Duke Basketball Exorcises One Of Their Demons With Win vs. Gardner-Webb

By Jack Dooley
Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

After losing their first two games against AP Top-25 opponents, the Duke Blue Devils got the monkey off their back by beating the No. 22 Michigan Wolverines on December 3. It has been twelve long days since the world has seen the likes of Jabari Parker, and the Cameron Crazies have been without basketball for nearly two weeks. The fans were rewarded for their patience on Monday night when their beloved Blue Devils took the court against Gardner-Webb.

Duke made the world their stage Monday night being the only active top 25 team, and the Blue Devils did not disappoint in only their second game in December. The Blue Devils came out of the gate on fire. A 53-point offensive onslaught in the first half put to bed any whispers of the Blue Devils showing signs of rust. The narrative for the Blue Devils has been that they can score at will, but have several glaring weaknesses.

Yes, Duke can score, but Duke cannot rebound (299th nationally) and have only held one team under 60 points. With the loss of Mason Plumlee, Duke has lost the rim protector they so desperately need. Teams have been able to take the ball to the rack at will, which has caused Duke to receive tough tests in games that should not be even close. This narrative held true Monday night, but was masked by an 85-66 victory.

A die-hard Duke fan would point to the rebounding column to try and disprove this claim. That motion would be shortsighted. Duke had a 15-rebound advantage on the night with 15 offensive rebounds, but it was for a grand total of 37 rebounds. 37 rebounds against a top-25 opponent would not guarantee a rebounding advantage. Duke improved defensively, holding the Runnin’ Bulldogs to 27 second-half points.

Jack Dooley is a Big 12 Basketball writer for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JackDooleyOCS and Facebook.

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