Jeter giving Blue Devils a late-season lift

Duke has gotten back to yet another Sweet 16 this spring for all the familiar reasons: well-rounded perimeter play, driven by efficient shooting, and suffocating defense.

Yet the Blue Devils couldn’t have advanced past a couple solid mid-major programs in UNCW and Yale — moving the Blue Devils on to face No. 1 seed Oregon in the West Region semifinals — without the solid post play of senior Marshall Plumlee, or his top backup, Chase Jeter.

It’s been a roller coaster freshman season for Jeter, the 6-10 freshman big man who arrived in Durham with high expectations after becoming a McDonald’s All-American during his prep days at Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas. Jeter has endured spells in which he didn’t have the full confidence of Mike Krzyzewski, and he languished on the Blue Devils bench this winter.

But as the season has worn on — and injuries and fatigue set in for Duke — the newcomer has become more and more vital to the team’s cause. Krzyzewski has been progressively giving Jeter more playing time, and the freshman has responded with some of his best games late in the season.