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Duke Struggles, then Runs Away from UVA

By January 15, 2011January 23rd, 2011No Comments

As a Duke fan you can look at this win against Virginia one of two ways – the first being, a win is a win, no matter  by how much or how little, or you can look at it as Duke was outplayed for 2 thirds of this game, and against stiffer competition Duke is in trouble. I’m not sure which is the right way to look at it. Against a heavier hitting team and away from Cameron perhaps Duke loses this game. MD provided the blueprint for beating the Devils, Florida State executed it for 40 minutes to get the win, and Virginia had Duke on the ropes but ran out of gas. Duke was once again beaten time and time again with driving, dishing and finishing by Virginia. Supremely simple plan but against Dukes help defense it worked. Virginia, a shorthanded team playing with a lot of youth and inexperience had Duke down by 9 points. Streaky shooting Mustapha Farrakhan went 3-3 from the three point line for 15 points, and also had 2 steals. Duke was also had problems guarding Joe Harris, Virginias freshman guard, who scored 15 points and seemed to be the most ready to play of the Cavaliers. If there was a turning point in this game it was the 4th foul on 7ft Center Assane Sene who in the first half gave Duke fits with his rebounding and finishing around the rim, Duke began to slowly come out of its shooting slump once Sene took a seat.

For those who are worried about Nolan Smith playing 40 minutes a game in Dukes 3 ACC games thus far this season can breathe a sigh of relief as Nolan only played 39 in this game. Aside from Nolan Smiths 29 points on 10-19 shooting, no one had stellar outings. Nolan also had 7 rebounds, and 6 assists, and kept Duke afloat in this game. After having a couple of bad games in a row Andre Dawkins seemed to catch fire in the second half hitting on 3 from beyond the arc and an old fashioned 3 point play off of a floater. Dawkins also provided some of the best defense he’s played all season according to Coach K.

Tyler Thornton also is starting to get more shine in ACC play while he didn’t fill up the stat sheet, Tyler plays stout defense and allows Nolan to switch to the 2 and have less on this shoulder, this seems to allow Nolan to relax and let instinct take over. Josh Hairston also logged 4 minutes in what looks like the coaches attempting to manufacture some depth going forward in ACC play.

Mason Plumlee continues to baffle me. You have to like his production on the boards, 16 rebounds is nothing to sneeze at. It’s a big number, although we would like to see more offensive production the effort was nice to see. His confidence has to grow a bit after that, although Mase did miss an open dunk, I think he was completely caught off guard at how open he was for it. The bigs don’t get very many open looks so I’m sure his eyes lit up like a Christmas tree. 5 points is an improvement over recent performances, so I’ll take it. The elder Plumlee Miles however only saw the floor for 4 minutes. It’s hard to say what’s going on with Miles but, I like his game, and want to see him do well. He has all of the tools, I hope he has the confidence still. Ryan Kelly also got a few extra touches in this game and most of them on post up opportunities. Duke obviously realizing the deficiency in the middle made a concerted effort to at very least get the ball into the hands of the big men. This serves a couple of purposes, it keeps the defense honest (sort of like running the ball when you’re a passing team in football) and also gives the team some looks at the basket that are much higher percentage. Look for Duke to do this more in games to come. The road gets rougher from here.

Virginia Cavaliers
Will Sherrill, F142-70-40-002000114
Assane Sene, C203-60-02-245011248
Mustapha Farrakhan, G324-73-34-5032201015
Jontel Evans, G342-80-02-403320336
K.T. Harrell, G261-60-00-302200222
Sammy Zeglinski, G182-60-24-513100018
Will Regan, F30-00-00-011000000
Joe Harris, G284-83-54-4240103415
Billy Baron, G20-10-10-000000000
Akil Mitchell, F221-60-10-012010132
Thomas Rogers, G10-00-00-000000000
Duke Blue Devils
Kyle Singler, F395-91-42-2342021313
Ryan Kelly, F184-70-00-003001028
Nolan Smith, G3910-191-68-9076305229
Andre Dawkins, G325-113-81-1022011214
Mason Plumlee, F282-50-01-3616002425
Miles Plumlee, F40-00-00-012000110
Seth Curry, G271-60-25-526210127
Tyler Thornton, G90-10-00-000100220
Josh Hairston, F40-00-00-000000000
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