Once again Mason Plumlee is a big reason why the Blue Devils were able to hang on to beat a staunch and upset-minded VCU squad. Plumlees 10 rebounds and 17 points were key ingredients for the Duke win, and his 7-8 from the free throw line were impressive as well. It was also important for Plumlee to stay out of foul trouble and he did that, only committing 3.
Also important for Duke was handling the pressure that VCU puts on via its press. Quinn Cook was great with the ball going for 9 assists and only turning the ball over 3 times. Duke utilized it’s Bigs to help break the press of VCU which worked well and relieved the pressure and allowed Duke to play at the pace it wanted.
Seth Curry once again had a good game for Duke and even though he miss all four of his 3 point attempts he went 9 for 10 on free throws and scored 15 points overall, Curry was integral along with Cook and Plumlee to breaking the VCU press. Ryan Kelly was his steady self giving Duke an extra ball-handler and also 11 points and 5 blocked shots.
VCU is definitely a team that will be there in the end and this was a great test, probably the toughest so far for Duke who did not fold under game pressure. This is definitely a game that Duke can build off of and use going forward. There were a lot of things Duke did well, and plenty that Duke did not well. Duke gave up way to many offensive rebounds to the smaller Rams and shot the 3 horribly, coming off of a 80% showing against Minnesota Duke [...]
If I had to sum up Duke’s play so far this season I would say steady. The benefits of senior leadership should never be under appreciated. Duke has 3 seniors and they carried Duke once again with heady plays and smart basketball. I worried about this game against MN, they seemed to be a team on a bit of a roll and a team that could possibly give Duke some fits athletically. I was wrong. Duke was able handle the Gophers despite early turnovers by the score of 89-71.
Duke gave Minnesota all it could handle in the form of Mason Plumlee. Plumlee wasn’t the leading scorer for Duke, that title went to Seth Curry with 25, but he did control the paint, grabbing 17 rebounds and putting up 20 points for the Devils. Mason could not be stopped on the low block, nor could be be stopped on the free throw line going 8 of 10 there. Seth Curry is as smooth and crafty as he wants to be. Hitting 3 for 3 from beyond the arc and just making play after play for Duke when they needed it, Seth was the man today. The only draw back to Curry playing so well and for 33 minutes in this game is that he may not be available for the next game. Pain will be the determining factor on whether Curry can play or not. If not Duke will be at a distinct disadvantage.Â Considering all but 2 points by Amile Jefferson were scored by the starters Duke will have to develop some depth going forward. Most fans are hoping to get more out of Amile Jefferson and redshirt freshman Alex MurphyÂ who play about [...]
Everyone was curious to see how Duke would respond on the court to a hard fought and emotional victory against Kentucky. One could call the game against Florida Gulf Coast a trap game. This team beat Miami by double figures and came into Cameron with confidence, and played that way for most of the first half. Duke began to pull away about 4 minutes left in the first half with a heavy dose of Mason Plumlee and Rasheed Sulaimon. It didn’t help the efforts of the Eagles that they turned the ball over 25 times to Dukes 18 (neither team took good care of the ball). Also in Duke favor was free throw shooting. It’s not often in their careers that Mason Plumlee shoots a better free throw percentage than Ryan Kelly so mark it on the calendar. Mason shot 10-11 from the line, yes folks 10 of 11. Kelly was 3 of 5. As a team Duke was 19 of 23 and the Eagles were 10 of 11. What eventually propelled the Devils was just having more ways and options to score the ball. With Mason scoring a career high 28, the floodgates opened for others. Rasheed Sulaimon shook off a shaky start to score 19 in the game, he also had 3 rebounds, 2 assists and a steal. Ryan Kelly was selectively aggressive hitting on 14 points on 5 of 10 shooting. Kelly also had 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.
A good sign for Duke faithful was seeing Alex Murphy get time in the second half. Murph got 6 minutes in the game and missed 2 shots but pulled [...]
In a much anticipated match-up, and one that had the fan bases of 2 storied basketball programs riled up, the Duke Blue Devils were able to hold off the surging Kentucky Wildcats 75-68 in a very entertaining game. It pitted two polar opposite schools of thought: Youth Vs Experience, 1 and Done vs. 4 year players. In the end the only thing that was clear was that both of these teams are good, but both have a long way to go. Kentucky may not have the perfect alignment of stars as they had last year but they do have talent, a lot of talent. Alex Poythress shook off a bad game against MD to give Duke fits with his size. Easily able to rebound and score over the much smaller Rasheed Sulaimon scoring 20 points and grabbing 8 rebounds, essentially it was a PF being matched up with a 2 guard but Sulaimon counted with some offense of his own with 10 points, 6 rebounds and a game high 5 assists. Key to Duke being able to maintain its lead were Sulaimons 3 makes from beyond the arc. The stories of the game for Duke were the play of its seniors. Mason Plumlee did his thing to the tune of 18 points, but was limited to 29 minutes due to foul trouble. He was able to match-up well against heralded freshman Nerlens Noel, who scored 16. While that is a great stat-line for the freshmen, much of that work was done with Plumlee trying to avoid contact. Seth Curry was able to shake and bake his way into the scoring column with 23 points. Curry did it in a multitude of ways. Scoring on [...]
Here is an article by Jeff Goodman of CBS Sports regarding Quinn Cook and what he means to this years iteration of the Duke Blue Devils. Cook is definitely a key cog to whatever success matriculates to Durham this year. With Cook at his best he can take some elements of Kyrie Irvings’ game a la drawing the defense toward him and freeing up the big men underneath or swinging the ball out to the wings. He can also break his man down and stick the mid-range jumper if that shot is available. The best thing other teams can do for Duke is to underestimate the “Cook Factor”.
The player who should benefit the most from having a traditional pass-first point guard is PF Mason Plumlee. Plumlee should thrive with Cook at the helm. With a year under his belt and a clear vision and understanding of what the coaches are looking for, Cook could be, along with Mason Plumlee, the most pivotal pieces.