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In a span of 20 days in November, Duke played a stretch of nine games in three different time zones. In the same time period in December, Duke played just four games. The long time away from competitive basketball, at least against another team, could have gone two ways. The first way would’ve seen a young team get rusty and lose its rhythm, welcoming a 10-2 Evansville team to Cameron Indoor Stadium and struggling to put them away.
Or losing to them, like North Carolina did to Wofford.
The second way would’ve seen a young team find its way on the defensive side of the ball and tighten up deficiencies that were a big part of the undefeated, No. 1-ranked Duke team losing to unranked Boston College.
On Wednesday night, the second way showed up as the Blue Devils blew out Evansville 104-40. Wendell Carter scored a career-high 27 points and Duke held an opponent to 40 points or less for the first time since Clemson in 2013. The margin of victory of 64 points is tied for the seventh largest in school history.
At seven games, a new Duke program record, Marvin Bagley’s consecutive games with a double-double streak ended. He had the points, finishing with 18 on 6-for-8 shooting, but ended the game with just seven rebounds. He has 10 on the year, just four short of the freshman record for most in a player’s first year, held by Jabari Parker.
LONGEST HOME OOC WIN STREAK EXTENDED
With its final home game against a nonconference opponent in the books for 2017-18, Duke extended the nation’s longest active streak of consecutive non-conference home wins to 139. The last time Duke lost such a game was to St. John’s on Feb. 26, 2000. The next longest streak is Arizona at 45 games.
Football arrives in Detroit for Quick Lane Bowl
Duke flew up to Detroit on Thursday to prepare for the Quick Lane Bowl, which airs on ESPN on Dec. 26 at 5:15 p.m. Eastern. The Blue Devils will spend the next week doing team-bonding activities and finishing out their extra practices in preparation for a tough Northern Illinois squad. It’s the first bowl action for the program in two years, as the 2016 season ended with a 4-8 record. But only the freshman class does not have bowl experience, as Duke was on a four-year streak of postseason play before last season. This will be redshirt freshman Daniel Jones’ first playing time in a bowl. Thus, it remains to be seen how he’ll handle the bright lights and big crowd of the Detroit Lions’ Ford Field.
EARLY SIGNING PERIOD NETS 15
The year 2017 showcased the first early signing period for college football, and Duke took advantage of the occasion to ink National Letters of Intent from a 15-man class. All of the verbal commitments decided to make thing official except for one, but Duke has built a strong foundation heading into a transitional year for the offense in 2018. Four-star DE Tahj Rice was the gem of the class, followed by Wake Forest Heritage quarterback Gunnar Holmberg and Southern Lee safety Nate Thompson. Six players from the state of North Carolina signed with Duke in 2018, as the coaching staff made recruiting inside the state borders a priority. Charlotte Providence Day School defensive tackle Elijiah Brown, wide receiver Jarett Garner (Harrisburg), tight end Zamari Ellis (Henderson) and guard Maurice McIntyre (Jacksonville) rounded out the in-state haul. Duke signed zero in-state recruits in 2017.
Adam Rowe covers Duke basketball, football and recruiting for 247Sports.com. Check out more of his work at duke.247sports.com.