No. 2 Duke hosts Central Arkansas, searching for perfect lineup

Duke mixed up its lineup after just a couple of games and it could be a sign of more change to come.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski likes the possibilities and the flexibility, as he seeks a winning combination of depth and versatility in a lineup that won't have to place the burden of determining the team's success on one or two players.

So more of that could be expected Tuesday night when the second-ranked Blue Devils welcome Central Arkansas for a non-conference game at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Scroll to continue with content
Ad

"We're going to play a lot of guys and see what works," Krzyzewski said.

The Blue Devils (2-0) are set for the middle game of a three-game stretch at home, which could be a good time to experiment with their lineups.

In Friday night's 89-55 rout of Colorado State, the Blue Devils ended the first half with a big surge to break open a close game. The unit that was on the floor for that stretch was the group that started the second half. That included seniors Javin DeLaurier and Jack White, who began the game on the bench.

"I thought they did an outstanding job, so we just went with it," Krzyzewski said. "Hopefully, we're going to find different groups. That doesn't mean that's our starting unit (all the time). I want to get into guys playing hard and you might find something in practice or during a game because we can improve a lot."

Guard Alex O'Connell was strong off the bench in the opener against Kansas. He was a starter for the Colorado State game, playing almost 25 minutes (second-most on the team after point guard Tre Jones) and racking up 14 points.

"I'm a junior here and I've started several games before, so being a starter didn't faze me," O'Connell said. "I wasn't nervous. I was comfortable out there, especially playing in our gym. It was nothing new to me, just making sure I bring the energy like I usually do."

The Blue Devils will attempt to make Central Arkansas (1-2) uncomfortable. The past 148 visitors for non-conference games have departed with a loss.

Central Arkansas lost 89-78 on Saturday at Georgetown. It shapes up as a difficult early stretch for the Bears.

This will mark the third power-conference opponent in eight days for the Bears, who opened the season with a loss at Baylor.

"I hope our guys understand, it's about us getting better right now, and executing what we do, and not so much about everyone else," Central Arkansas coach Russ Pennell said. "If we do that, we'll keep growing as a group."

Starting point guard DeAndre Jones of Central Arkansas missed the second half of the Georgetown game with a leg injury.

If Jones, a junior, can't go Tuesday night, it will leave more responsibility for freshmen Lewis McDaniel and Collin Cooper.

Rebounding has been a trouble spot for Central Arkansas.

"That's an area we have to get better at," coach Russ Pennell said. "We can certainly improve on that."

Central Arkansas' pre-January schedule also will include Wichita State, Utah and Marquette. The lone victory came against Division III Hendrix.

This will be the first-ever meeting between the teams.

--Field Level Media

What to Read Next