/College basketball rankings: With Coach K out, Wendell Moore shows up as Duke holds on to beat Boston College
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College basketball rankings: With Coach K out, Wendell Moore shows up as Duke holds on to beat Boston College

USATSI

Duke was ranked in the top 10 of the preseason Associated Press Top 25 poll for many reasons — partly because it’s Duke, partly because Mike Krzyzewski remains the coach, partly because a top-three recruiting class was enrolled, and partly because two of the top five scorers from last season’s team were returning. The logic was that if sophomores Matthew Hurt and Wendell Moore made a jump, the Blue Devils could compete for Coach K’s sixth national title.

Then the season started.

Things did not go as planned.

Though Moore played well in the opener against Coppin State, he missed 20 of the 21 shots he attempted in the subsequent four games, lost his starting job, and was arguably the most disappointing high-profile player in the country. He only played nine minutes in a win over Notre Dame, just seven minutes in a loss to Illinois. But, on Wednesday night, something clicked. Moore took 13 shots, made eight of them and finished with a career-high 25 points in Duke’s 83-82 victory over Boston College. He added four rebounds and three steals in 25 minutes.

“Just seeing that first one go through, I feel like it took everything that was on my shoulders off of me and gave me a chance to play free,” Moore explained after the Blue Devils improved to 4-2 overall and 2-0 in the ACC.

Whatever the cause, it was nice to see, if only because it can’t be easy to be a former five-star prospect struggling so publicly on the grand stage Duke provides. I wouldn’t wish that on anybody. Whether it’s a turning point in the season, or just a random one-off, who knows? But, either way, Moore was the main reason Duke got past Boston College despite the fact that Krzyzewski was not on the sideline because of contact-tracing connected to COVID-19.

Associate head coach Jon Scheyer coached in Krzyzewski’s absence.

Duke remains No. 19 in Thursday morning’s updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings. The Blue Devils’ next scheduled game is Saturday against Wake Forest.

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Thursday’s Top 25 And 1 rankings