NCAA Basketball

No. 7 Duke bids to stay perfect at home vs. Gardner-Webb

Adjustments are already apparent for No. 7 Duke just three games into the season.

Expect more noticeable tweaks when the Blue Devils take on visiting Gardner-Webb on Tuesday night at Durham, N.C.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski opted to turn to a smaller lineup for most of the final 30 minutes in Saturday night's 67-56 win against Campbell.

"It's not like our big guys weren't playing well, but we didn't have enough room to operate," Krzyzewski said. "We decided about 10 minutes in to forget it. ... We have to do something different. That's good in your third game of the season -- to play in this type of game is excellent for us."

Despite spotty moments that prevented Duke (3-0) from pulling away, Krzyzewski has found positives from his team.

"They're good listeners," he said. "They pay attention, and they take notes. They're a good group. They're learning to do that with every game."

The Blue Devils like how they've won in a variety of ways, starting with topping then-No. 10 Kentucky last week.

"Not every game is going to be the same, every game is going to present different challenges," Duke guard Jeremy Roach said.

Duke freshman Paolo Banchero has scored 18 points in both home games so far. He's averaging 19.3 points overall.

Krzyzewski appears willing to spread out some of the playing time. Senior guard Joey Baker logged a career-high 32 minutes off the bench in the Campbell game, while starting center Mark Williams has averaged 15 minutes per game.

Both of Duke's past two opponents have scored 56 points.

"Our defense is something we really hang our hats on," Duke's Wendell Moore Jr. said. "I think first, our defense starts everything. Our defense starts our offense. It gives us energy."

Gardner-Webb is shooting 41.6 percent from the field and committing 15.5 turnovers per game.

Gardner-Webb (0-2) will be facing a Top 25 opponent for the second game in a row after falling 86-69 on Saturday at No. 16 Arkansas.

In this clash with Duke, the Blue Devils won't be the only team with productive freshmen. Julien Soumaoro, a freshman guard for Gardner-Webb, notched 20 points Saturday with all five of his field goals coming from 3-point range.

"It's one of the positives you can take away from the game is when a guy like him builds some confidence for the future," Gardner-Webb coach Tim Craft said.

The Runnin' Bulldogs are beginning the season with three consecutive road games, though Tuesday's game will be an in-state matchup. They opened at UNLV.

"The message is we have to play better," Craft said. "We have to own our mistakes and learn from them when we watch the film. We'll need to keep our head up and put this one in the rearview mirror and get ready for the next one. We need to understand we just played a Top 25 basketball team that's going to win a lot of games this year."

This will be Duke's third home game in five nights.

--Field Level Media

Updated November 15, 2021

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