Playmakers: Duke makes space for Dawkins

In this new weekly installment, I’ll attempt to dissect some of college basketball’s top plays from the past week.

Duke spreads the floor, finds Dawkins against Clemson

Andre Dawkins hit seven threes during Duke’s 91-73 victory against Wake Forest on Thursday night. His textbook form is a crucial component in his success rate (41.8 percent) from beyond the arc. But the way Duke creates space for the junior sharpshooter, proven in this sequence with just four minutes to play in the first half of its 73-66 victory at Clemson Sunday (first play on the video), is also significant.

The play begins with four Duke players standing above the arc. Even spacing. Seth Curry, on the right wing, passes to Miles Plumlee on his left. Plumlee dribbles as Dawkins sets the screen on Clemson’s Andre Young.

Tyler Thornton comes to the left wing. In their confusion (Is Plumlee going to the basket? Is Dawkins going to the corner? Is Thornton going to create something off the dribble?), three Clemson defenders turn toward Thornton and give Dawkins space. Bad idea.

Dawkins pops out to the corner and knocks down a three.

Taylor and Withey get crafty against Baylor

Yes, Tyshawn Taylor is averaging 4.1 turnovers per game. That’s an unsettling number. But he’s also one of the most explosive players in the country.

His 28 points in the Jayhawks’ 92-74 victory against Baylor on Monday night led all scorers.

And while it’s easy to scrutinize his ballhandling fumbles, this bucket off the backdoor cut in the second half of that win showcases Taylor’s talent in space (starts at 1:43 in the video).

Elijah Johnson brings the ball up as Jeff Withey sets the screen on Baylor’s A.J. Walton.

Walton gets around it as Taylor goes to the left wing. Walton cuts off the passing lane between Johnson and Taylor, but he turns away from Taylor.

Johnson goes to Withey … and this all happens so fast … who makes a sweet pass to Taylor on a backdoor cut.

Taylor drives hard to the lane, gets the bucket and draws the foul on Quincy Acy.

Davis gets more dangerous on offense

Anthony Davis set the school’s record for blocks in a season by swatting seven shots in Kentucky’s 86-63 victory against Arkansas on Tuesday. John Calipari hasn’t had a defensive stopper like Davis during his tenure with the Wildcats.

But Davis’ offensive development has been impressive, too. During this play against the Razorbacks, Davis shows off his offensive growth (starts at 0:43 mark in the video).

Marquis Teague feeds Davis near the left block.

Davis quickly spins right off Arkansas’ Devonta Abron, takes one dribble and finishes with a two-handed dunk.

The sequence seems so natural for Davis, who was an offensive enigma two months ago. His length makes him impossible to defend at the rim.