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Duke Tames the Tigers 73-66

By January 16, 2012No Comments

Once again the Devils began this game in a funk: shaky on offense, inept on defense, and seeming to forget the simplest of fundamentals.  3 minutes into the game, Coach K had seen enough and replaced all five starters.  Fortunately for Duke, it was a team where the consequences for such an action wouldn’t yield too much damage: Clemson is far from a scoring machine.  Clemson was able to build a 9 point lead before Duke, with the starters returning, was able to claw back and overtake Clemson before half-time.

Duke never relinquished the lead after the break mostly due to the hot hand of Andre Dawkins who, coming off of his best defensive efforts of the year, produced one of his best offensive performances.  Dawkins scored 24 points off of 7 of 12 shooting, and 5-9 from 3.  He also had 2 dunks off of fast breaks, which is definitely not his normal stat line.  For Duke fans, this raises an eyebrow, and hopefully is a portent of positive things going forward deeper into ACC play.  Another positive sign for Duke was the intensity on defense they showed for the second straight game, beginning in the second half.  Also in this game, Mason Plumlee went 4 for 4 from the line, scoring 12 points overall.  It was good to see a good confident stroke from Plumlee.  Brother Miles Plumlee pulled down 14 rebounds and gave the Devils good solid minutes along side Mason in this game.

For the second straight game, the scoring ability of Austin Rivers was neutralized, and the freshman went 2-7 scoring 4 points with only one attempt at the free throw line.  Quinn Cook was able to add 10 points in 19 minutes, and Seth Curry 9, but clearly this team is still searching for their leader on both ends of the floor. It was noted by the broadcasters that there is a lack of communication on the court, and at some point Duke will need more in terms of leadership from Miles Plumlee, Seth Curry and Ryan Kelly.

Even with the win, there are some troubling stats that must be noted.  Duke turned the ball over 17 times and only assisted on 9 baskets.  Also, Duke once again lost the rebounding battle.  These stats, as the ACC season goes on, will most likely create another perfect storm for the Devils.  Duke has been horribly inept at boxing out on rebounds and grabbing loose balls.  That, coupled with the amount of turnovers, is creating less possessions for Duke, more for the opponents and a lack of rhythm and continuity.  Duke will be working to get this corrected.