I’m proud to announce that The Chronicle’s Sports Blog has undergone its first facelift. We think the new blog is slicker, sleeker and, more than anything, allows us to continue to bring you the best coverage of Duke Football, Duke Basketball and Duke Athletics in a variety of different media—that means more videos, more photos and more audio.
Given the change, please change your RSS feeds to: http://feeds.feedburner.com/chronicleblogs/sports. Bookmarks can be redirected to sports.chronicleblogs.com. The Sports Blog can still be found at dukechroniclesports.com.
Sorry for any inconvenience and, as always, thanks for reading. Consider this a small nuisance and, in return, you’ll get even better coverage of the teams you love. If you have any concerns or comments about the new site, please feel free to e-mail Ben Cohen at firstname.lastname@example.org. Criticism is welcome.
Duke point guards Greg Paulus and Nolan Smith battle for a loose ball in Saturday's Blue-White scrimmage in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Photo by Glen Gutterson/The Chronicle
Check out a photo slideshow of Saturday’s Blue-White scrimmage by following this link.
Miami's Laron Byrd tips the ball over Duke's Lee Butler for a touchdown in the second half of Miami's 49-31 win over Duke Saturday. Photo by Simeon Law/The Chronicle
Check out a slideshow of The Chronicle’s best photos from Saturday’s game by following this link.
1. David Cutcliffe is angry. That’s the only way to sum up Cutcliffe’s eight minutes in front of the microphone, as he wasn’t too happy with the Blue Devils’ performance in the second half. Cutcliffe even seemed to imply that the team quit, and he wondered aloud who would respond this week with the team facing its biggest adversity of the season. The coach seemed particularly displeased with Eron Riley, who totaled at least four drops. Riley’s been struggling with a hand injury, but Cutcliffe said he was making those catches in practice. Further, Cutcliffe said his team was conditioned enough to play two more quarters, again implying that the late-game meltdown may have been more about a lack of effort than fatigue.This certainly wasn’t the same Cutcliffe who has cracked jokes in most of his postgame pressers.
2. The word from the Duke players was execution. The Blue Devils simply didn’t execute in the second half, with several drops and penalties killing drives.
3. In contrast, Duke did execute its gameplan to perfection in the first half, moving the ball on the ground and dominating time of possession. Those stats evened out in the second half, as Miami more or less manhandled the Blue Devils from midway in the third quarter on.
4. The big turning point was Matt Bosher’s 76-yard punt. Miami had consecutive three-and-outs inside its 20, and Bosher’s booming kick pinned the Blue Devils inside their 10-yard line. Duke’s offense couldn’t rebound, and the Hurricanes capitalized on good field position to take the lead. All day, the Miami offense looked skittish when backed up but unstoppable once they got around midfield.
Duke now goes on the road for its next two games at Vanderbilt and at Wake Forest. The Commodores dropped their second straight today, losing to Georgia after they had risen to No. 13 in the rankings. Expect an angry team looking to get back on track and qualify for its first bowl game in a quarter-century in Nashville Saturday.
1. Nolan Smith is ready to lead the Duke offense. After playing a complementary role in conducting the trio of Scheyer-Henderson-Singler in this first half, he took control in the second with a lineup that wasn’t as offensively minded and still thrived, this time as a scorer. He should get equivalent playing time to Greg Paulus, and we might even see more of the two of them together, especially after the Blue team ran a quasi-two point guard set with Smith and Jordan Davidson in the second period.
2. Pocius has recovered well from the ankle injury that sidelined him most of last season. He looked mobile, was an effective scorer in the second half, and played his role well without rushing any shots, Krzyzewski said. Expect the junior to compete for minutes at the guard position like he did last year before he went down against Eastern Kentucky.
3. Miles Plumlee was the most comfortable freshman out there. Krzyzewski said that he protected the basket, ran the floor well, moved well without the ball and had good hands. Defensively, he helped take Singler out of his rhythm in the second half. All of the freshman will have a learning curve, but Plumlee looked the most game-ready. Olek Czyz didn’t see much playing time, and Elliot Williams had the unenviable task of guarding the red-hot Henderson in the first half and Smith in the second half.
4. Krzyzewski was most effusive in his praise for Smith, who he said “played as well as anyone”, but also commended Dave McClure’s defense-particularly in the second half on Henderson-and Pocius’s veteran presence.
79-70 Blue, END OF SECOND HALF: And that’s a wrap. The second half took a significantly different trajectory than the first and with a different result. Pocius and Nolan Smith were the high scorers will 11 points apiece in the second session and Smith, David McClure and Miles Plumlee were the three Blue Devils to win both “games”. Postgame recap and quotes to follow.
Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski talks to his team in the Blue Devils' first open practice Friday. They tip the season Saturday in the annual Blue-White scrimmage. Photo by Chase Olivieri/The Chronicle
Check out The Chronicle’s photo slideshow from Friday’s open practice by following this link.
Freshman Elliot Williams soars for a dunk in Duke's open practice Friday. Photo by Chase Olivieri/The Chronicle