Brand New Duke Lineup Turns Georgetown Game
With 5:35 left in the first half, Duke trailed Georgetown 29-18 and couldn’t find any spark on offense. Duke had shot just 7-of-26 to that point and had trouble getting scoring from anyone other than Vernon Carey.
ESPN announcers asked over and over, "Who is going to score for Duke, other than Carey?"
So Mike Krzyzewski went to a lineup we’d never seen before. Over the next four minutes and six seconds, the lineup of Joey Baker, Vernon Carey, Tre Jones, Wendell Moore and Jack White were together for 3:14, with Javin DeLaurier giving Carey a rest for 52 seconds in the middle.
That group of five players made 5 of 6 shots, with four assists—half of Duke’s first-half total. They drew two fouls, got all five rebounds that were available over that time period and held Georgetown to 0-for-2 shooting.
When the dust cleared, the group split up, never to reassemble again during the second half. They’d outscored Georgetown 11-1. Every other combination of five Duke players was outscored 72-70 by the Hoyas.
Other than the group that won the game for Duke, Coach K played things close to the vest in the two games in New York City. He used 20 lineups against Cal, 17 against Georgetown. Seven of the combinations against Cal were brand new, but only three, including the 11-1 run gang, were new ones against the Hoyas.
The new starting lineup, of Tre Jones and the four freshmen—Vernon Carey, Wendell Moore, Cassius Stanley and Matthew Hurt—got the most playing time, clocking in at 10:36 against Cal and 8:16 against Georgetown.
Prior to this week, that lineup had only been together for a total of 2:30 and had been outscored 11-2, making it the least efficient of the 60 lineups Krzyzewski had tried (he’s now up to 70). The group did better with the extra time, outscoring Cal by 3 and Georgetown by 1. Still, it remains one of the team’s least efficient, but most used, lineups of the year.
“We're going to continue to try to find out about ourselves,” Mike Krzyzewski said afterward. And, presumably, when things look their bleakest for the Blue Devils, he still has a few more lineup combinations ready to unveil.