Any rust the Duke Blue Devils accumulated over the holiday break was quickly shaken off after the first few minutes against the overmatched Western Michigan Broncos. It took only a few possessions for the Devils to cement their dominance in this game scoring from every spot on the floor in every way imaginable.
Leading all scores was Seth Curry with 22 points, Curry seemed to shake off the lingering effects of a nagging injury and some sloppy play to pace the Devils Friday night. Playing more at the 2 guard spot, Curry flourished, hitting mid-range jumpers and 3 of 4 from distance. Austin Rivers complimentedÂ Curry’s 22 with 20 of his own, shooting 2-4 from 3, and driving to the basket aggressively and often, absorbing hard fouls and finishing some spectacular plays at the rim.
Miles Plumlee also put his stamp on this game with a stellar rebounding effort, grabbing 15, 10 of which were defensive. Miles also had a couple of nice offensive moves, finishing with a dunk after a steal and a nice drive to the basket, and an alley oop off of the hands of Quinn Cook.
The brightest spots offensively were the surprise points and assists coming from the freshmen. Michael Gbnijie hit a pair of threes while providing quality minutes for the Devils. Josh Hairston continues to develop offensively adding 13 points to the 110 point total, also Hairston was 7-9 from the free throw line. Possibly the brightest of the freshman performances was Quinn Cooks. Cook scored 16 points dished 8 assists without a turnover and even had a blocked shot in the game. Duke fans will delight if Cook can keep progressing at this rate against stiffer competition. As Cook develops along with Gbinije and Hairston, Duke will have more options and be able to be a much fresher and versatile team.
Notable in this game was the Devils shooting over 50% from 3 point range, while taking shots within the offense . Also notable was Duke shooting a season-high 80 percent from the line, this is partially because of Mason Plumlee playing only 16 minutes and taking only 2 foul shots of which he sank one of.
Penn on January first should provide a little more competition coming off a 5 point loss to Davidson. Penn also played tough at UCLA and Villanova although losing both games.