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Stuff We Watched: #8 Duke at BYU

I watched the second half of the Duke-BYU game that took place yesterday on tape delay.  Duke managed to pull out a 61-55 win over the Cougars on the road, but it almost looked like Brigham Young might pull off an upset.

The problem was that Brigham Young had no inside game - every time the Cougars drove to the basket they faced a wall of Duke post players and bounced off that wall the same way a rubber ball bounces off a brick wall.  Therefore, BYU tried to build the world's first basketball offense composed entirely of three point shooting.  A few timely hits made me think it was going to work for a while.

The problem is that BYU needed a lot more than just timely long-range shooting.  Guard Haley Steed of BYU had an insane triple-double of 12 points, 15 rebounds...and 10 turnovers.  Duke had 14 steals for the game, so it would have been interesting if there were a "steals from" category to know exactly how many of those turnovers were steals from Steed.  Despite leading by five points with 12 minutes left in the second half, it became harder and harder for the Cougars to work the ball anywhere on the court and Steed just coughed up a lot of those late in the game.

Defensively, BYU liked to press and it seems that the Blue Devils had some problems with it.  If Duke can't handle pressure from BYU what are they going to do when they play a team like Georgia Tech?

Then again, Duke didn't have Elizabeth Williams for much of the first half.  My understanding is that she pulled two quick fouls in the first half and rode the bench.  Some first versus second half stats:

Chelsey Gray and Elizabeth Williams

1st half:  2 points, 6 turnovers

2nd half:  21 points, 0 turnovers

Those were the key stats of the game, even more so than Steed's 10-turnover performance.  It wasn't that BYU was really all that great.  It was that Duke was asleep for the first half - and even then led by seven points at halftime.  But Duke better be ready to play more than 30 minutes of basketball if it hopes to contend in the ACC.

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