Duke got all it could handle in the first half against Division 2 champs Bellarmine. Duke did not help their cause by going 2 for 14 from 3 point range, missing their first 11 shots, while giving way too many open looks to the Knights who knocked down 8 of 24 from beyond the arc. Duke also turned the ball over 19 times, most of those occurred in the first half where Bellarmine closed the gap at the half to 5 after being down 15 to the Devils.
Where Duke did excel was on the boards, outrebounding the Knights 43 to 24. Miles and Mason pulled down 17, 8 and 9 respectively while Seth Curry had 6. Duke also got 17 points from the charity stripe to Bellarmines’ 4.
Duke did get balanced scoring from Seth Curry (18), Mason Plumlee (16), Miles Plumlee (14), Austin Rivers (13) and Ryan Kelly (10). The name conspicuously off that list is Andre Dawkins who played 14 minutes going 1-5 from the field and 0-3 from 3.
Duke struggled in this game but one does have to realize that despite being a Division 2 team, Bellarmine is well coached, they run good sets and they know how to win. It’s obvious this team wasn’t just a name pulled out of a hat, this was a game the coaches knew would lead to teachable opportunities.Â Â Alex Murphy and Michael Gbinije did play like freshmen in the game but the minutes played now will pay off later in the season for sure. Austin Rivers was as patient as I have seen him, learning a lot from the China trip. Rivers was effective in letting the offense come to him, something a lot of pundits were worried about. Duke has a lot to improve on and this is the time to begin that process.