January 01, 2016

Boston College coach Jim Christian is a little apprehensive about his team's chances to keep up with Duke in its ACC opener.

His concern appears to be well-founded.

Coming off back-to-back 100-point games, the 15th-ranked Blue Devils begin their conference slate when they visit the offensively challenged Eagles on Saturday.

Duke (11-2) looked like it would have a hard time overcoming a foot injury to Amile Jefferson as it fell to Utah 77-75 in overtime Dec. 19, but it regrouped over the holiday break and cruised to a couple of easy wins.

After shooting 51.3 percent and hitting 12 3-pointers in Monday's 105-66 victory over Elon, the Blue Devils made half their shots and knocked down 11 3s in Wednesday's 103-81 win over Long Beach State.

Leading scorer Grayson Allen had a career-high 33 points and went 15 of 17 from the foul line Wednesday while Matt Jones scored 21 and Derryck Thornton 18. The Blue Devils hit 28 of 32 foul shots and their 20.3 made free throws per game is among the highest marks in the country.

''We have good scorers, and if we're ready and play off one another, we have the ability to put points up,'' coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "The big thing is when you're attacking and you get fouled, then you score when the clock is off."

With six players averaging in double figures, Duke - which last reached triple digits in three consecutive games in December 1999 - is among the nation's leaders with 88.9 points per game.

Boston College (7-6) has reached 88 points once this season and is averaging 67.5 - one of the worst marks among the 86 major-conference teams.

''You cannot win in a league that we play in without scoring,'' Christian said.

The Eagles aren't projected to do much winning in the conference this year. A better fate is expected for the Blue Devils.

"We're proud of those things and we're 11-2. And now we're 0-0," Krzyzewski said. "It's not like football. You have to earn it now and be really good in your conference and earn the right to play in a tournament where only one team wins. There has to be a toughness that's developed and we have to continue to get there."

BC needs to get someone other than Eli Carter involved in the offense.

Carter had a season-high 28 points in Wednesday's 72-67 overtime victory over New Hampshire. The graduate transfer from Florida averages a team-high 17.2 points while freshman Jerome Robinson (12.2) is the only other player in double figures.

''I would like to get more production from everybody else,'' Christian said. ''I thought Eli made every play. They deferred to him on every play. That's not how we've been playing.''

The Eagles are riding a four-game winning streak but expect things to get tougher with league play starting.

BC has lost four straight conference openers and dropped nine in a row to Top 25 opponents since knocking off then-No. 1 Syracuse on Feb. 19, 2014 - its only victory over a ranked team in it last 21 tries.

The Eagles have also lost nine straight to the Blue Devils. Duke won 85-62 on Jan. 3 in last season's lone matchup and has outscored the Eagles by an average of 21.7 points in the past three meetings.

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