Tag: Matt Jones

Matt Jones, Dan Garvin
Associated Press

Jones, Allen lead No. 5 Duke past Bryant, 113-75

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DURHAM, N.C. (AP) No. 5 Duke got together for a team meeting to talk about the flaws in its lopsided season-opening victory.

Then the Blue Devils came out for Game 2 and managed an even bigger rout.

Grayson Allen had a career-high 28 points, Matt Jones scored all of his career-best 19 in the first half, and Duke beat Bryant 113-75 on Saturday night in the 2K Classic.

“We still have to learn from winning,” Allen said, “so we don’t have to lose just to learn.”

Freshman Brandon Ingram had 21 points to help the Blue Devils (2-0) earn their second lopsided win in as many nights.

Amile Jefferson had 11 points and 11 rebounds in his second straight double-double, and freshman Luke Kennard added 11 points for the reigning national champions.

They never trailed, shot 53 percent, hit 13 3-pointers, forced 19 turnovers and turned them into 24 points.

Things almost certainly won’t be this easy next time for Duke: the Blue Devils play No. 2 Kentucky on Tuesday night in the Champions Classic in Chicago.

They picked up easy wins against Siena and Bryant on consecutive nights to start the season, trailing for a total of 10 seconds so far. But Duke admitted it wasn’t at its best against the Saints, and coach Mike Krzyzewski said the team “had a tough feedback tape for about an hour” earlier Saturday morning.

“Our freshmen, I thought, played with much better enthusiasm and more decisiveness than they did” against Siena, Krzyzewski said.

He’ll need even more from them next week: After facing Kentucky, Duke will play Virginia Commonwealth and either No. 17 Wisconsin or Georgetown next weekend in Madison Square Garden.

Jones finished 7 of 9 from the field, hit five of Duke’s eight 3-pointers in the first half, had his career high by the break and only played 3 minutes in the second half as a precaution, Krzyzewski said.

Jones dealt with a groin injury in the preseason. His previous high of 17 points was set against Wake Forest last March in the home finale.

A role player on the team that captured the program’s fifth national title last spring, Jones has become a key scoring threat on a new-look Duke team that lost three freshmen to the first round of the NBA draft and needs its perimeter to provide the scoring punch.

This one certainly didn’t require much effort.

Three players – Jones, Allen and Ingram – cracked double figures by halftime. The Blue Devils scored on 14 of 15 possessions midway through the half to push the lead into double figures to stay, then took a 20-point lead on Allen’s free throw with 2:09 left in the half.

Hunter Ware scored a career-high 24 points to lead Bryant (0-1).

“To be able to score 75 points against a team the caliber of Duke is a good sign for us,” coach Tim O’Shea said.


Ingram, the biggest name in Duke’s freshman class, finished 7 of 11 from the field and hit four 3-pointers. A night earlier, he shot just 5 of 16 and was 1 of 9 from beyond the arc. “I don’t fault him for (Friday) night,” Krzyzewski said. “You’ve got to learn. A shot fake is a good thing.”


The Blue Devils pushed their winning streak at Cameron Indoor Stadium against nonconference opponents to 118. They have also won 110 in a row at home against unranked non-ACC opponents.


Bryant: The Bulldogs are 1-9 against Atlantic Coast Conference schools with their only win coming against Boston College in 2012-13. They did play Pittsburgh tough in a 72-67 loss on Feb. 2.

Duke: Allen reached 20 points for the second straight night. He had 26 against Siena, and his previous best of 27 – set against Wake Forest last year – was his only other 20-point game.


Bryant: Hosts Emerson on Wednesday.

Duke: Plays No. 2 Kentucky on Tuesday in Chicago.

Follow Joedy McCreary at http://twitter.com/joedyap. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/joedy-mccreary

AP college basketball site: http://collegebasketball.ap.org

Duke doesn’t need Rasheed Sulaimon if they have three guys that fit into a role

Rasheed Sulaimon benched


DURHAM, N.C. — The story of No. 10 Duke’s 79-69 win over No. 22 Michigan on Tuesday night was some combination of the Blue Devils’ defensive prowess and the Wolverine’s offensive struggles.

Whether you believe that Michigan’s horrendous night, which saw them score 50 points and shoot 39.1% from the floor in the first 38 minutes, was evidence that the Blue Devils have turned a corner on the defensive end or is proof-positive that the Wolverines aren’t going to be a factor in the Big Ten title race probably depends on what shade of blue you’re wearing.

But what’s inarguable is that Duke put a thorough whooping on Michigan.

It was the best game that Duke has played this season.

“Definitely,” Rodney Hood said after the game. “Especially defensively.”

Which is interesting when you consider the fact that Rasheed Sulaimon took the dreaded DNP-CD: Did Not Play-Coach’s Decision. Remember, we’re talking about a guy that averaged 11.6 points as a freshman, a guy that many expected to be an explosive No. 3 scoring option for the Blue Devils this season. He was supposed to be another weapon is what is a lethal offensive attack for Mike Krzyzewski.

Except he hasn’t been.

Sulaimon scored 33 points in his first two games this season, but has been a non-factor over the course of the six games leading into Monday night. He was 6-for-28 (21.4%) from the floor during that stretch, hitting just 1-for-9 from three and averaging just 4.0 points. “He has to play better than the guys who played tonight,” Krzyzewski in his press conference last night.

“As a man, he has to step up and accept what he needs to do,” Tyler Thornton said to Laura Keeley of the Raleigh News & Observer. “We need him. That’s all I can really say about that.”

“He knows what he needs to do, I don’t really want to speak on that. He has a week and a half until our next game. We have a lot of practice time. Hopefully we can get what we need out of him in that span.”

“It’s basketball,” senior guard Andre Dawkins said. “Everybody who plays shooting guard has had a DNP already this year. It’s what happens when you have this deep of a team, sometimes guys just aren’t going to play. It doesn’t mean we don’t need him to be good or to help us out.”

Dawkins’ answer is interesting.

He’s had his own trials and tribulations as a member of the Blue Devils. He was essentially told to take last season off by the Duke staff as he dealt with the grief of losing his sister. He returned this season, posting some big numbers in games against teams like UNC-Asheville, Vermont and Florida Atlantic. But he didn’t play against Kansas. He managed all of 12 minutes in two games at the Garden last week. He’s been pushed way down the bench this season, but he also stepped up and made the two biggest shots of the game last night.

Michigan had chipped the lead all the way down to 46-40 and had the momentum midway through the second half. You could feel it in the building; the Wolverines were going to make this a game. And then, BOOM, Dawkins comes in cold off the bench and buries a three on his first touch. On the next possession, BOOM, he drills another three to put Duke up 12. He added a running layup a minute later, which all but sealed Michigan’s fate.

Those were the two biggest shots of the game.

Without question.

Duke’s other two off-guards, Thornton and freshman Matt Jones, finished with just eight points in 38 combined minutes, but they were just as valuable as Dawkins. Duke’s game-plan defensively was to take away Nik Stauskas first and foremost, worrying about the rest of Michigan’s roster after they ran the Canadian gun-slinger off the three-point line and limited his driving lanes at the rim.

Thornton and Jones drew that assignment. Stauskas played 34 minutes and finished 0-for-2 from the floor.

Coach K can’t ask for much more out of his off-guards, and that’s a massive problem for Sulaimon.

The bottom-line is that Duke’s offensive is going to run through Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood. That’s not changing. Quinn Cook has proven that he’s more than capable of being a third-option offensively. Don’t believe? Last night, with Parker and Hood struggling, Cook exploded for 24 points and nine assists, doing most of his damage after halftime.

Quite frankly, Duke doesn’t need Sulaimon to be “Rasheed Sulaimon”. They need an off-guard willing to guy into a role. They need a lockdown defender that can knock down threes. If Sulaimon is unwilling to buy into that role, the three-headed monster of Thornton, Jones and Dawkins have proven themselves to be more than capable.

If he doesn’t want to play that role, then he doesn’t want to play.

Duke looks like they’ll be just fine.

2013-2014 Season Preview: No. 5 Duke Blue Devils

Mike Krzyzewski
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All month long, CBT will be rolling out our 2013-2014 season preview. Check back throughout the day, as we’ll be posting three or four preview items every day.

To browse through the preview posts we’ve already published, click here. The rest of our Top 25 Countdown can be found here. For a schedule of our previews for the month, click here.

Last Season: 30-6, 14-4 ACC (2nd); Lost to Louisville in the Elite 8

Head Coach: Mike Krzyzewski (34th season at Duke: 884-238 overall, 350-153 ACC)

Key Losses: Seth Curry, Mason Plumlee, Ryan Kelly

Newcomers: Jabari Parker, Rodney Hood, Matt Jones, Semi Ojeleye

Projected Lineup

G: Quinn Cook, Jr.
G: Rasheed Sulaimon, So.
F: Rodney Hood, So.
F: Jabari Parker, Fr.
C: Amile Jefferson, So.
Bench: Marshall Plumlee, So.; Josh Hairston, Sr.; Matt Jones, Fr.; Semi Ojeleye, Fr.; Andre Dawkins, Sr.; Alex Murphy, So.; Tyler Thornton, So.

They’ll be good because …: The Blue Devils just have so many talented perimeter weapons on their roster this year, including three guys that could eventually be lottery picks in the NBA Draft. We’ll start with the obvious: a consensus top three recruit in Jabari Parker, a 6-foot-8 do-it-all wing that will team up with Rodney Hood, a Mississippi State transfer and another 6-foot-8 do-it-all wing, to give Coach K arguably the best pair of forwards in the country. Throw in sophomore Rasheed Sulaimon, the underrated Quinn Cook at the point and Matt Jones, Andre Dawkins and Tyler Thornton off the bench, and it is going to be tough to earn minutes in the Blue Devil’s back court.

What makes this team the most dangerous is that Parker and Hood are big enough that they can essentially play with five perimeter players this season, creating all kinds of different mismatches. Can you imagine opposing centers trying to stay with Parker or Hood 20 feet from the basket? It’s a terrifying thought, really. With the amount of perimeter shooting and offensive firepower that the Blue Devils have, don’t be surprised to see them spread the floor, get up and down the court, and score a lot of point this season.

Jabari Parker (AP) and Rodney Hood (GoDuke.com)

But they might disappoint because …: Duke really doesn’t have any size at all this season. Amile Jefferson got the start in the middle in the Blue Devil’s first exhibition game of the season over the weekend, and he is naturally a wing that’s slender and stands all of 6-foot-7. Marshall Plumlee is a seven-footer with a ton of athleticism, but does he have the strength to hold his own in the paint in the toughest league in the country? Josh Hairston has been a solid role player for three years for Duke, but he’s really not much more than that. Semi Ojeleye can soar, but he’s still undersized as a front court player.

The reason that Duke is dangerous this season is that they can create mismatches on the offensive end of the floor, but what happens when they play talented teams that have forwards that can defend on the perimeter? What happens when they have to try and stop a Julius Randle or a Mitch McGary in the paint? Will Duke be able to keep teams off of the offensive glass? Will those mismatches be worth the risk of getting Parker or Hood in foul trouble?

Outlook: Duke is in a weird spot this season, as they might end up being better than they were a season ago despite losing their top three scorers from that team. The influx of talent they get this season with Parker and Hood will help keep them afloat, but the fact that Coach K didn’t bring in a big body from the recruiting trail is a bit concerning.

That said, Duke will be quite a bit of fun to watch this season if everything goes according to plan. Their smaller lineups will be a nightmare for teams with a more traditional roster makeup to try and matchup with, and the fact that they’ll be playing an open, uptempo style that should include plenty of three balls won’t hurt, either. Throw in the new physicality rules, and Duke is going to be a team that will score a lot of points this year. They should enter the season as the ACC favorites.