Durham, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - Following an 11-day layoff, the Duke Blue Devils get back to work on Monday evening, as they play host to the Elon Phoenix in a non-conference matchup at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Mike Krzyzewski's Blue Devils are a flawless 8-0 on the season and have a couple of marquee victories under their belt already, topping Michigan State (81-71) back on Nov. 18 and most recently, dispatching top-five foe Wisconsin (80-70) in Madison on Dec. 3 as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Making things even more daunting for Elon is the fact that Duke has won an NCAA-best 113 straight games at home against non-conference opponents.
Matt Matheny's Phoenix are hovering just over the .500 mark at 5-4. The team has eclipsed the 100-point mark in two of its last three games, but had a three-game win streak snapped with a 78-73 road loss at Missouri last week. This game marks the second leg of a four-game road trip for Elon which will travel to UNC Greensboro and Kennesaw State before the Christmas holiday.
Duke holds a 16-5 edge in the all-time series with Elon and has won six straight meetings, including an 86-48 rout last year on New Year's Eve.
The Phoenix are shooting a modest .434 from the floor overall, but are averaging almost eight 3-pointers per game and 14 made free throws, resulting in a strong scoring average of 77.9 ppg. Luke Eddy has started just two of the nine games thus far, but has shot the ball extremely well (.545 overall, .500 from 3-point range) leading to a team-best 13.6 ppg. Tanner Samson is a close second in the scoring column at 13.3 ppg thanks mostly to his ability to knock down the 3-pointer. The 6-foot-4 Samson is shooting .442 from long range and is responsible for 34 of the team's 71 treys on the year. Elijah Bryant has come off the bench in every game, but is a key contributor with 11.4 ppg.
The Phoenix trailed by as many as 19 points to Missouri last time out, but came roaring back to within one point in the second half, before losing by five. Eddy was the driving force in the comeback bid and finished with a game- high 27 points, going 8-of-15 from the floor and 8-of-8 from the free-throw line. Kevin Blake added 14 points and Samson finished with 10 for Elon, which shot just .358 from the floor overall.
The Blue Devils don't find themselves playing from behind often, as they have been the squad putting opponents away with big runs. In the double-digit road win at Wisconsin last time out, Duke had four players finish in double figures, led by freshman point guard Tyus Jones' 22 points. Junior Rasheed Sulaimon added 14 points off the bench while freshman Jahlil Okafor and senior Quinn Cook finished things off with 13 points apiece.
Duke is getting it done at both ends of the court and as a result, boasts of the nation's second-best scoring margin at a hefty +28.6. The team has been highly efficient offensively, ranking third nationally in both scoring (89.1 ppg) and field-goal percentage (.539), while also living comfortably in terms of rebounding (+8.8) and turnover (+4.8) margins. Okafor came into the season as the nation's top recruit and has certainly lived up to his billing. The young 7-footer is shooting a scorching .646 from the floor and is averaging 17.1 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. Cook is next in line at 15.3 ppg and tops the team with 23 3-pointers to date. Freshmen Justise Winslow (12.0 ppg) and Jones (10.5 ppg, 5.8 apg) have made immediate impacts as well.