Duke Rallies Past Boston College 63-55

Settled in New England, Boston College is known to be more of an ice-hockey school than for basketball. But they held Duke to an eight-point game Tuesday night on February 4th.

Boston is pretty split when it comes to win and losses at 11-12 whereas Duke certainly has a winning record. Afterall, Duke has five tournament championships, and the furthest Boston has gotten is to the Elite Eight. The win over Boston put Duke at 19-3.

While it was one of the smaller wins Duke has had lately ending the game 63-55, it was still a win. Their win streak continues, and they’re 9-2 in the ACC.

At halftime, Boston College led duke 24-21 and maintained the lead for a good portion of the second half. However, Duke managed to pull away with a 20-8 run in the final eight minutes. Tr Jones of Duke scored eight of the team’s 13 final points and assisted with another four.

Boston led by 10 when Duke decided to start playing. Despite tightening the defense, they still struggled offensively and missed all 12 of their first half 3-point attempts. Freshman Vernon Carey was a vital player in the game. Of the team’s first 21 points, Jones was responsible for nine of them, even giving the Devils a lead 17-16.

Mike Krzyzewski had a nuanced explanation for Duke’s shooting woes:

“We missed six shots by the bucket in the first eight minutes. Even at the end, we missed right by the bucket. When we’re young, we try to shoot there, and when you’re by the bucket, you don’t try to shoot – you try to score. It’s a big difference. you’re trying to shoot, there’s the bucket, you might go here. You try to score, you’re going in here, so you’re either going to get the bucket, foul or both. Here, you’re not going to get a call because you haven’t worked for it. It’s not like we were getting fouled. We were shooting the ball, and what happens then is there’s a lot of stuff underneath body-wise and so if you’re just shooting it, you’re shooting at a moving target because you’re going to be hit, whereas if you’re trying to score, you’re right there. Anyway, it makes sense – I’ve been doing it for 45 years. There’s a big difference between shooting and scoring by the bucket. Winning teams score the ball, they don’t shoot the ball by the bucket, and we didn’t do that tonight until late Tre got a couple.”

New Year’s Eve, Duke beat Boston College 88-49, and they did win again. However, BC welcomed post Nik Popovic back from injury. Popovic had a modest nine points and four rebounds, but he helped BC have some edge over Duke.

But it took Duke some time to concede that improvement.

““They [Duke] have a lot of adversity with me because they didn’t listen to me, so they’re in trouble with me and that’s the main adversity that they have, because it’s stupid not to listen,” Krzyzewski said. “I’ve warned them for two days about it. I’ve watched their recent games – they’ve been playing great, not good. This guy’s (Jim Christian) a good coach, and these kids played their butts off and I thought they did that even better than what I’ve seen in the last three games. They took it up a notch. They were very good tonight. They were certainly deserving of winning – we were fortunate tonight.”

The two teams traded baskets for the first 14 minutes of the second half with neither team leading by more than four points. Carey again had to sit a good portion of the second half with four fouls, not unusual for the freshman but something that Duke should work on.

Duke took lead when they were trailing 47-43 and Joey Baker knocked down the one 3-pointer of the night. Carey then hit a layup and then two free throws, putting Duke ahead 50-49. Swinging the momentum in Duke’s favor. For almost five minutes, Duke held Boston from scoring any from the field.

Both teams scored more in the second half than the first. Boston College scored seven more points with a total of 31 in the second half. But Duke outperformed them by doubling the points. The Devils scored 42 points in the second bringing them another win.

“There was a lot going on tonight,” Krzyzewski summed up. “We feel very fortunate to have won. I think that one change (defensively) helped us and it turned out where we won. Whether we were completely deserving of winning or not, I thought in the second half, we at least put ourselves on the threshold of being deserving and we got it.”

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