DURHAM — For the second time in four games, Duke overwhelmed last-place Pitt, winning 81-54 at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
The Blue Devils won by 35 at Pitt last week, bouncing back from a loss at NC State that dropped them to 1-2 in the ACC. That game kicked off a winning streak that reached four games with Saturday’s 27-point win.
“I thought we played well,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “And that’s it. Not much to elaborate on.”
Senior Grayson Allen saw his shooting touch return, bouncing back from a recent slump. The senior had shot just 4-of-22 from 3-point range in his last four games before hitting four treys in Saturday’s contest.
“The ball went in today,” Allen said. “That helps a lot. That’s the difference from two [points] to 16, or however many points I had, is the ball going in. Tre [Duval] was finding me on some bullet passes. He still had the confidence in me to shoot it, even though I haven’t been shooting it that well the past few games.
”Nothing changed from my approach or mindset or anything. I just wanted to keep shooting the ball because they’re going to keep finding me,” Allen continued. “I’ve had like nine of those in the last three games that just hit the front of the rim, go halfway in, and bounce out. When you’re about a half inch off like that, there’s nothing that you need to change. Just keep shooting it.”
Freshman Gary Trent Jr. also continued his red-hot shooting from outside. Trent hit 5-of-7 from 3-point range, giving him 17 threes in his last 23 shots, spanning three games.
“Early, when we’re going to the big men, they’re dominating inside and that can’t do anything but open it up for me on the wing,” Trent said. “So just having patience, staying with the game and always believing in yourself and being ready. You’ll be successful.”
The big men — freshmen Marvin Bagley III and Wendell Carter Jr. — led the Blue Devils in scoring and rebounding. Carter had 21 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. Bagley added 20 points and seven rebounds.
The Blue Devils also got a boost from Javin DeLaurier. The sophomore forward returned to the floor after missing the last three games to injury. DeLaurier had three rebounds and two blocks in 10 minutes. Center Marques Bolden, who has also been out with an injury, dressed for the game but didn’t play, missing his fourth game in a row.
“It was good to get Javin minutes,” Krzyzewski said. “It was the first time he has played in a few weeks.”
Duke also used the hapless Panthers as an opportunity to fine tune its press defense. While the Blue Devils have resorted to zone for much of this season, they pressed for much of Saturday’s game, getting eight steals and forcing 15 turnovers.
“We’ve been harping on that in practice,” Trent said. “Just play hard, play passing lanes, play hard defense. Doing that is keeping us active and continuing to have us talk, and we’ve been successful with it. We’ve just got to continue to lock up.”
Duke plays another familiar opponent next, traveling to Winston-Salem on Tuesday to play Wake Forest. Like Pitt, it will be the second time the Blue Devils have faced the Deacs in four games.