Coming off yet another marquee victory, the second-ranked Duke Blue Devils close out a brief two-game homestand on Saturday, when they welcome the Delaware Blue Hens to Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Mike Krzyzewski's Blue Devils have won all seven of their games to start this season, highlighted by wins over three top-five opponents. The team has faced three of the four participants in last year's Final Four, including a 73-68 win over fourth-ranked Ohio State on Wednesday, 73-68. The victory was also the team's 97th straight non-conference home win.
Monte' Ross' Blue Hens have struggled out of the gate, losing five of their first seven games. The two wins came against Penn (84-69) and Virginia (59-53), but Delaware has dropped four straight games, including a 63-60 road loss at Lafayette on Wednesday.
These teams have only played one other time, with Duke posting a 79-73 win in Durham in 1995.
The Blue Hens dug themselves in an early hole, as the Leopards used a 14-0 first-half run to open up a huge lead at the break (37-21). Delaware came roaring back in the second half, but fell by three points to Lafayette, on a missed 3-pointer at the buzzer. The loss spoiled a tremendous performance by Jamelle Hagins, who posted an eye-popping double-double with 18 points and a career-high 23 rebounds. Devon Saddler poured in 17 points, while Kyle Anderson added 11 in defeat.
Despite having three players averaging double figures in scoring, the Blue Hens are not a deep offensive team. Delaware comes in averaging a mere 66.6 ppg this season, with almost a third of that coming from Saddler. The guard has made more field goals (51) than everyone else on the roster besides two have even attempted. Saddler is averaging a robust 21.4 ppg and is also the team's top assist man (3.0 apg). Hagins (13.0 ppg, 13.4 rpg) has been the perfect complement with his play in the paint. Jarvis Threatt (10.4 ppg) rounds out the top threats, but he is listed as doubtful for this game with an abdominal strain.
The Blue Devils started slow against Ohio State this week, but overcame a 31-23 halftime deficit by scoring 50 second-half points, on .581 shooting to earn the victory. Mason Plumlee was dominant down low, finishing with 21 points and 17 rebounds. Freshman Rasheed Sulaimon poured in 17 points, while Ryan Kelly and Quinn Cook finished with 15 and 12 points, respectively.
Duke has benefited by strong play at both ends of the floor, averaging a solid 77.4 ppg, while holding foes to just 65.4. Plumlee has been unstoppable this season, converting 65.3 percent of his shots, while averaging team-highs of 19.9 points and 11.0 rebounds per game. Seth Curry (15.1 ppg) and Sulaimon (12.7 ppg) provide plenty of perimeter support, along with Kelly (12.3 ppg) and Cook (10.9 ppg).