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Duke gets back to work against Toledo

Durham, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - The Duke Blue Devils hit the floor for the first time in 11 days, as they play host to the Toledo Rockets in a non- conference matchup at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Monday evening.

 

Mike Krzyzewski's Blue Devils have won 38 straight games at home overall and own the nation's longest non-conference homecourt winning streak, now sitting at an astounding 114 games dating back to 2000. Duke comes into this contest with a perfect 10-0 record and was last in action on Dec. 18, a 66-56 victory over defending national champion UConn in East Rutherford, NJ. Duke is the only team in the nation that has won all its games by double figures.

 

Tod Kowalczyk's Rockets are facing a huge challenge in this one, but Toledo does enter the game with a bit of momentum, as the team has reeled off five straight victories, including an 83-79 shootout win over McNeese State last time out. With the current win streak, the Rockets have erased a terrible start to the season and enter this contest at 7-4.

 

Duke won the only previous meeting between these two schools, an 82-54 rout in Durham in 2004.

 

It was simply a case of efficient play last time out for the Rockets, who were able to get by McNeese State by shooting .462 from the floor, including .471 from behind the arc, while holding a 41-31 edge in rebounding and committing a mere five turnovers. Four Rockets finished the game with double digits, led by Justin Drummond's season-high 17 points. Julius Brown wasn't far behind with 15 points, followed by J.D. Weatherspoon and Nathan Boone, who finished with 12 and 10 points, respectively.

Strong offensive numbers have fueled Toledo's success this season as the team is netting 77.5 ppg on a healthy .472 shooting. Scoring depth is apparent, with four of the five starters averaging double figures. Brown, a 5-10 senior, has been electric from the perimeter this season. He is shooting .516 from the floor overall and an even better .525 from 3-point range (32-of-61) to pace the team with 15.9 ppg. He also finds time to be the team's top distributor, doling out just under five assists per contest. Drummond and Weatherspoon are next in the scoring column at 12.6 ppg each, while Jonathan Williams rounds out the potent quartet with 10.9 ppg.

Duke has the ability to win games at either end of the floor. The team has been one of the most explosive offensive squads in the country, ranking seventh nationally in scoring (85.4 ppg) and fourth in field-goal percentage (.523). However, the success carries to the defensive end as well, where opponents are netting a mere 60.2 ppg. Duke's +25.2 scoring margin ranks second in the nation. It all starts down low for Duke, as 7-foot freshman Jahlil Okafor has lived up to the hype. The youngster has dominated the competition for the most part this season, as he shoots an impressive .652 from the field and paces the team in both scoring (17.4 ppg) and rebounding (8.9 rpg). Veteran guard Quinn Cook is the team's top sniper and adds just under 14 points per outing (13.9). Freshmen Justise Winslow (12.0 ppg) and Tyus Jones (10.9 ppg, 5.3 apg) have made immediate impacts as well.

 

The defending champs hung around for most of the game against Duke and actually tied things up in the second half, before Duke earned some breathing room for its 10th win of the season. The Blue Devils won despite shooting a poor .375 from the floor, as all five starters managed to finish in double figures. Jones led the way with 21 points. Winslow and Okafor each had 12, while Amile Jefferson and Cook tacked on 11 and 10 points, respectively. Jefferson was able to post a double-double in the win, grabbing a game-high 13 rebounds.

 

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