clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Duke Pulls Away From Georgia Southern, 72-48

It's a good thing college basketball games don't end at 18 minutes, because
if they did, Duke might have had an upset to deal with.

But they aren't, and Duke won, Georgia Southern is a much better team than a
24 point loss would indicate.

For one thing they're pretty cohesive. The players seem to know what to
expect from one another and where their teammates are going to be (and they're
usually there, too).

No great surprise to learn they've got nine upperclassmen. They
play like an experienced team.

They had an interesting style, able - at least in the first half - to blow by
Duke defenders, yet they had a clear preference for perimeter sniping. In
fact, other than a couple of layups, it's hard to rember them taking the ball

And for most of the first half, it got them the lead, as Duke, pretty much
the opposite in terms of experience, struggled to make the right
decisions. There were plenty of turnovers by both teams, with Georgia
Southern having the advantage, forcing 20 from Duke while giving up 17

And in the first half, too, Duke had a hard time getting the ball
inside. This was partly due to Georgia Southern's defense, but also partly
due to the fact that no one at Duke is used to playing the post
consistently. Josh McRoberts is a wonderful player, with a boatload of
skills, but in this game, he could have done more down low.

On the other hand, it's entirely likely that he's doing exactly what Coach K
wants, so don't mind us.

But when the games get more serious, which will happen fairly soon, Duke will
need someone inside. Duke has thrived for years by letting people play to
their strengths, and so you see DeMarcus Nelson with 10 boards, but it's an
easier team to defend if you only guard the perimeter. Or not to put too
fine a point on it, but Nelson, at 6-2, isn't ideally qualified to play down
low, though he'll certainly get his. And really, he's strong and capable, and if
he can play inside some, bully for him. He's off to a wonderful start.
It's particularly nice to see him playing healthy.

In the second half, the game grew a lot more fun for Duke, as the team began
to play together much more effectively, and began to feed off of defense.
Duke really turned it up after the break and held G.S. to 21% from the floor in
the second half. They ran the lead up to as high as 25, but as we said,
that's somewhat deceptive, given the first half. Yes, they won by 24, but
Georgia Southern has nothing to be ashamed of and a lot to build on after this

Lance Thomas was pretty useful during this stretch. He knocked some
balls loose and got loose on the break.

Jon Scheyer and Brian Zoubek had fairly typical freshman outings, which is to
say they weren't that great. Scheyer seemed to have to adjust to playing on
this level, and Zoubek needs a summer's attention to his body to make the
necessary transformation.

And it was also nice to see Gerald Henderson show some athletic moves that
made the crowd ooh and ah. He is immensely talented and can be as good as
he wants to be.

For Duke, while inside play is still a big concern, there were a lot of
bright spots. The defense really was good in the second half, and
dispirited their opponents. And while they had a turnover problem (and we
should mention here that we cannot recall a game where so many travels were
called - on both sides), this team has the potential to be a wonderful passing

But all in all, it was a young team playing like a young team. They'll
get better quickly, especially if they continue to play defense at a high level,
and the offense will flow from that, but you probably can expect a couple of
thumpings along the way.

Incidentally, Bob Harris missed the game, with Jon Roth saying he was a bit
under the weather. Here's hoping he's back behind the mike for Thursday's
game against Greensboro.