Duke gave Syracuse a 20 point loss on Saturday afternoon in Cameron, and that sounds bad, but it was worse than that. Duke gave Syracuse a whupping - and without one of its best players.
Trevor Keels, injured at Florida State, watched this one from the bench and it didn’t much matter. Mark Williams only got one block and it didn’t much matter. Wendell Moore threw the ball off of Ted Valentine’s head and - well, it didn’t matter but a lot of people might have seen it as a public service.
Fact is, Duke had a 31 point lead, four starters hit 15 each and Syracuse was never really in this game.
The Blue Devils went up 11-2 and while Syracuse recovered from that initial run, Duke, smarting after the loss at Florida State, was locked in. The Blue Devils were defending hard. Of the Syracuse starters, only Jesse Edwards shot over 50 percent (6-8). Cole Swider: 4-10. Jimmy Boeheim: 4-11. Joe Girard: 3-13. Buddy Boeheim: 2-15.
Duke also rebounded much, much better than they did in Tallahassee. There was never the sense that Syracuse was going to pound their way back in via offensive rebounding as FSU did.
And then there’s this: Duke hit 14 threes for 42 points. Syracuse got 15 points.
That did two things. Obviously it gave Duke 27 points Syracuse couldn’t match which, more or less, accounts for Duke’s big lead. But it also destroyed Jim Boeheim’s 2-3 zone. Because if you can shoot over a zone to that effect, it’s essentially counterproductive.
In the old days, Boeheim had guys who were 6-6 to 6-8 to guard the perimeter of the zone and that made life very difficult. Now?
Not so much.
We thought there was a chance that Duke could have trouble today without Keels, that, for one thing, the three point shooting might suffer.
Didn’t happen. And now the Blue Devils have played some without AJ Griffin and some without Keels. They’ve played
with through Covid recovery. This is just one game, but what a confidence builder.
Jim will be along soon with his take.
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- Syracuse overwhelmed in 79-59 blowout loss to Duke
Player Of The Game vs. Syracuse
This poll is closed