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St. John's 93 Duke 78 : Personally, I Blame the Shoes

One year ago to the day, on the now annual “Coaches vs. Cancer” weekend , when all coaches sport spotless white sneaks to raise Cancer awareness in a wonderful gesture of solidarity, the Duke Men’s Basketball team took a little trip to Georgetown and got their collective clocks cleaned by that Big East school to the dissonant tune of 89-77. Funny how time flies, isn’t it? A whole year come and gone!? One might feel moved to say say something along the lines of, “It felt just like yesterday”,except that one would feel strange about that, since it would be infinitely more accurate to observe,  “It felt just like today.” Yeah, A LOT like today. Right down to the white shoes on the sideline.

Here are the lines from that game compared with today’s stinker against the Red Storm

Duke v Gtown : 37% FG, 31% 3-pts ( 9-29), FT ( 22-26), 32 Rebs, 11 Asts, 15 TO, 3 Blk, 11 stls

Duke v St. J’s : 42% FG, 19% 3-pts ( 5-26), FT ( 21-27), 28 rebs, 9 Asts, 17 TO, 7 Blk, 7 stls

With , of course, a final score differing by only 5 points.

Now, if I were an optimist ( which is a bit optimistic of me to think) I would say that this must be a fantasticly auspicious omen, since we only lost once after the Georgetown game ( to Maryland, who, we coincidentally play next).

If my glass is half empty ( which is more likely), I’m thinking that our consistent lack of offensive post presence will continue to combine with our periodic and mysterious inablilty to hit wide-open looks from distance to erode our defensive focus, which will cause us to lose more than one game before the end of this year ( and one of them WON’T be the National Championship game).

There isn’t a lot to break down in this one. It was pretty much a complete no show from Duke on virtually every front for 30 of the 40 minutes. They couldn’t throw it in the ocean from a boat, despite numerous open looks from 3 and went 1-21 from beyond the arc until 4 straight at the end of the game brought the percentage up from nightmarish to merely horrifying. The defense, when it was working, made St.John’s settle for wide open looks from 5 to 8 feet, and when it wasn’t , it looked like the Red Storm was running a layup drill. Our press was utterly, UTTERLY ineffective. Why we only went to the zone for one or two posessions in the first half, I can only guess, since it seemed like turning the Red Storm into a jump shooting team was the only real chance we had. Oh well. Coach K only really employs it as a change of pace to try and throw teams out of any offensive rhythm they might be in.

Duke brought a rusty butter knife to a sword fight today, folks. As Coach K said ” We got our butts kicked today and we deserved to have our butts kicked today”. St. John’s played inspired and well-executed basketball, while the Devils countered with the exact opposite.

Game Notes

-Nolan had 32 points. Remarkably, 30 of them came AFTER the half. The lone bright spot today.

- Kyle continued his 3-point slide, going 1-7, most of which were wide open looks. He is 9-34 in his last 5 games. Andre continued his struggles as well, and over that same span is now 5-22 from distance

- Mason’s rebounding run came to an abrupt end, which was ironic given a) how undersized St.John’s is and b) how many shots we missed. He had just 4 today and was a non-factor across the board.

-St. John’s finished with a 58% shooting day, which is the best any team has shot against Duke since…you guessed it; Georgetown. When a team rolls up 93 points on you and only needs three 3-point shots to do it, you know you didn’t show up on defense.