*For any new readers, this is where after big games I’ll write about the majority of plays & give my thoughts of them. I understand it’s longer and a lot more in-depth than your typical game analysis that you’re reading, but it helps for those that want to understand things better, as well as nerds like me who re-watch games and want to see how and why plays happened. That way if there’s something specific that made you do a double take live, hopefully I’ll have it covered in my post. I try to give the time of the game that each play started, so you can see it develop. So from now on remember not to delete your recording of the game. That way you can re-watch with my nerdy takes!*
20:00 Winslow shows good early confidence when, after getting blocked on his drive, he immediately drives again and draws a foul.
19:30 Okafor with a strong rebound in traffic. Brings the ball down and is held up. Needs to keep it high. He’s had a consistent problem bringing the ball down low. Can’t get away with that at this level or he will always be stripped/held up.
19:00 Justise gets the ball down low on the block, is doubled, and kicks it out to Amile at the free throw line. I wish Amile could hit this shot, as it’s open and could free up the lane, but he knows his limitations and swings it out to an open Tyus for the three pointer. Good hockey assist by Jefferson.
18:40 Okafor doesn’t call out a screen to Tyus, who gets caught up allows Boatright to go against Jah 1 on 1. Okafor backs up, which allows enough space for the elbow jumper at the left side. This is the exact type of shot I’d love to see Duke improve on offense. He drains it.
18:30 Duke quickly gets the ball down to Jah deep in the post before UCONN can double him. He’s had a habit of fending off/pushing off his defender with his left forearm and has gotten away from it recently, but I’ve commented that he has to start avoiding that. With Karl Hess as the ref, no chance, and it’s a quick offensive foul on Okafor. Not much contact, but he still has to be smarter.
18:20 Hamilton with a mid-range jumper from the same spot as Boatright the prior possession. Winslow is playing off of him, like it’s Duke gameplan to give UCONN room to shoot jumpers. He makes it, but the strategy will prove successful as the game moves along.
18:15 Duke again passes ahead of the pressure before UCONN can set their defense, and Amile draws the foul.
18:05 Purvis shoots pretty much the same shot as Boatright and Hamilton, but bricks it. Again, Duke seems to be willing to live with these outside shots that UCONN is taking.
17:55 Jah is immediately double teamed and finds Cook, who swing passes it over to Tyus for another three pointer, and 1. Duke is doing a great job with passes that leads to a pass that leads to a basket. (hockey assist).
17:40 Cook with an unnecessary foul guarding his man 5 feet behind the 3 pt line. This is Karl Hess, and you have to know he’ll call those.
17:30 Winslow with good 1 on 1 isolation defense to force Hamilton to fade on his shot. Shows more aggressiveness with a good turnaround on offense, but it rims out. I want to start watching his body language at this point.
16:45 Amile with a great job blocking Boatright with his long, gumby arms.
16:40 Tyus pushes the ball in transition and gives Jah a perfect pass to his outside shoulder to score against his defender before the defense can get set. That’s 3 times Duke has gotten the ball down the court before the defense can set.
16:25 Cook brings the ball up to set a play at the top of the key designed to get Winslow the ball. It works, but Winslow settles for a jumper just in front of the 3 pt line. I would have liked to have seen him attack there.
16:10 With Plumlee now in, Hamilton slashes to the center right in front of the basket, but misses a very make-able floater in the paint. Duke gets lucky. UCONN gets the rebound, and Hamilton now misses an open 3. Duke gets lucky. UCONN AGAIN gets the rebound and Facy scores in front of the basket. Marshall is too far out the entire time. This is why it’s tough to trust him.
15:20 Boatright dribbles into Duke’s paint, and when Plumlee ventures out too far, he passes it to Facy for the bucket. Again, the Marshall factor.
15:05 Great play call for Winslow to hand off to Tyus while screening Tyus’s man. This is the only time in the game that I saw a Duke play shoot a floater/runner and not let momentum fall into the defender. Great body control by Tyus. 8 early points for him in another big game.
14:40 Samuel gets into the lane and Plumlee fouls him. Plumlee is a liability at this point, proving this on 3 straight possessions.
14:21 Sheed missed a 3 pointer on his first touch that I was fine with, but now his mind is ahead of his body and he takes steps before dribbling.
14:20 Samuel is now called for a travel, but I’m not sure I agree with this call.
14:13 Jah gets the ball 1 on 1 against Brimah and spins towards the center into a waiting double team, but Jah sees this and makes the quick decision (I noticed him starting to think the game faster against Elon) of a perfect pass to Matt Jones for a wide open corner 3. Gotta make the shot.
14:05 Amile, against 2 defenders, affects play enough to get Duke the ball back.
14:00 UCONN forces Jah out wide, and the refs call Brimah for a tiny bump. Okafor sells it, though, and Brimah gets his 2nd foul. Refs are calling this game uber-close.
14:45 Amile has another open jumper at the free throw line, but sees Cook’s man go under a screen and quickly gets it to Quinn, who buries a 3. That’s bball i.q. by Amile.
13:28 Sheed loses his balance on defense and slips. Nothing bad happens, but his balance is always a concern when he’s not playing well.
13:00 On the next offensive possession, Sheed dribbles in and jump stops next to the basket. As he comes to a stop, he slips again and is off balance during his shot, causing him to miss.
12:56 Okafor gets the offensive rebound on the Sheed miss and is right next to the basket for an easy putback slam. Instead, he tries to finesse the ball in and is blocked. I want to see an angry Jah dunk on that.
12:50 Purvis slashes to the center and into the paint again on Matt Jones. UCONN is getting to great positions on the court for opportunities consistently.
12:18 Purvis lowers his shoulder into Sheed on a drive where this kind of play is typically called an offensive foul, but gets away with it and scores.
12:10 Sheed is lazy bringing the ball up, and loses it out of bounds. No matter if you agree with the call or not, he HAS to be more careful.
11:53 Okafor does an absolutely unbelievable job on defense against Nolan to avoid fouling. Not quite sure how he did this. Terrific defense.
11:30 Okafor fades away from contact and isn’t bailed out by the refs this time.
11:24 Amile gets the rebound and lowers his shoulder into his defender trying to pass out to Quinn. Seems like a normal basketball play, but is called for the foul. Very, very tightly called game.
11:06 Purvis tries to slash to the center against Winslow, but Winslow is a better defender than he’s been facing, and Justise forces Purvis into a travel. Purvis acts like a baby about it.
10:45 Justise drives in and lowers shoulder into Nolan. Nolan was ready, and this was a bad decision by Winslow. Offensive foul.
10:35 Hamilton drives into center of the Duke defense again, but Duke is ready at this point with quick hands, poking at the ball and forcing a turnover.
10:18 Duke gets the ball inside to Okafor. I can’t remember the last time that he didn’t get a touch or they at least tried to get him a touch as option #1. He is doubled and the ball quickly moves to Tyus, who snaps a pass to Amile, who has found the soft spot of the defense and is able to hit an easy hook right next to the basket. Great ball movement, and another hockey assist.
9:52 Great defense by Jah and Matt Jones on this defensive possession. Everything for UCONN is based on isolation. No ball movement for them.
9:30 Jah tries a spin move in the center, but this isn’t the right place to make that move. He’s stripped by Boatright, who takes it in transition for a layup.
9:10 Jah is doubled again, but finds Matt Jones, who after a quick dribble, finds Amile next to the basket. Amile blows the shot, but shows his ability to get off the ground quickly and immediately puts it back in.
8:40 I’m not even sure that Tyus was lazy with the ball. Jay Bilas is correct in saying that Boatright can be an elite defender when he chooses to be.
8:20 Duke puts guys in constant motion, which eventually frees up the lane enough for Amile to find Okafor with deep position, and he draws the foul.
7:52 Sheed loses his man for an open 3, but UCONN misses. Duke gets lucky.
7:45 Cook with a transition 3 that he misses. Would have been huge.
7:20 What is Tyus supposed to do against Boatright here? Too good. I guarantee Kyrie was impressed by the killer crossover, and maybe even Tim Hardaway.
6:50 Jah has position, and Sheed doesn’t even look at him. Weird.
6:45 Okafor lowers shoulder into the defender and knocks him over moving into him, but no call. He dishes off to Amile, who is hacked, but no call. Um…
6:27 Best defensive possession of the game so far for Duke. They stick to UCONN players like glue, and force the Hamilton air ball as shot clock expires.
5:45 Sheed gets ball knocked out of his hands on offense. Duke gets the ball back, but still careless.
5:35 Sheed drives in and throws up an awful shot against 2 players that air balls and leads to UCONN in transition for an open 3 that luckily, Purvis misses.
5:21 Dumb foul on UCONN after the Purvis miss.
5:21 Amile hitting both free throws on a 1 and 1 is underrated but huge.
5:15 Sheed makes a great steal, leading Duke down the court and perfectly passing to Plumlee for what should have been a thunderous dunk. Instead, Plumlee fumbles it, leading UCONN back down in transition for a Purvis layup. This was Sheed’s chance to get his confidence picked up with a great play. Instead, Marshall can’t slow himself down enough to catch a simple pass.
4:45 Quinn Cook drives into the lane and has no idea what he’s doing. Pretty much hands it out of bounds.
4:28 Sheed provides his one good play for Duke earlier, and now Plumlee does the same, blocking a shot on defense that leads to UCONN stupidly fouling Winslow after the block, again 90 feet away.
4:25 Grayson gets playing time.
4:15 Plumlee AGAIN is too far out and gives up a shot directly next to the hoop.
3:55 Grayson starts to drive, but then takes it back out. Not confident.
3:45 Winslow with the play that defines his struggles right now. Drives, stops and pops for an elbow jumper on the right side. As he reaches the peak of his jump, he tries to pass to Plumlee at the free throw line, who is cutting to the basketball to get in position for a rebound. This is a play that a middle school player cannot make, much less a guy at Duke. Winslow has lost total confidence in his jumper. UCONN gets a layup in transition after this.
3:25 On the next possession, Winslow again passes to Plumlee in bad position, and the ball is almost lost. Tyus bails Duke out by carving into the defense and drawing a foul.
3:00 Purvis called for a travel. I disagree, but tough to tell.
2:47 Winslow has the ball at the top of the key, and I’d love to see him try and make a play. Instead, his passiveness takes over and he hands it off to Tyus. After an eventual Cook miss on an open 3, Okafor shows great hands by taking the offensive rebound out of the hands of the UCONN defender up high without fouling.
2:20 Purvis destroys Grayson on the drive into the lane, allowing a floater.
2:05 UCONN comes to double Jah, and Hamilton is late over to find Amile underneath the basket. At this point, Jah’s passing is beyond impressive.
1:30 If Hamilton is gonna make that, you just have to say too good and move on.
1:10 I like the Tyus dribble drive, but fades from contact on the shot release, and Duke is not ready for UCONN to leak out in transition.
1:00 Tyus catches back up from behind and pokes the ball out from Hamilton, and it’s picked up by Amile, who is rammed into. Where’s the call?
0:55 Cook with a drive that may be beyond his ability. Slow down.
0:25 Duke’s just letting Purvis have the three point shot. He’s obliging and bricking all of them.
0:05 Tyus sometimes gets flustered when a team’s defense changes and he’s not expecting it. UCONN switches to a 2-3 zone, and he throws the ball 5 feet over Amile’s head.
With Brimah out, it seemed like 99% of Duke possessions ran through Okafor. It’s not rocket science.
20:00 Amile can’t resist out of halftime and tries an open free throw line jumper. The result is predictable, but I don’t mind him testing it out every once in a while. Winslow is lucky he’s not called for over the back on the rebound try.
19:30 Hamilton destroys Winslow on the drive, getting into the paint and getting UCONN an easy bucket.
19:19 COACH K EXPLAINS TO HIS PLAYERS WHY THEY ARE ALL WONDERFUL PEOPLE AND HE LOVES EACH ONE OF THEM. THEY SHARE A GROUP HUG AND SING KUMBAYAH.
19:15 If Winslow could stop and pop for a mid-range, that would have been the perfect time. Instead, he takes the ball back out, shoots a bad 3 later in the possession, and commits his 3rd foul. This is bad.
18:35 Hamilton AGAIN takes Winslow off the dribble into the lane, hitting a short jumper.
18:25 Cook tries to do too much, forcing the action and turning the ball over trying to drop off a bounce pass to Jah. Boatright takes the ball the other way and is fouled by Amile. The momentum is fully with UCONN.
18:15 There is where Winslow starts to get his confidence. He flies in to grab a rebound off a missed Boatright free throw that could have been bad news, then gets a putback down low on Duke’s next possession. He runs down the court with better body language.
17:00 Winslow survives some sloppy play and dishes the ball out to Tyus who has momentum going towards the basket. Tyus then shows craftiness finishing at the rim with a tough shot high off the glass.
16:35 Hamilton showing more great individual moves, creating for Facy, who blows it. Duke getting lucky.
16:30 Winslow gets the rebound and takes the ball full court, slashing in for the score. His confidence is back, and he has a killer instinct look to him as UCONN is forced to call time out.
16:00 Winslow sticks to Boatright on defense and forces a missed shot, which is not easy at all.
15:35 Brimah with his 3rd foul. He’s had no impact on the game so far.
15:33 Tyus airballs the 3, but Amile gets the rebound and puts it back up. He misses, but Jah gets the next rebound and scores. You can basically call it an assist by Amile. Jah again showing quickness off his feet.
14:55 Hamilton keeps getting into the lane at will. Facy blows his pass on one possession, then finishes it off on the next. Hamilton’s gonna be a special player.
14:35 Justise loses control of the ball at the rim and misses a layup, but doesn’t hang his head, playing great defense and tapping a loose ball to Tyus, who passes it ahead to Cook for the transition layup. It’s been a while since Duke’s gotten transition points, and I give credit to Winslow for this.
13:45 Samuel misses another makeable UCONN mid-range shot. They are getting frustrated, as they’re getting the shots they want, but just aren’t going down.
13:40 With Brimah out of the game, Duke immediately finds Jah on the left block, who spins past Nolan for the dunk. Great quick, decisive move by Jah.
13:20 Tyus gets a steal and takes the ball down in transition. Samuel fouls him, but it’s not even close to the flagrant 1 that the refs call. Still, Duke has total momentum.
13:05 Duke tries to take advantage of Winslow’s newfound aggressiveness, running a play for him in the post. Smart.
12:55 Okafor passes out to Cook for a wide open 3 that Cook misses (come on, Quinn) but Amile gets another key rebound with his long gumby arms, drawing a foul.
UCONN blows more easy shots. Duke getting incredibly lucky.
11:40 Quinn misses another 3. He has the ability to put this game away for Duke, but he’s ice cold.
11:10 UCONN switches to a 2-3 zone, and Tyus tries to break it with a floater. Like last time UCONN switched into a zone, they leak out when Tyus takes it inside and Sheed doesn’t hold his position at the top. UCONN gets an easy Purvis bucket in transition. This one’s on Sheed.
10:30 Quinn is the ultimate zone breaker, and finally hits a 3.
10:10 Purvis misses another foul line jumper. He can’t throw it into the ocean.
10:00 Boatright turns a quick Sheed 3 into transition, drawing a foul. Duke guards have to watch helping out so much to offensive rebound, and need to fall back on long 3’s to prepare for transition.
9:25 Jah makes a move into Brimah. He typically fades away, but this time goes straight up on the jumper, drawing Brimah’s 4th foul.
8:55 Sheed tries to play up on Hamilton, but commits a silly foul.
8:50 Boatright hits a 3 when a Duke defender goes under a screen. If he hits 3’s, not much you can do to stop him.
8:25 Tyus drives into the UCONN defense, fends off Facy’s blocking arm with his left hand, and finishes at the rim for a 3 pt play. A very veteran, smart, under the radar move to slyly fend off the blocking hand. The kid is 18 years old.
8:10 Hamilton takes Winslow off the dribble into the lane for a runner. I’ll say it again. Hamilton’s gonna be a special player.
7:10 Rodney Purvis caught in no man’s land and throws it right to Cook. Purvis, to put it simply, has stunk in this game.
6:55 Winslow draws another foul down low. I love seeing him there.
6:40 Amile and Quinn are caught up in a screen for Boatright, and Amile goes to the wrong side. Boatright hits a 3, and Quinn starts whining. Don’t do that, Quinn. Gotta be a leader.
6:10 Jah throws a high pass to Cook in the corner. Quinn catches it, but step out and bitches to the ref. Quinn’s a mess right now.
5:40 Hamilton misses a makeable 3. If that shot goes down, the game could’ve turned on a dime.
5:20 Okafor lowers his shoulder on the defender, and the foul is called on the defense. The refs have called this both ways in the game. Impossible to understand their reasoning for calls if there isn’t consistency.
5:00 Amile gets off his feet quickly to block a Boatright layup at the rim, but Tyus gets it stolen. Goes from a highlight to a lowlight very quickly.
4:45 Tyus, while bringing the ball up, is breathed on by Samuel. I don’t know in what bball world this should ever be called a foul.
3:58 Jah finds Winslow out of a double team. Justise misses the shot, but instead of hanging his head and feeling sorry for himself like he has the last couple games, he hustles back down and get the big highlight block. I’m more impressed by his ability to keep his head up and stay in the play. I can’t lie, though…his scream at the rim while he blocked the shot was entertaining.
3:20 Tyus slices and dices the defense and kicks to Winslow for the 3. I don’t mind Justise shooting this now, because he’s regained his offensive confidence from hitting inside shots and affecting the game in other ways.
3:00 Now Justise steals a pass on defense. He’s affecting the game in every way possible.
2:35 Tyus isn’t missing free throws, and the rest of Duke has shot free throws very well also. (besides Jah)
Timeout: Calhoun is very kind words for Coach K, lavishing praise. Very respectful after all their battles.
2:22 Hamilton with another drive in for a bucket. He didn’t look this impressive when I watched live. Not sure how I missed his ability. He just needs to get range on his shot, and then will be unguardable.
2:08 Sheed steps over the end line while trying to throw the ball in. Not…Sheed’s…Day.
1:55 Boatright throws the ball up 50 feet in the air and it somehow goes in for 3. Reminded me of Scotty Thurman’s rainbow shot. (Still gives me nightmares)
1:30 Tyus drives in and dishes off to Okafor, who seems, imo, to travel. Bilas says he kept his pivot foot, but I see something different. 5th foul on Brimah. Not his best game.
1:24 after Hamilton annoyingly claps in Okafor’s face during the free throws, Justise puts his seal on the game by tipping in an Okafor missed free throw. I couldn’t be more impressed by Justise in the 2nd half.
1:10 Purvis turns the ball over, because that’s what Purvis seems to do.
1:03 Sheed loses the ball out of bounds while trying to bring the ball up. Not…Sheed’s…Day.
0:36 UCONN turns the ball over, and Duke wraps up the win.