Friday, December 19, 2014

#2 Duke Sneaks Past UConn in Order to Remain Undefeated

Duke's Big Men Duo Battles for a Rebound
 Over Uconn's big Phillip Nolan
The Duke Blue Devils came into East Rutherford NJ last night ready to beat the defending national champions in UConn.  And that they did, Duke ended the night with a 66-56 win over the Huskies.

Tyus Jones had another great game for Duke.  The freshman point guard finished with 21 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals.  Not only did he do this in a big game, he did it against one of the nation's toughest guards in Ryan Boatright.  Jones' performance is just further proof that he is one of, if not the best guard in the country.

Duke and UConn battled and traded buckets all the way from the tip off until halftime, when Duke was up 30-25.  In the first half the Huskies' Amida Brimah got 2 early fouls.  He was just coming off of a 40 point game and was set to protect the rim against the nation's best big man, Jahlil Okafor.  Instead, Brimah was on the bench and senior point guard Ryan Boatright put the team on his back in order to keep it a game.

Coming out of the half, UConn tied the game and looked like they were primed to steal a game against the #2 team in the country.  Duke had other plans though... after the Huskies tied the game, Duke went on a 15-2 run to grab control.  After that the Blue Devils never had a doubt that they would lose the game.

As previously stated, Ryan Boatright was an animal for UConn.  He finished with 22 points, 7 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 assists.  His senior leadership and guidance from head coach Kevin Ollie has transformed him into an all new player this year.  Hopefully it will be sooner than later when he starts receiving contribution from his teammates every night.

For Duke, the tandem of Jahlil Okafor and Amile Jefferson in the post is unstoppable.  You either put one person on Okafor and keep one on Jefferson, but that leads to the super freshman putting up 25 and 20 like he did against Elon.  Or you can do what the Huskies did last night and leave Jefferson  half guarded and double Okafor.  But either way points from the Duke big men are being scored.  Okafor finished with 12 points and 8 rebounds, while Jefferson had a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds.  Duke's big men have been unstoppable all season long thus far.  And with Okafor receiving so much attention, Jefferson is shooting it great from the floor at 67%.

Although UConn made it seem like they could play with Duke, they can't right now.  Duke is loaded with the best freshmen in the country and scoring options galore.  The problem for UConn was they had no Brimah to defend the paint, and Tyus Jones was even to much for Ryan Boatright to handle.  Once again, Duke proved why they deserve to be ranked #2 in the country.

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