Preview: Duke v. Boston College


Posted Feb 8, 2014


Previewing the Blue Devils and Eagles who will tip off on Saturday afternoon at BC. The game will be broadcast on ESPN beginning at 6:00 PM EST.

All five of Duke's losses this season have come away from home, but its recent play outside of Durham has it feeling quite confident as it continues to navigate a tricky stretch.

Though the 11th-ranked Blue Devils' trips to Boston College have typically ended in victory, they've usually not been very easy.

With a visit to archrival North Carolina on tap next week, Duke will try to stay focused Saturday night as it looks for an eighth straight win against the Eagles.

The Blue Devils lost to Kansas and Arizona, both top-5 opponents at the time, at neutral sites in November, and began ACC play with back-to-back road losses at Notre Dame and Clemson.

Since then, Duke (18-5, 7-3) has looked much better on the road, and not coincidentally, it's playing its best overall basketball of the season. The Blue Devils have won six of seven since opening conference play 1-2, winning by 21 at Miami and 15 at then-No. 18 Pittsburgh before falling 91-89 in overtime to current No. 1 Syracuse a week ago.

Duke bounced back on Tuesday, its lone home contest in a five-game stretch, by cruising past Wake Forest 83-63. Jabari Parker scored a game-high 21 points on just 10 field-goal attempts, while Rasheed Sulaimon added 19 and Andre Dawkins 17 in 19 minutes off the bench.

"Our confidence is high right now," Dawkins said. "We just really wanted to get on to the next thing and just focus on Wake Forest and get this win. We're glad we were able to do that, and now we've got to get a win at Boston College."

If the Blue Devils can continue shooting this well from beyond the arc, they should feel awfully confident. Duke has made 46.0 percent of its 3-pointers in the past three games, going 40 of 87. On the season, it's shooting 41.6 percent from 3-point range -- the fourth-best mark in the nation.

Mike Krzyzewski's biggest concern for his team right now is fatigue. After Wednesday's visit to Chapel Hill, the Blue Devils will play four of their final six at home.

"We're a tired basketball team," Krzyzewski said. "We need to... get refreshed and get going again to get up to Boston on Saturday night."

Sulaimon had a career-high 27 points when Duke and Boston College (6-16, 2-7) last met Feb. 24 as the Blue Devils cruised to an 89-68 home win, but visits to Chestnut Hill have typically been much tighter. Duke has only lost once in seven trips to Conte Forum, but three of its past five wins have been decided by three points or fewer -- including a 62-61 win last Feb. 10.

The Blue Devils overcame a five-point deficit with less than two minutes to play in that victory, which came against an Eagles team that was also 2-7 in the ACC.

BC's Ryan Anderson had an opportunity for a putback winner after Olivier Hanlan's miss, but lost control of the ball out of bounds.

After scoring just four points against Georgia Tech on Jan. 21, Anderson has been on fire. In the team's last three games, the junior is averaging 19.7 points while shooting 69.0 percent from the field.

Anderson's play has helped pick up the slack for Hanlan, the ACC's third-leading scorer at 17.7 per game. The sophomore guard has averaged just 10.0 points in Boston College's past three contests.

Anderson had 20 points and Hanlan scored 14 in a 77-67 loss at No. 20 Virginia on Wednesday.

"I think (Olivier) has had a terrific year. Our offense has done very well," coach Steve Donahue said of his struggling guard. "(Against Virginia) we played a very defensive-minded team who was very locked in on him."

Hanlan averaged 16.0 points and missed 15 of 24 shots last season against the Blue Devils, while Anderson totaled 40 points.

Duke will want to guard the 3-point line closely on Saturday. Boston College attempts an ACC-high 23.3 3-pointers per game despite taking among the fewest overall shots per contest (50.3) in the nation.


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