Heavy Public Betting on #6 Blue Devils at Home Against Kent St
The sixth-ranked Blue Devils (9-1) haven’t lost since a 73-62 loss to then-No. 13 Marquette in the championship game of the CBE Classic at Kansas City, Mo., on Nov. 21. Duke has run off five straight wins following that defeat, all at Cameron Indoor Stadium, a run that includes victories over Indiana and then-No. 18 Georgetown.
The Blue Devils will try to avoid looking ahead to Thursday’s matchup with No. 22 Gonzaga at Madison Square Garden.
Duke will rely on its tough defense as it tries to knock off Kent State (5-3) before heading to New York. The Devils have been especially stingy at home, allowing 48.4 points per game – sixth in the nation. No visiting team has topped 53 points at Cameron this season.
The Blue Devils have been off since a 69-53 victory over George Mason on Dec. 9 due to exams. DeMarcus Nelson scored a season-high 24 points and freshman Jon Scheyer added 18 for Duke.
Nelson is putting together his best season as a Blue Devil. The junior put up pedestrian numbers his first two seasons as a reserve, but is averaging 14.7 points this season in finally displaying the form that made him the all-time leading scorer in California high school basketball.
“I feel great, my body is feeling great, and my mind is feeling great,” Nelson said. “I think the biggest adjustment is just mentally – knowing where I’m supposed to be, knowing what kind of player that I am, and just playing to my strengths.”
The Blue Devils are still waiting for Josh McRoberts to get untracked offensively. The 6-foot-10 forward is considered the Blue Devils’ top interior player, but is shooting just 46.3 percent after being at 60.5 percent as a freshman last season.
“I’m really comfortable out there,” McRoberts said. “Obviously, I’ll get shots to fall eventually and everything else is coming along all right.”
Duke is hoping the layoff won’t affect its sharpness. The Blue Devils committed a season-low 11 turnovers against George Mason and shot 50 percent for the first time in four games.
“The 11 turnovers is heaven for us right now,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said.
Kent State also hasn’t played since Dec. 9 due to exams. Five Golden Flashes scored in double figures in a 79-69 victory over IPFW that day.
Armon Gates paces Kent State’s balanced attack with 12.0 points per game. The Golden Flashes have four players averaging in double figures.
Kent State will be facing its second ranked opponent after losing at then-No. 7 Ohio State 81-59 on Nov. 12. The Golden Flashes also fell 83-80 in double overtime at Butler on Nov. 25, the week before the Bulldogs broke into the Top 25.
Duke and Kent State have met once, an 83-65 Blue Devils victory in 1974.
by: Marc Young – theSpread.com – Email Us
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