Duke basketball appears to have found its bench

Saturday, 13 Jan, 2018

Pitt started five freshmen for the third straight game, and the young Panthers got a rude awakening to the realities of facing an opponent with six five-star prospects that was selected as the team to beat in the ACC in the league's preseason poll. 24 Florida State rained in 15 threes in the Blue Devils' two previous conference games. Coaches can talk all they want about how intense it will be, but until they experience it themselves they'll be knocked back a bit, to steal a phrase from Coach K. The game against the Wolfpack was seemingly a big wakeup call for the team, as it responded in a big way on Wednesday night against Pittsburgh. They got key stops, forced Pitt (8-9, 0-4) to turn the ball over and forced tough shots.

Defense has been the focus in practice for the Blue Devils, because in order to win in March and April, Duke knows it has to perform better than it has on the defensive end so far this season. Bagley leads in rebounds (11.5) while Duval tops in assists (6.5) per game. "Tired of letting teams storm the court when we play them on the road". "Just everybody was talking and connecting and that allowed us to be more alert and to move as one, that really helped us a lot tonight". "And we did that". It was 10-0 before the Panthers scored more than four minutes into the game.

David Cutcliffe made wholesale changes to the Duke football coaching staff with the ability to add a 10th assistant and the requirement to replace Marcus Johnson as the offensive line coach.

Against Pitt, freshman guard Jordan Goldwire and sophomore forward Jack White also played at least 13 minutes. Luther is one of two returning players on Pitt's team.

Krzyzewski believes Pitt should use a little patience when it comes to Stallings, in the second season of what is a massive roster rebuild.

Pitt never found its rhythm on offense.

"We've been practicing like insane trying to get better", Krzyzewski said. But he adds, "It's just like watching any other team that we play against. Things that we do well that they might not do as well, ways we can have an impact on the game". After all, it's hard to overlook Duke's five national championships under coach Mike Krzyzewski, who's won 1,011 games as the Blue Devils' coach. "And we were better tonight". They're real young and they have talent but they're real young and have to keep learning these new habits.

With eight points against N.C. State and 11 points against Pittsburgh, Grayson Allen is close to passing his next target in the Duke career scoring record books. "Today was a step forward".