Duke Blue Devils vs. Charlotte 49ers Pick & Prediction DECEMBER 9th 2023

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A week off for No. 22 Duke to prepare for a visit from Charlotte on Saturday afternoon in Durham, N.C., might be just what the Blue Devils needed.

“This is a time for us, for our team — a week of practice,” Duke coach Jon Scheyer said. “We have to stick together. We’ve got to get together even closer. As a coaching staff, there are some things we have to look at and probably make some changes. But the biggest thing is really sticking together, being together on offense.”

It wasn’t expected to be so challenging so soon for Duke (5-3).

The Blue Devils lost consecutive road games last week to Arkansas and Georgia Tech, the latter representing the Blue Devils’ first setback in an Atlantic Coast Conference opener since 2017-18. Duke slipped 15 spots in the Top 25 poll.

Charlotte (5-3) has won two of its past three games.

“When you’re trying to come together, you get tested different ways,” 49ers coach Aaron Fearne said. “We’ve had that. Those tests, how do you respond to those?”

The 49ers are set to face a ranked opponent for the first time this season.

Duke senior guard Jeremy Roach said his team needs to take what it learns in practice into games.

“We’ve just got to do what we talked about in practice,” Roach said. “There’s no carryover.”

Blue Devils guard Tyrese Proctor left less than two minutes into the Georgia Tech game with an ankle injury.

“He is working every day to get back as soon as possible,” Scheyer said Wednesday. “He’s not there yet, but he’s working like crazy to be back with the team.”

Roach played all 40 minutes in Duke’s 72-68 defeat against the Yellow Jackets, while freshman guard Caleb Foster logged a season-high 36 minutes.

Regardless of the player combinations on the court, Duke is seeking a better vibe overall.

“There’s a competitive edge you have to have,” Scheyer said. “On the ball screens, we’re not in on the ball the way we need to be. It’s all about the attention to detail. It’s not at the level it should be — bottom line. And it’s what we have to get back to.”‘

Duke’s offense has been clunky too often, according to the coach.

“I haven’t liked the way we’ve shared the ball the last two games,” Scheyer said. “We had (12 assists in the Georgia Tech game), and we have a team, I believe, that should have close to 20 assists a game. It should come easier for us.”

Charlotte’s offense clicked in the form of producing 25 assists on Tuesday in an 85-62 rout of visiting Stetson. That marked the most assists in a game for the 49ers since February 2007.

Charlotte shot 54.2 percent on the way to a season-high point total. The 49ers got a boost from Robert Braswell IV, whose 20 minutes of court time exceeded his action from his previous three games combined. He put up 15 points on the night.

“It’s obvious I haven’t been playing much,” he said, “but I have no doubt that my teammates and coaches believe in me and it just felt great to be playing with confidence.”

The 49ers are set to play their first true road game of the season.

–Field Level Media

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