Duke got all it could handle from a talented and tough Kansas team.Â It took an off balanced 3 from Tyler Thorton with roughly 20 seconds on the clock to give the Devils the space they needed to win and an earlier one with just over a minute left gave the Devils room to operate.
Kansas was every bit Dukes match in this game and it would take the ball bouncing Dukes way and a good game from three point range to put Duke over the top. Kansas was aggressive on the offensive end with Thomas Robinson giving the Dukies fits in the middle with 16 points and 15 boards. Kansas also got 17 from guard Tyshawn Taylor but as many points as Taylor had his 11 turnovers gave Duke some life when it looked like Kansas might just get over the hump.
Dukes Mason Plumlee is fast becoming the go-to-guy in this offense. Mason shot 5-10 with 17 points, and even 7-9 from the foul line. Mason also had 12 rebounds. It was one thing when Plumlee put up numbers against Presbyterian or teams without legitimate inside talent but Kansas has elite level talent in the middle and Plumlee held is own and even flourished.
Ryan Kelly as also much more aggressive on offense looking for his shot and creating matchup problems with his versatile inside/outside game. Kelly along with Plumlee led Duke in scoring putting in 17.
Kansas was able to keep Dukes offense off kilter by bottling up Seth Curry,Â Curry was given no room to shoot or operate.Â Seth was only 2 out of 8 in the game for 9 points but he was completely shut down by Kansas.
Where Duke did excel was behind the arc, going 11 for 25 was the stat of the day with Kansas only hitting 2 out of 8. The 3 was the great equalizer considering Duke again lost the rebounding battle, shot and made less free throws.
So Duke heads back to Durham champions of the Maui Invitational but most importantly beat a ranked team, showed poise and patience. This tournament will serve the Devils well. Congratulations to Duke for a great run over the past week, tough stretch of games handled well by a young developing team.