Once again Duke wins in MSG but once again it was a mistake riddled win. Duke had a change to really put away a scrappy, young Washington Huskies team. Twice the Devils pushed the lead to nearly 20 and the feisty Huskies were able to claw back into the game.
Clearly the story of the game was the free throw line most notably Mason Plumlee. Plumlee was 2 for 11 from the stripe. Saturdays game marked the first time this season a team has used the Hack-a-Mase strategy. Despite that Mason Plumlee had 12 points, with the points that Mason left on the floor he would have had a season high 21 points.
Once again Austin Rivers paced the Devils on offense scoring 18 points on 6 of 13 shooting before fouling out in the second half. Andre Dawkins coming off the bench for he second straight game scored 17 points and had 2 assists in the game. Ryan Kelly, although shooting cold in the beginning came away with 16 points in the game with 1 three pointer and 2 blocked shots.
The bad along with the free throws was the defense, at times Duke played good defense but the amount of lapses, open shots and free drives through the lane was not indicative of Duke defense. Luckily for Duke Washington missed more than their fair shares of easy shots only shooting 32.3%. A better start to this game for the Huskies and we are talking about a different outcome possibly.
Duke also had issues with turnovers, 14 turnovers is passable, but came at inopportune times. Sometimes just as bad as the turnovers are shots taken early and before the correct spacing and positioning could be achieved, leading to fast breaks and numbers advantages for Washington. Simply put Duke allowed Washington a way back into this game and they took advantage getting the score down to 6 from 19.
Clearly a lot for this team to learn and work on, as a fan it’s hard to be patient when the mistakes seem to be so correctable. This team is not yet a good defensive team but they are showing signs.
The good in my opinion was the play of Quinn Cook off the bench, by the time all is said and done it is going to be very difficult to keep him off of the court. He is as poised a guard as I have seen as a freshmen, he’s Dukes best ball-handler and if his decision making improves he just get into the starting line-up. I, for one, want to see more Cook.