From the start Duke would need to cut the head off the snake to stop this NC State team, the head of that snake would be Cat Barber. Duke would hold him scoreless in this game after Barber scored 34 in his previous outing against Pitt. From the opening 3 pointer from Justise Winslow Duke was off to the races against NC State.
Duke began the game on a 13-3 run and defensively Duke was much better, engaged quick to the ball. This was not the same Duke that NC State ran out of the gym in Raleigh. Duke put on a clinic but was assisted by NC State who had a hand in their own demise. State did not adjust to what Duke did on either end of the floor until it was too late. Offensively Duke was crisp and efficient the entire game. The Devils shot 57% for the game only turned the ball over 5 times. Duke controlled the paint against NC State with a 46 to 22 edge reversing what State did when they doubled up Duke earlier in the season handing Duke it’s first loss of the season.
Defensively, Duke looked better than it has all year. Duke held State to 35% from the field and 28% from beyond the arc. Duke seemed to use every defense imaginable but it began with the 3 quarter court press which NC State never seemed to solve. Duke also would with defenses going from a 2-3 zone, to 1-3-1 zone to man to man, to a match-up zone with the big guarding the paint and whichever defense they switched to, it seemed to be at the perfect time. It worked and worked well. Mark Gottfried implored his players to move the ball, create some space for shot opportunities but in the first half at least there was a lot of standing around. State did make adjustments in the second half but at that point the best they could do is play Duke nearly even – the damage had been done. The back-court that Duke could not handle in the first meeting was held in check Trevor Lacy and Anthony Barber did not make a shot. Ralston Turner was the one bright spot going 6 of 10 for 16 points.
“On the court, Justise Winslow said ‘You wasn’t prepared for this, were you?’ I was like ‘What are y’all doing?’ Just started laughing” -TL
— Lauren Brownlow (@lebrownlow) March 13, 2015
Duke, conversely was very balanced on offense. The Blue Devils had 6 double figure scorers led by senior Quinn Cook, who scored 15 points on 5 of 7 shooting. The big story offensively for Duke was bench scoring. Unlikely offensive heroes Marshall Plumlee and Grayson Allen combined for 23 points on 11 of 16 shooting, with Plumlee going 6 of 6 and doing his best Miles and or Mason Plumlee impersonation. After seeing some awkward near misses and misses by Plumlee on dunks this year, the big man finished strong this game lookin under control but still bringing his normal energy and hustle. Grayson Allen has seemed to blossom in recent weeks and this game was no different. The fearless freshman scored 11 points and had no fear in taking the big shot or driving to the hoop. Allen is playing his best basketball when Duke, after the recent dismissal for Rasheed Sulaimon, needs him the most. Tyus Jones had another monster assist game for Duke with 8 to only 1 turnover. Duke also got double figure outings from Justise Winslow and Jahlil Okafor scoring 11 and 10 respectively.
What bodes well for Duke as they advance in the tournament is that the only player playing over 28 minutes was freshman Tyus Jones. Duke was able to rest it’s starters and get big minutes from its bench players.
Duke will have another meeting against a tough Notre Dame next.