While Duke has the offensive firepower to compete with any team in the nation, its defense is more than capable of shutting down an opponent.
Coming off a dominant defensive effort in their ACC opener, the fifth-ranked Blue Devils look to win their seventh straight Wednesday night when they meet Iowa State at the United Center in Chicago.
Duke (12-1), which leads the ACC in scoring and is among the nation’s leaders with 85.9 points per game, is averaging 90.2 points during its winning streak. The Blue Devils are also holding teams to 58.5 points and 37.3 percent shooting during that run.
Three days after its 114-55 rout of Penn, Duke limited then-No. 21 Clemson to 12 first-half points and 16.7 percent shooting in the opening 20 minutes of Sunday’s 74-53 victory at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
“Our defense, that’s what we want to be known for this year,” said Blue Devils senior guard Jon Scheyer. “In the first half, we felt good just because you could see they weren’t in a good rhythm. … For the rest of the game, we didn’t really let them get back into it.”
Scheyer, a former star at Glenbrook North High School in the Chicago suburb of Northbrook, is second in the ACC with 18.8 points per game and among the nation’s leaders with 6.4 assists per contest. He’s averaging 22.3 points, 7.8 assists and 4.2 rebounds during the Blue Devils’ winning streak.
Junior guard Nolan Smith, third in the ACC with 18.4 points per game, leads the conference in 3-point field-goal percentage at 51.1. He has hit 13 of 19 from long distance in his last four games.
While the Cyclones will have to find a way to neutralize the ACC’s highest-scoring tandem in Scheyer and Smith, the Blue Devils could be tested against an Iowa State team that is in the midst of its best scoring surge in four seasons.
The Cyclones (10-3), who are eighth in the Big 12 with 78.2 points per game, are averaging 83.3 and shooting 52.4 percent during their four-game winning streak. Iowa State has scored 80 or more in four consecutive games for the first time since a five-game run from Jan. 17-Feb. 5, 2006.
Senior forward Marquis Gilstrap is averaging 17.8 points and 9.0 boards during the streak. He scored eight of his 17 points in the second overtime as Iowa State pulled out an 82-75 victory over Houston on Sunday.
“We know what Gilstrap is capable of and we saw that in the second overtime,” Cyclones coach Greg McDermott told the school’s official Web site.
Kyle Singler, Lance Thomas and the Blue Devils will also have to slow down junior forward Craig Brackins, who is averaging 18.0 points and 10.0 boards during Iowa State’s winning streak.
Duke, which is 19-3 versus the Big 12 under coach Mike Krzyzewski, is holding teams to 28.6 percent from 3-point range, but the Cyclones are among the nation’s best from beyond the arc, hitting 42.6 percent.
The Blue Devils look to improve to 7-0 at the United Center in their first meeting with Iowa State.
This is the Cyclones’ first game at the United Center.