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Duke is famous for being a live-and-die-by-the-three-pointer team, and this year has been no different.
Duke has been able to swing a few games by making three-pointers; Andre Dawkins had three consecutive triples to put Pittsburgh away in Duke’s 80-65 victory on January 27. But Duke has also shot itself out of a few games, including going 5-of-22 as a team in its February 20 loss to UNC.
Unlike Duke teams of the past, this year’s squad has enough athletic players to not have to rely on long-range shots every game. Jabari Parker, Rodney Hood and Rasheed Sulaimon are all athletic enough to get in the lane and score easy buckets or draw fouls.
Duke’s victory over UNC last Saturday provided the blueprint for a game in which it did not light it up from the perimeter but still easily won.
Despite shooting just 8-of-23 from deep, Duke won the game by driving aggressively and getting to the free-throw line. The Devils shot 27-of-31 from the charity stripe, while UNC attempted only 19 free throws in the game. Rodney Hood and Jabari Parker were especially aggressive. The duo combined for 54 points, many of which came in the paint after beating their defenders off the dribble.
Duke has the ability to get hot from deep, but if it goes on a cold spell, it now know hows to continue scoring and give itself a chance to win.