Skip to content

Passing the key factor in Duke’s recent run of offensive success

Feb 8, 2013, 9:52 AM EDT

North Carolina State v Duke Getty Images

It’s taken some time, but the Duke Blue Devils have become more comfortable playing without senior forward Ryan Kelly.

After struggling from the field in their first three games without Kelly, shooting 37.9% from the field (1-2 record with losses at N.C. State and Miami), Duke has shot 52% or better in each of the last four games. In their 98-85 win over the Wolfpack at Cameron on Thursday night, Duke shot 53.8% and knocked down ten three-pointers.

Duke shooting 61.3% from the field in the first half may been seen as a “perfect storm” of sorts, but 14 of their 19 made field goals were assisted. The Blue Devils have done a better job of finding quality looks for each other and that’s been a key factor in their offensive executions in wins over Florida State and N.C. State.

“Yeah, we can’t start any better than we have in the past two games,” noted head coach Mike Krzyzewski after Thursday’s win. “We would love to have Ryan back, but we have learned to play with this group. I am not saying we are a great team, but we are a good team now with this group.”

Mason Plumlee made all five of his first-half field goal attempts (5-of-6 from the foul line as well) and guards Seth Curry, Quinn Cook and Rasheed Sulaimon combined to shoot 10-of-16 from beyond the arc. And while the three-pointers didn’t fall in the second half (0-of-7) Duke got to the foul line, shooting 22-of-28 in the final 20 minutes.

Duke shooting better from the field overall and from three has been a factor in their recent success, but their improved distribution of the basketball (18 or more assists in three of the last four games) should not be overlooked either.

“Mason has played well all year long, he knows more is on him with Ryan out,” said Krzyzewski. “I think we are all getting more comfortable with Ryan out. With Amile, Murph gave us really good minutes tonight. It is a different team offensively than it is with Ryan.”

Duke doesn’t have the scoring at the four that they had when Kelly was on the floor, but after some tough times early they’ve adjusted. And that will make Duke a better team when the senior returns to the lineup.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej

Latest Posts
  1. Memphis announces transfer of shooting guard Damien Wilson

    Aug 1, 2014, 9:30 PM EDT

    Christian Brothers v Memphis Christian Brothers v Memphis

    Wilson averaged 5.9 minutes per game in two seasons at Memphis.

  2. Norman Powell sees defense, rebounding as keys for UCLA

    Aug 1, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT

    Norman Powell AP

    After being one of the Pac-12’s most improved players last season, Powell looks to lead a team hoping to improve defensively and on the glass.

  3. Report: College of Charleston names new interim coach

    Aug 1, 2014, 6:30 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    The College of Charleston has found a replacement for Doug Wojcik during his suspension.

  4. Four-star 2015 center Tyler Davis loses weight to transform game

    Aug 1, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT

    (Nike) (Nike)

    Tyler Davis has lost 70 pounds and evolved into one of the nation’s best big men.

  5. Louisville commit Raymond Spalding doesn’t feel pressure as the hometown kid

    Aug 1, 2014, 2:15 PM EDT

    (Scott Phillips/NBC Sports) (Scott Phillips/NBC Sports)

    Louisville commit Raymond Spalding doesn’t feel pressure despite being a hometown kid.

  6. Freshman center Trayvon Reed no longer in Maryland’s plans following arrest

    Aug 1, 2014, 1:26 PM EDT

    Mark Turgeon Mark Turgeon

    The 7-foot-1 center was arrested on charges including resisting arrest and second-degree assault.

  7. Power forward Michael Jacobson becomes Nebraska’s first 2015 commitment

    Aug 1, 2014, 12:57 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP Photo

    The 6-foot-8 Iowan averaged 17.1 points and 9.7 rebounds per game as a high school junior.

  8. High school, college counselor rosters for adidas Nations released

    Aug 1, 2014, 10:53 AM EDT

    Adidas Hoops Adidas Hoops

    Among the high school players in attendance are Jaylen Brown (2015), Thon Maker (2016) and Dennis Smith Jr. (2016).

  9. Wisconsin releases video of players receiving Final Four rings [VIDEO]

    Aug 1, 2014, 10:09 AM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    You’ve seen the pictures of the rings. Now see the player’s reactions once they got them.

  10. North Carolina asks court to move Mary Willingham lawsuit to federal court

    Jul 31, 2014, 10:13 PM EDT

    Image (1) university-of-north-carolina-logo-thumb-220x177-1144.jpg for post 315

    Mary Willingham’s lawsuit came to light in early July, with the NCAA deciding to reopen its investigation at around the same time.

  11. 2016 guard Josh Jackson announces his new high school [VIDEO]

    Jul 31, 2014, 8:30 PM EDT

    (Scott Phillips/NBC Sports) (Scott Phillips/NBC Sports)

    The explosive shooting guard’s new school is located in Napa, California.

  12. Xavier’s new court design? Cincy’s skyline, but not chili (PHOTO)

    Jul 31, 2014, 7:30 PM EDT

    @slrussell @slrussell

    The court will be redesigned by the end of the month.

  13. Recruitment starting to pick up for top 30 point forward Braxton Blackwell

    Jul 31, 2014, 5:20 PM EDT

    Kelly Kline/Under Armour Kelly Kline/Under Armour

    Blackwell is a member of the Class of 2016 but is already hearing from some notable programs.

  14. Rick Brunson charged with attempted sexual assault, battery

    Jul 31, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

    Vernon Hills Police Department Vernon Hills Police Department

    Brunson is the father of a top 15 recruit and a potential hire for a program in the AAC.

  15. How can Wichita State build on the two best years in program history?

    Jul 31, 2014, 1:15 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP Photo

    Wichita State is coming off of a Final Four and an undefeated regular season. What happens if they can’t match that success again?

  16. Grant Hill donates $1.25 million to Duke

    Jul 31, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP Photo

    It’s the second time Hill has donated a million to the school