If the Duke Blue Devils hope to go deep into the NCAA tournament this year they will need more performances from Seth Curry like he gave against the Kentucky Wildcats last night. Curry scored 23 points, helped by 3-for-5 shooting from beyond the arc, and helped Duke stave off a furious comeback attempt by the young Wildcats.
Duke still very much revolves around Mason Plumlee but he will need help from guys like Curry to force teams to defend the entire court and open up the paint for Plumlee and Ryan Kelly.
After the game Coach Mike Krzyzewski praised Curry’s performance and his ability to create his own shot. Curry might have saved Duke from the Kentucky comeback. After missing several jumpers, Curry did a fake and drove to the basket, drawing a foul from Kentucky’s Archie Goodwin. Curry hit both shots of the one-and-one and gave Duke a 66-61 lead with 2:04 remaining.
Curry will need more games like this if Duke hopes to avenge last season’s pitiful exit to Lehigh in the first round of the tournament and go much deeper.
Last night’s win was a huge confidence booster for a team that features three seniors, Plumlee, Curry, and Kelly, and a bunch of youngsters. The talent is there for a deep run but Plumlee and Kelly might get into foul trouble because of the physical nature of their games. Last night was no different. Plumlee fouled out with 34 seconds remaining and was in foul trouble for a good portion of the last few minutes.
Duke will need Curry to be consistent with his perimeter game, something which has been difficult at times for the senior guard. Last season, Curry seemed to fall in love with the three pointer, with 167 of his 336 field goal attempts coming from beyond the arc. He made only 38 percent of those threes after making 43 percent the year before. It just seemed like Curry was trying to do too much at times.
This season, Curry is off to a wonderful start, hitting 50 percent of his field goals, and 50 percent of his threes. He doesn’t have to keep shooting 50 percent from beyond the arc but he needs to know when and where to launch a three. Duke’s love affair with the three and long jumper almost cost them a 14-point lead last night. They will need Curry to make smart decisions like he made last night.