Durham, NC – For the 14th straight season, the Duke Blue Devils and St. John's Red Storm will take time out of their conference slates to meet on the hardwood.
The eighth-ranked Blue Devils are 5-1 in ACC play this season. The team dropped a tough 76-73 decision to Florida State the last time they were on their home floor, ending a 45-game homecourt winning streak in the process. Duke was able to find its way back into the win column with this week's 74-61 victory at Maryland. Duke has won 93 straight non-conference games at home, with the last loss coming to St. John's in 2000.
Steve Lavin's Red Storm have had their ups and downs this season, resulting in a 9-11 overall record. The Big East has also posed its own challenges with St. John's sitting at 3-4. The team did however, end a four-game losing streak with an impressive 78-62 victory over a good West Virginia team at Madison Square Garden this week.
Duke holds a 14-6 series advantage with St. John's and is 5-1 all-time against the Red Storm at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
The Red Storm trotted out five freshman as their starting five, but it didn't prevent them from ending their losing streak with a 16-point romp over West Virginia. St. John's jumped out to a 36-20 halftime lead and held serve in the second half for the victory. Moe Harkless led the way with a double-double of 23 points and 13 rebounds. D'Angelo Harrison poured in 19 points, while Amir Garrett and Phil Greene tacked on 11 points each, while Greene doled out a game-high eight assists. The Red Storm have struggled putting up consistent numbers at the offensive end, despite the scoring duo of Harkless and Harrison. Harkless is having a monster first season with the Red Storm, leading the team in both scoring (16.0 ppg) and rebounding (8.6 rpg). Harrison is a close second in the scoring column with 15.5 ppg. Gods'gift Achiuwa (10.6 ppg, 6.5 rpg) gives the team a viable third option.
It was a night to honor former Maryland head coach Gary Williams, but the Blue Devils took the wind out of the Terrapins' sails with a thorough beating at the Comcast Center. Mason Plumlee led the charge in the paint, finishing with 23 points and 12 rebounds, Ryan Kelly pitched in with 14 points off the bench, while Austin Rivers checked in with 10 points in the win. A close game got away from Maryland in the second half, as Duke was able to convert 52 percent from the floor and 10-of-11 from the charity stripe. The Blue Devils have been a strong offensive team this season, averaging 80.2 ppg on a healthy .492 shooting, including an even .400 from behind the arc. Rivers has made an immediate impact as a freshman, averaging a team-high 14.2 ppg. Kelly and Seth Curry add to the perimeter assault with 12.5 and 12.4 ppg, respectively. Mason Plumlee (11.8 ppg, 9.4 rpg) provides the low post balance. Andre Dawkins has shuffled in and out of the starting lineup, rounding out the double-digit threats with 10.0 ppg.