Duke cruises to a New Year's Eve win over Boston College.
The only real interesting story line to the Duke Blue Devils taking on the Boston College Eagles was the return of point guard Derryck Thornton. The exit of Thornton, despite having a fairly successful freshman season, was one of the more peculiar in recent memory. Injuries curtailed the offense that Coach K was prepared to utilize that particular season. A freshman Thornton was not very happy, apparently, with the role he had to play as a contingency with the injury to Amile Jefferson. Thornton made his choice and went westward, back toward home to play for USC. His return to Cameron as a grad transfer did not go as planned for the Eagles - Thornton was only able to manage 6 points on 3-12 shooting, 1 assist and 2 turnovers. The Eagles as a whole were only able to manage 49 points in the loss but still maintain a winning record in the ACC at 2-1.
The Blue Devils began the game somewhat sloppily with 8 first half turnovers. Fortunately for the Blue Devils they turned the Eagles over 10 times and managed 11 points off of those BC turnovers. With the score, in the first half, 5 to 4 in favor of Duke - the Blue Devils went on a 40-15 run to end the half, heading into the break with a 45 to 19 edge.
The second half didn't bode any better for Boston College with the Blue Devils once again asserting themselves on both ends of the floor, pushing the lead to 30 for most of the second half. The Blue Devils cruised to an 88 to 49 victory in their second ACC contest. The Blue Devils turned the Eagles over 19 times, 10 of them off of steals and as a team the Blue Devils blocked 7 shots.
The Blue Devils were led on the offensive end by Matthew Hurt's 25 point explosion on 10 of 16 shooting, 5-10 from beyond the arc; and Tre Jones' 10 assists to only 1 turnover. The Blue Devils also got 11 points and 2 assists from freshman Wendell Moore and 9 points apiece from Vernon Carey Jr. and Cassius Stanley. Junior guard Alex O'Connell also contributed 8 points and 2 assists, going 2-3 from beyond the arc.
As a team the Blue Devils shot 51.5% from the floor and 42.9% from beyond the arc for the game. The out-rebounded the Eagles 44 to 34.
HEAD COACH MIKE KRZYZEWSKI
Opening Statement: “We actually played like we practiced these last two days. The guys have had great energy and are talking more. They played like they practiced, which is a neat thing if you practice well. They did have a difficult time, [Nik] Popovic being out hurts them, obviously. They become a different team, in some respects they are a harder offense to defend because they are all outside. Our guys did a really good job against them. To see Tre [Jones] play 24 minutes and to play like he did was terrific. To put it in perspective he has not played since Virginia Tech. In that time period of 24 or 25 days, he has hardly worked out because he was in exams and the foot. We were doing therapy and all that but it was to rest it so he was not running. For him to play that much, and I think he could have played more, was really encouraging. It was a heck of an effort. Matthew [Hurt], just before break he played well against Winthrop, and when he came back and played well against Brown, he’s a little bit stronger. He’s a little bit heavier and he is one of the main guys that is talking more on defense and offense and as a result his movements are stronger. He takes his shot quicker. It’s just a part of growing up. Overall, really good job by our guys and we shared the ball really well.”
When asked about the identity of the team: “It has been more of an identity and balance scoring. Vernon [Carey], usually, has not been the balance and that is okay. Other than that, there is pretty much balance. It is a team that knows what they do can contribute to winning and that it is important. That is why I have said from the start that it is more of an old-school team. We have depth and we have good attitude, really good attitude. They are working hard. You can tell that they pull for one another. We just have to keep that going and keep getting better.”
On Duke’s decade: “We won four ACC tournament titles. The main thing we won was two national titles and being No. 1 seeds a number of years. It’s a hell of a decade. It is our best decade of the four decades that I have been here because it has been the most consistent. When you average 30 wins and seven losses in 10 seasons, c’mon. We are not going to get caught up on regular season, or we didn’t win enough tournament titles. During that time we got eliminated a couple times in the first round of the NCAA but we went for it. We have gone for it. We have gone for the national championship. This team has a long way to go before they can do that. But, if we can keep going, we would like that to be how this team is judged… The other thing for the 10 years, we had a different team each year. It wasn’t bringing the same backcourt or the same quarterback. We have a different team each year. It is a hell of a thing. I am proud of these guys that have played for me for the 40 years that I have been there. But this decade I am really proud because it is a new age. It is a new age and to stay in the hunt every year is a hell of a thing. All of my guys have made it possible for me to have that opportunity and I am proud of them.”
SOPHOMORE GUARD TRE JONES
On what Duke did to try and slow down Boston College guard Derryck Thornton: “Just try to make it as difficult as we could the entire game. He’s a really explosive guard, quick to get to the rim. Vernon [Carey Jr.] and Jav [Javin DeLaurier] were protecting the hoop really well tonight.”
On the value of winning an ACC regular season game: “We know, the guys who’ve been through the ACC [regular season], that every single game is a battle. No matter who you’re playing, no matter where they are in the ACC or in the country, no matter what, it’s going to be a battle every single night. Getting a win in the ACC means a lot, and we’ve got to take things from this game and we have some things that we can learn from in the game, move forward, and look forward to Saturday night [versus Miami]. [Winning the ACC regular season title] is a big goal for us. Every year, coming in, winning the ACC is definitely a goal of ours. But not being able to win the regular season in so many years, that’s definitely one of our main goals this year. We all talk about it. The banners are in the ceiling and we look at them all the time, so we’re able to tell when the last one was, and we want to hang the next one.”
On the play of Matthew Hurt tonight: ”He had a great game tonight. He’s been practicing like that, he’s shown spurts of that throughout the entire year, so for him to have that type of game tonight was perfect for him. The way he can spread the floor, when they’re helping off and not there on the catch in front of him, he’s able to get his shot off and he can shoot it at a high clip. That’s big for us and we’re going to need that throughout the entire year with how much help other teams are giving on Vernon [Carey Jr.].”
When asked how it felt to be back on the floor tonight after missing two games due to an injury:
“Early on, there was definitely some rust, just not being able to be in a game for a few weeks. But it felt good just to get back going again, for sure. You can only do so much in workouts before it’s not really like a game anymore. After the first few minutes, I got my feet back under me and I felt good the rest of the game.”
FRESHMAN FORWARD MATTHEW HURT
“My teammates were finding me and I was just knocking down shots. I just got into a little rhythm and I just went from there. It’s a boost to my confidence. I’ve had some bad games this year, but I just try to never get too low, stay even, and when you have the high, just stay even and don’t try to look forward to the next game.”
“Coach [Mike Krzyzewski] always tells me and the bigs to attack the offensive glass, and Coach [Jon] Scheyer told me that rebounds lead to better offensive possessions for me, so I just tried to get my hands on offensive rebounds and play winning basketball.”
On having Tre Jones back in the lineup tonight:
“He’s a big part of our team. Having him back, he’s our defensive anchor and runs the show on offense. He’s one of the biggest keys to our team.”
FRESHMAN FORWARD WENDELL MOORE
On Duke’s continued pressure in the second half: “We just wanted to come out and bring the same energy that we brought in the first half. In the first half, we came out really strong and we just wanted to continue that.”
“The ACC is obviously a great league, one of the best in the country, so every night you have to come out and bring it.”
“Overall, this was probably one of our more complete games of the year. We played really good on defense and on offense, we really shot the ball well.”
BOSTON COLLEGE HEAD COACH JIM CHRISTIAN
On the first half where Duke was able to stretch its lead:
“We did a really poor job today of keeping the floor spaced and making plays for other people. We didn’t do a good job finishing plays and they were able to come over to block shots. We didn’t really rebound the ball all that well either. We need to do a better job of executing and worrying about our own game.”
On Derryck Thornton’s return to Cameron: “Nobody on our team played really well. It’s not on Derryck Thornton or anybody else, we just have to do a better job as a group.”
On Matthew Hurt in the first half: “They were skipping the ball and we did a poor job of rotating quickly enough to him. He was able to set his feet and he has a good release. He’s a good player.”
• Mike Krzyzewski is in his 40th season as Duke’s head coach, and his record is now 1,071-286 at Duke, and 1,143-345 overall in this, his 45th season overall.
• Duke is now 899-162 all-time when playing at Cameron Indoor Stadium, including 541-67 under Coach K.
• Duke closes the decade with a record of 300-70 (.811) -- the third-highest winning percentage and fourth-most wins in college basketball this decade (since January 1, 2010).
• Today’s game marked the 25th meeting between Duke and Boston College, with the series now 22-3 favoring Duke, including 11-0 at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
• Duke’s 39-point victory marked its largest in the series versus BC.
• The 39-point margin was Duke’s largest in an ACC game since beating Georgia Tech, 110-57, on 1/4/17 – also an ACC home opener.
• It marked the 23rd time in Duke history to win an ACC game by 39+ points.
• Duke improved to 31-9 in ACC home openers under Coach K.
• In consecutive games, Duke has set its season-low for points allowed – 50 vs. Brown and 49 vs,. BC.
• Duke has held consecutive opponents to 50 points or less for the first time since the 2010-11 season – 12/8 vs. Bradley, 83-48 and 12/11 vs. Saint Louis, 84-47.
• It marked just the 21st time (20-1) under Coach K that the Blue Devils allowed less than 50 points in an ACC game, and the first since a 60-44 win over Syracuse (2/24/18).
• Duke’s bench scored 32 points and has totaled 199 bench points over the six-game winning streak (33.2 per game). For the season, Duke’s bench is averaging 25.8 points per game, its highest bench scoring average since 26.9 by the 2007-08 team.
• Duke is now 989-223 when playing as a ranked team under Coach K, including 585-107 as a ranked top five team.
• Duke extended its streak of at least one made three-pointer to 1,072 games – the nation’s third-longest active streak.
• Tonight’s game marked the 463rd consecutive sellout at Cameron Indoor Stadium, dating back to Nov. 16, 1990 -- the longest active streak (by time) in either men’s college basketball or the NBA.
• All 11 Blue Devils that played in the game scored at least three points and all 11 had at least one rebound.
• Freshman Matthew Hurt recorded career highs in points (25), made field goals (10-of-16) and three-point field goals (5-of-10).
• Sophomore Tre Jones returned from a two-game absence (foot) and recorded 10 assists against one turnover – his second-most career assists (12 vs. Michigan State and Stephen F. Austin) and his most against an ACC opponent.
• Freshman Vernon Carey Jr., finished with nine points, nine rebounds and four blocked shots in 20 minutes.
• Sophomore Joey Baker recorded a career-high three assists.
• Duke plays at Miami on Saturday, Jan. 4 in Coral Gables, Fla., at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.