Duke heads to Louisville on Saturday with a two-game losing streak, both in ACC road contests. Needless to say, the Blue Devils need a win.
“It’s very important,” freshman guard DJ Steward said. “Louisville has lost their last two. We’ve lost our last two. The more hungry team is going to win. We’ve got to be hungry. Coach k says it all the time. We’re not really taking it that serious, but this game we’ve got to be serious—strictly business, no goofing off.”
One key for Duke will be to defend Louisville guard Carlik Jones, who is averaging 17.9 ppg, 5.8 rebounds and 4.7 assists this season.
Steward will likely get that assignment at times during the game.
“Keeping him out of the lane,” Steward said of the priority in defending Jones. “He’s really good getting to the basket and creating for his teammates, and he’s going to pump fake once he gets to the lane so we’ve got to stay down. We can’t have another game like Pitt where we’re jumping in the air and fouling. We’ve just got to be very solid. … We’ve got to stay down and ball up.”
Steward and fellow freshman guard Jeremy Roach have been learning the ropes in the ACC. They’ve gotten help from senior point guard Jordan Goldwire.
“He’s helped us a lot,” Steward said. “He’s a really great defender. He just taught us the techniques on defense and he pushes us every day in practice. When he’s defending me, he pushes me and sometimes gets me to turn the ball over, but it makes me better and it makes Jeremy better. He’s our leader, we’re going to feed off of him on the perimeter and whatever he does, we’re just following after him.”