Blue Devils potent offense overwhelms Badgers

first_imgIt is very rare for an opposing team to leave the Kohl Center victorious. It’s even more rare for an opposing team to shoot a high percentage en route to a victory at the Kohl Center.But Wednesday night, the No. 4 Duke Blue Devils did just that on their way to a 80-70 victory over No. 2 Wisconsin as part of the Big Ten/ACC challenge.Duke’s sharp shooting lasted for all 40 minutes of the game, and no matter what the Badgers did defensively, there seemed to be no stopping any of the Duke players from getting the ball in the basket.In the first half, Duke shot an impressive 15-25 (60 percent) overall from the field and 5-9 (55.6 percent) from behind the arc. With that shooting performance, Duke headed into the locker room with a 35-32 advantage despite not shooting a single free throw for the entire first 20 minutes.“Our offensive efficiency was incredible tonight,” Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “We had a lot of different lineups out there, but our kids were ready and they never backed down. They showed great composure.”Duke’s hot start was headed by their starting backcourt consisting of freshman guard Tyus Jones and senior guard Quinn Cook. The tandem combined for 16 points on 6-9 (66.7 percent) shooting from the field and 4-6 (66.7 percent) from three-point range.“We took good shots overall and we’ve stressed taking good shots,” Krzyzewski said. “We are very patient, and we had a couple run outs [to the basket].”After a team shoots as well as Duke did in the first half, it’s rare that kind of a shooting performance will carry into the second half.However, the Blue Devils not only continued to find the bottom of the net in the second half, but they were finding even more success shooting the ball than the team did in the first half.In the final 20 minutes, Duke shot a seemingly improbable 15-21 (71.4 percent) from the field and 2-3 (66.7 percent) from three-point territory. This brought its shooting totals for the game to 30-46 (65.2 percent) from the field overall and 7-12 (58.3 percent) from behind the arc.“We can only control what we can control,” senior guard Traevon Jackson said. “Some shots that they got, they were just too comfortable, and we have to do a better job of making adjustments on the fly. Credit to them though, they hit some really tough shots.”Once again, it was Jones that led the Duke charge to the final buzzer. He built on his eight-point first half with an even better 14-point second half.Jones started the half by scoring six of Duke’s first eight points, and from there, there was no stopping the freshman on his way to a 22-point performance behind 7-11 (63.6 percent) shooting.It was Jackson who found himself guarding Jones for most of the game, and no matter what he or the rest of the Badgers did defensively, there was no getting in Jones’s way.“Good players are going make plays in big moments like that, and [Jones] played a heck of a game,” Jackson said.Jackson did all he could to keep Wisconsin in the game, as he scored a career-high 25 points on 7-12 (58.3 percent) shooting with 17 of his 25 coming in the second half, but it seemed that for every shot Jackson made, Duke made one right back. It got to the point where Duke’s accuracy, in the end, was too much for the Badgers to overcome.It wasn’t as if Wisconsin was giving the Blue Devils easy looks, either. Badger defenders contested most of the shots Duke took and the players had to work for nearly each and every one of their looks at the basket.The ball just seemed to roll in Duke’s favor whenever one of those tough shots went up.“I would say they hit some tough shots, but they have good enough players where they can do that at times,” Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan said. “To have as many do it in the same night, that’s just not fair.”On a night where Duke was shooting as if it was in the team’s own practice gym, it’s sometimes better to accept it for what it is rather than searching for excuses.The Blue Devils put on a shooting clinic in the Kohl Center, and there didn’t seem to be anything Ryan, Jackson or anyone else could do about it.“I don’t care what anybody says,” Ryan said. “They were lights out.”last_img read more