out, then most Duke fans can live with that. What was concerning about last night’s game was that there seemed to be no cohesiveness or togetherness.

That is alarming from a team that returns four starters and the most minutes of any Duke team since 2000. The Arizona game plan is going to be the standard for how to beat Duke this year and Jon Scheyer and coaching staff need to make major adjustments in order to be ready to play another Top-10 team on Tuesday night, Michigan State.

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Scheyer continued to play Ryan Young in spots that really hurt Duke.

Although Young only totaled 12 minutes, Arizona took advantage when he was out there, particularly on the last play of the game when Duke needed a bucket.

The Wildcats were able to sag completely off of Young, neutralizing any play Duke was trying to run and clogging up the paint for its patented dribble-drive offense.

It ultimately resulted in a travel by Proctor, essentially sealing the game for Arizona.

There are a lot of positives that Ryan Young brings to this team as his leadership, experience, and overall steady play helped Duke tremendously last year. He was extremely efficient, didn’t make mistakes, and provided a steady presence for an extremely young Duke team, however, it was clear from the first few possessions that Arizona had a game plan for when he was in, and they had a focus on him on both sides of the floor.

There is a bit of panic amongst some fans after the loss and Duke is not used to losing home games, particularly this early in the season.

However, Jon Scheyer has made it evident that he will continue to schedule true home-and-home games with premier opponents, something Coach K shifted away from during the last decade of his career.

Duke got out-rebounded, shot 34-percent from 3-point range, committed 14 turnovers and were a play away from winning this game.

There is no reason to panic in Durham. The Duke basketball team has a great opportunity to get a Quad 1 win against Michigan State next week.

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