Post-game notes from Duke-Kansas
Post-game notes from Duke’s 94-83 loss to Kansas late Tuesday night
Get defensive – The concern level was high in the Duke locker room over the Blue Devils’ defensive effort, particularly in the second half, against Kansas.
"We didn't play a bad game tonight, we played well,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said.
“We didn't play well on the defensive end in the second half and in big moments, we weren't able to get a stop.
The Jayhawks shot 60.7 percent over the final 20 minutes, scoring 54 points. Only one of those field goals came from behind the 3-point line, showing how the Jayhawks used their size advantage inside to beat the Blue Devils.
Kansas scored 30 points in the paint in the second half.
“I thought we got worn out (by) their size,” Krzyzewski said. “They are good. They are just really good.”
Kansas 6-8 sophomore Perry Ellis scored 24 points and grabbed nine rebounds. He played 35 minutes and committed just one turnover. That shows that he made good decisions but also that he wasn’t under heavy defensive pressure all of the time.
“We were up for spurts of the game when we could have just punched them,” Duke forward Rodney Hood said. “But then we either fouled them or we missed a defensive assignment. It’s something to learn from.”
Hood is confident the Blue Devils will master the assignments and learn to play better together. He said, first, he’s taking it upon himself to get better.
Duke entered this season aiming to impose their will defensively on teams. That didn’t happen against Kansas.
“Throughout the game we just never really made that statement that we aren’t going to let you guys score,” Duke guard Rasheed Sulaimon said. “We messed up defensive assignments. We’ve just got to stay hungrier on defense and I think that’s going to come with time.”
Free throw woes – Krzyzewski also stated the obvious that his Blue Devils must shoot better from the free throw line.
Duke made only 16 of 28 free throws and also missed three front ends of 1-and-bonus situations. Those 1-and-1 misses came during the final eight minutes of the first half and Krzyzewski said that cost the Blue Devils dearly.
“In a game like this that just gives the other team life,” Krzyzewski said. “I thought we played better than them in the first half. We should have been up a little bit more. Then they played better than us in the second half.”
Despite making only 6 of 13 free throws in the first 20 minutes, Duke led 42-40 at intermission.
Rotation notes – Krzyzewski attempted to thwart Kansas’ inside game in the first half by giving 7-0 redshirt sophomore Marshall Plumlee some playing time.
Plumlee played three minutes, but didn’t score or grab a rebound. He tallied one assist.
Alex Murphy also saw three minutes of playing time and senior Josh Hairston played only nine minutes in the game.
Freshman guard Matt Jones, who earned plenty of praise from Krzyzewski for his defensive play in preseason, played four minutes.
Jones and Hairston each missed two free throws in the final 1:15 of the first half when Duke had a chance to add to their lead prior to halftime.
Andre Dawkins saw no playing time.
Sulaimon came off the bench to play 28 minutes and score 17 points, with 14 points coming in the second half. For all the talk about Duke’s depth, Krzyzewski only used six players for 10 minutes or more.
Hood was on the court for 38 minutes and committed half of Duke’s 10 turnovers.
“I’ve got to be more assertive,” Hood said. “I can’t just let the game come to me. I have to take my opportunities and be more aggressive. It’s a learning period for me, too, being at the head of a team.”