Mens Basketball: Duke vs Pittsburgh - D1SportsNet


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Mens basketball

Duke vs Pittsburgh

Duke tends to respond well after setbacks, but this isn't the situation the Blue Devils are embracing.

They're trying to show improvement on the defensive end when they take on host Pittsburgh on Wednesday night.

"We're playing just horrible defense," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "We understand that and we're working on that."

The seventh-ranked Blue Devils (13-2, 1-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) are coming off a 96-85 upset loss at North Carolina State. It marked the fifth time in seven games that they've allowed at least 80 points.

"When you're playing teams and you're consistently giving up 80 and 90 points, you want to try to limit that," Duke guard Grayson Allen said. "That comes to our defense. We've got to get stops."

It will be a real problem for Duke if Pittsburgh (8-8, 0-3) rolls up a big point total. The Panthers are the only ACC team without a conference victory and they haven't reached 70 points in their last five games.

"Our youth shows up in different ways in just about every game," Pittsburgh coach Kevin Stallings said. "It's challenging, but at the same time we have a great group of guys and a very resilient group of guys. ... We have to let them know -- and we do let them know -- that we're all in this together."

Duke has ACC scoring (22.5) and rebounding (11.5) leader Marvin Bagley III, a freshman forward who has produced 12 double-doubles.

Allen had a rough outing on offense against N.C. State, with his eight points his second-lowest mark of the season. He's a combined 8 of 29 from the field in Duke's two losses.

"He has to hunt his shot," Krzyzewski said. "When he plays well, we usually play well. That's what usually happens when you're one of the one or two major players on the team."

Part of Pittsburgh's offensive woes might relate to the absence of Ryan Luther, a senior forward who has missed the last six games with a stress fracture in his right foot. He's averaging 12.7 points and 10.8 rebounds per game.

Luther is expected to have another evaluation Wednesday.

"It's not feeling like his return is real close at this point," Stallings said.

Freshman guard Parker Stewart has picked up some of the slack, posting double-figure scoring totals in four straight games.

"The more that we can do to help Parker, the better," Stallings said. "He also is doing some things himself."

Pittsburgh has used 11 different starting lineups this season, the second most in the country.

Duke will be without backup center Marques Bolden for the second game in a row as he recovers from a minor knee sprain suffered last week in practice. Sixth man Javin DeLaurier might also be unavailable, Krzyzewski said, because of a recurring hamstring ailment.

The Panthers are 14-5 all time at Petersen Events Center against teams ranked in the Top 10.

Duke leads 9-7 in the series with Pittsburgh, including a 3-1 mark since the Panthers joined the ACC.

The Blue Devils have split two games at Petersen Events Center.