Pittsburgh's Jared Wilson-Frame (0) and Duke's Javin Delaurier (12) fight for a loose ball during the first half of Saturday's game. (AP Photo/Ben McKeown)
Mike Krzyzewski figures his freshman-laden Duke team is learning how to dance.
There’s the footwork needed to play man-to-man defense. There’s zone. And against Pittsburgh, there was pressure defense -- all in the effort to build a cohesive defensive presence after a woeful start in Atlantic Coast Conference play.
“The thing this team didn’t have (early) was a base of defense,” the Hall of Fame coach said after Saturday’s 81-54 win against the Panthers. “The foot movements and whatever where you could go out a little bit more or stay in. We’re in the process of developing that base.”
Duke had allowed its first three ACC opponents to shoot nearly 49 percent both from the field and behind the arc. The Blue Devils had been better since, first in a 35-point first-meeting win against overwhelmed Pitt followed by holding Wake Forest to 36-percent shooting and Miami to 37 percent.
On Saturday, Duke used what Krzyzewski described as a three-quarter-court zone press. As a result, the Blue Devils were active in passing lanes and even forced three 10-second backcourt violations.
“We’re trying to teach them how to dance defensively,” Krzyzewski said. “And then the music to the dance is talk. If you can get five guys talking, then maybe you can dance together and maybe you can win.
“It’s kind of, for me, easy to understand, but it’s not easy to get it done. So our guys are working at it.”
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