Sporting Alert – No. 9 Duke heads into Monday night’s college basketball matchup with Syracuse hoping to avoid a third successive defeat and bounce back from its first loss of the season at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
After winning three straight games in the ACC, the Blue Devils (14-4, 3-2 ACC) have dropped back-to-back games against Clemson on the road on Wednesday, and Notre Dame at home on Saturday.
And in that defeat to the Fighting Irish, Duke not only just lose, but the defending champion also allowed a season-high 95 points.
Even though they are the reigning champs, Blue Devils are playing with a number of college rookies and head coach Mike Krzyzewski believes it will take time for them to develop.
Leading scorer Grayson Allen, who is averaging 20.2 points per game this season, is just a sophomore, while Brandon Ingram (16.8 ppg) and Luke Kennard (12.9 ppg) are among those in their first term.
Photo Graphic by Duke M. Basketball @Duke_MBB
“There’s nothing from last year,” Krzyzewski said. “Unless you have a lot of guys (back), whatever you did last year translates a little bit better.
“… It’s a different year, and we just have to fight and keep getting better and not pay attention to anything else.”
According to the Blue Devils’ sporting information stats, Ingram has averaged 20.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 2.0 blocks while shooting 44.6 from 3-point range since Dec. 15.
Syracuse heads into this game on the back of a two-game winning streak, but is 2-4 in the last six games and 1-2 against teams ranked in the top 25 poll this season.
The Orange defeated Boston College and Wake Forest in their previous two games and have held both teams below 60 points during that period.
Michael Gbinije has been most active this season for Syracuse – averaging 17.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game and is ranked first in the ACC in steals per contest with 2.5.
Gbinije is also averaging 14.25 points per game against ranked teams this season.
Tyler Roberson, who collected double-doubles in the last two games, is averaging 9.9 points and 8.5 rebounds, addition to stealing the ball 1.2 times per battle.
Duke is ranked second in scoring this season with 86.9 points per game and allowing 70.7 at the other end, while the Orange are scoring 71.1 and letting 64.4 per contest.
The Blue Devils go in search of their third straight victory in this series.
Meanwhile, in college basketball on Monday as well, No. 2 Oklahoma, which is expected to move to the No. 1 position in the AP top 25 rankings after Kansas was beaten by West Virginia, will matchup against No. 17 Iowa State on the road at Hilton Coliseum.
The Sooners (15-1, 4-1 Big 12) edged to a 70-68 victory over No. 11 West Virginia on Saturday on the back of 17 points from Buddy Hield and a late tip-in from Khadeem Lattin with one-second remaining.
Oklahoma leads the Big 12 in scoring and is putting up 86.3 points per game which is the fourth best points per game for a college basketball team in the nation.
The Sooners are ranked 3rd in rebounds per game with 43.6.
Iowa State (13-4, 2-3 Big 12) broke a two-game skid with a 76-63 victory over Kansas State in its last outing.
The Cyclones were beaten 87-83 at Oklahoma on Jan. 2.
In another college basketball game on Big Monday, 24 Purdue (15-3) travels to face Rutgers (6-12) at Louis Brown Athletic Center.