From almost the opening tip this game had a feel to it of a trap game and the Blue Devils almost got snared in the trap as they slugged their way to a 62-61 victory over Boston College.
It took Duke more than 5 minutes just to score and Boston College came out as every team that plays Duke, with intensity and passion. The Blue Devils who traveled to Boston on Sunday morning due to the massive snow storm looked as if they were trying to move through snow drifts.
When they did get some flow, the Eagles countered and in many cases were just tougher than Duke.
Boston College isn’t an overly talented team and most were expecting Duke to handled the Eagles easily, but the home team would have none of it. Some of the Blue Devils defensive struggles carried over from the second half of the NC State game, but the foul trouble plagued Duke even more.
The Eagles were 17-20 from the free throw line and that helped keep the Blue Devils off balance. If not for the play of Seth Curry 18 points and Mason Plumlee, 19 point and 11 rebounds it might have been a different outcome, but even with the two senior captains leading Duke in scoring it wasn’t a pretty game for the Blue Devils.
Duke was sloppy on offense turning the ball over 13 times. Early on Plumlee was ineffective as Boston College double and even triple-teamed the Blue Devils big man and with the rest of the team, Curry aside, not hitting shots, it was a recipe for a rough game for Duke and that is exactly what they got.
The sloppy play is a bit of a step backwards for Duke who had been coming out strong over their last two games. The Blue Devils overall looked uninspired and unmotivated to play and in the end were down right lucky to win as Boston College couldn’t take advantage or having the ball in the waning seconds with a chance to win the game.
Many will look at this game as a potential trap game between the big match ups with NC State and the Wednesday game against North Carolina and combined with the lag in travel time due to the snow storm the excuses will be tossed out. Unfortunately for Duke, if they have any real desires at being one of the best teams in the country they can’t have many games like this.
When the polls come out on Monday there is still a possibility that given how poorly Duke played that they may get votes for the No. 1 ranking but based on their performance it will, and should give many voters pause.
Just when you thought Duke had finally found a level of consistency they turn out a performance like this one and bring up some of the old questions. At this point you have to hope this was an aberration and that they bounce back on Wednesday in a game that regardless of records is always a battle.
The trip to Boston resulted in a victory and an ugly win is still a win, even if in someways it feels like a defeat.
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