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Duke dropped its first game of the season in an unusually early ACC opener at Boston College on Dec. 7. The loss was going to come at some point, but the fact that it came to a team like the Eagles, who have losses to Texas Tech, Providence and Nebraska on their resume, was a bit of a shocker.
However, teams have a tendency to play above their heads when they take on Duke, especially when the Blue Devils are ranked No. 1. Boston College did just that, with Jerome Robinson (24 points), Havelock High product Ky Bowman (30 points) and Jordan Chatman (22 points) combining to shoot 13 for 23 from outside the 3-point line.
Duke seemingly couldn’t stop anything the Eagles wanted to do, and that’s probably the most troubling take from what will likely go down as a blip on the radar for a Duke team that has one of the most talented rosters in the sport.
TRENT FINDING HIS SHOT
While the rest of his teammates struggled shooting, Gary Trent Jr. put up a season-high 25 points on 6-for-13 shooting from behind the 3-point line. It was his second straight game with at least four treys, and comes at a time when Duke desperately needs another shooter to emerge. The bulk (58 percent) of Duke’s scoring comes from inside the arc, which is the 16th-highest two-point scoring distribution in the country. Duke’s offense is still the most efficient in the country, but if it can find another deep threat, it will open things up so much more inside for their twin towers, Marvin Bagley and Wendell Carter.
BAGLEY A DOUBLE-DOUBLE MACHINE
The freshman wunderkind put up his seventh consecutive double-double against Boston College, a new program record for most double-doubles in a row by a freshman. He’s easily on pace to break Jabari Parker’s freshman season record of 14 double-doubles (Bagley already has 10 through twelve games) and has Mike Lewis’ program record of 24 double-doubles from the 1968 season in his sights.
A LOT OF PRACTICE TIME
Duke was barely able to practice during the month of November due to their crazy travel and game schedule and new CARA (Countable Athletically Related Activity) rules that force schools to give players at least one day off every seven days. Due to nine games in 20 days, and a mid-November that saw the team play games in three different time zones in six days, Duke was only able to practice for 14 days in the first month of the season. That’s rough for a young team like Duke, the second-youngest in Division I behind Kentucky, in trying to adjust to the college game.
QUICK LANE BOWL PREP
While the basketball team has hardly practiced, Duke football is soaking in the extra practice time its team has secured with accepting a bowl bid to the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit. Two weeks of practices, spread out over the month of December while the players are finding time to take exams, will pay big dividends next season as Duke will have to replace a baker’s dozen of scholarship seniors.
BIG OFFICIAL VISIT WEEKEND
Duke hosted all of its verbal commitments for official visits this past weekend, and also welcomed Louisville commitment Tyler Steen and uncommitted offensive tackles Payne Durham and Anderson Hardy. While the Blue Devils are looking to add a few more offensive linemen in the 2018 class before signing day, they just lost their offensive line coach Marcus Johnson, who was hired away to Mississippi State. Unfortunate timing, to say the least, as Duke will wait to hire a new position coach until after the bowl game.
Adam Rowe covers Duke basketball, football and recruiting for 247Sports.com. Check out more of his work at duke.247sports.com.