The Blue Devils return home for a major rivalry game in the state. Before the tip, the Blue Zone looks at a player from either side who can make the difference on Saturday.
NC State: Dereon Seabron
NC State star center Manny Bates went down with a shoulder injury in the opening game against Bucknell. Since then, red shirt sophomore Dereon Seabron has answered the call to perform for the Wolfpack.
Seabron leads his team with 20.1 points, 9.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game. He doesn’t just lead his team with his impressive numbers – the sophomore in the red shirt ranks in the ACC’s top 10 in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals. He has earned nine double-doubles this season, more than any other guard in the country.
Proven to be a versatile offensive presence, the sophomore has served as the Wolfpack’s primary ball handler for several games this season, but he is best known for his ability to get right to the edge. With 107 free throw attempts this season, it’s clear that Seabron can cause problems for teams if he goes in strong, but his ability to drive and force defenders in can also leave consistent shooters like freshman Terquavion Smith wide open.
When the game gets close, it’s Seabron who makes or breaks the game for the Wolfpack. Over their last three games, he averaged 17.3 points and 44.8% in the second half alone. With his stamina and explosive playstyle, Duke can’t afford to tire during the game if they hope to limit Seabron’s effectiveness within.
Duke: Trevor Keels
Duke’s ability to walk out of Cameron with a win on Saturday will depend on whether they can stop Seabron. Seabron has dominated the game of the Wolfpack and is consistently trusted by his teammates for offensive success. The Blue Devils will have to take him out on the defensive as well as come up with a consistent offensive presence – and that starts with improvements from Trevor Keels.
The freshman guard set an unusually low field goal percentage of 18.2% and shot 16.7% from deep against Miami on Saturday, but recovered on Wednesday with an 11-point outing. With freshman star Paolo Banchero struggling to get big numbers out of the gate on a consistent basis – he scored just one goal in the first half against the Hurricanes – and sophomore center Mark Williams putting in just 8.8 points per game for Duke, Keels has needed to be a consistent shooter if the Blue Devils are to detonate offensively.
Duke fans have seen how meaningful the Clinton native, Md., can be in saving the Blue Devils when four players left the game against Kentucky due to cramps. His defense on the ball has stood out all season, which Duke will need against the Wolfpack’s wings, and he represents an outside threat that the Wolfpack has struggled to guard this season, despite his 30.7% clip on the season . If his shots are better than last week, Duke doesn’t need to stress much on national TV on Saturday.
Overtime, all Duke athletics
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Leah Boyd is a junior Pratt and editor of the 117th volume of The Chronicle.