Duke’s ACC season started with a pair of challenges against ranked opponents, and the Blue Devils were tripped up in their first conference road game.
Almost nothing has slowed the eighth-ranked Blue Devils down at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Duke will try to bounce back from its first ACC defeat and improve to 10-0 at home Wednesday night against Boston College, which has never won in the Blue Devils’ storied arena.
After opening their league slate with a 74-53 victory over then-No. 21 Clemson on Jan. 3, then traveling out of conference to beat Iowa State, the Blue Devils (13-2, 1-1) stumbled in Atlanta on Saturday, losing to 20th-ranked Georgia Tech 71-67.
Senior guard Jon Scheyer continued his outstanding season with 25 points, matching his average from the previous six games, but Duke had trouble finding offense from other sources and shot 43.3 percent from the field.
“Jon had a good game,” junior forward Kyle Singler said. “But we kind of rely on him too much. We have to do a better job of helping him out.”
That certainly applies to Singler, who was 2 of 13 from the field against Georgia Tech, totaling nine points. Singler is shooting a career-worst 41.0 percent, with his scoring (15.4 points per game) and rebounding (6.9) also down from his sophomore season.
“Obviously, we didn’t get the game we needed from Singler,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “I thought he had some really open looks that were there. But sometimes you don’t hit.”
The loss to the Yellow Jackets dropped Duke to 0-2 when playing in opponents’ arenas, but the Blue Devils have had no such problems in their own building. Their average margin of victory in their nine home games is 32.5 points.
Boston College has dropped all four of its visits to Durham, including two since joining the ACC. The Eagles have given Duke problems in other places lately, beating the Blue Devils 80-74 in Chestnut Hill on Feb. 15.
Duke needed 26 points, nine rebounds and six blocked shots from Singler to beat Boston College 66-65 in the ACC quarterfinals March 13.
The Eagles (10-6, 1-1) are also coming off a loss in their ACC road opener, 72-56 to Clemson on Saturday. Coach Al Skinner said his team’s confidence still needs some work after recent home losses to Harvard, Rhode Island and Maine.
“We are not were we need to be right now,” Skinner said. “We are a capable team, but we should be better than this at this time. There is no forgiveness in this league.”
Boston College only lost one player from last season’s team, but that was 2,000-point scorer Tyrese Rice. The Eagles have struggled offensively at times without him, shooting 37.1 percent from the field against Clemson after scoring a season-low 51 in the loss to Maine earlier this month.
“It is hard to give a reason why we missed so many easy shots,” Skinner said Saturday.
Junior Rakim Sanders was held to nine points in each of those two losses, shooting a combined 7 of 24 (29.2 percent). He and then-freshman Reggie Jackson were each 6 of 8 from the field in the win over Duke last season, combining for 29 points.
Joe Trapani, Boston College’s leader with 15.1 points per game, scored 20 in that game.