Duke came out and shot lights out from behind the three-point line to put Wake Forest out of contention early in the ACC opener for both teams and the Blue Devils won going away 80-62. It was, however, not a perfect performance.
The No. 1 ranked Blue Devils improved their record to 14-0 (1-0 ACC) behind a season-high 22 points from Ryan Kelly and 22 from Seth Curry. Duke shot 45 percent from behind the three point line though they struggled inside the arc early, scoring only 6 points in the first half. Duke also didn’t shoot well from the free throw line as a team, only going 11-22 (50 percent).
Mason Plumlee also struggled again early. Plumlee had only 2 points in the first half and only took three shots from the floor. Wake Forest, like Davidson, used a delayed double-team to force Plumlee into fade aways and kick outs. He adjusted in the second half and finished with another double- double; 13 points and 12 rebounds. He did only shoot 3 for 9 from the free throw line an area he has been much improved over his career averages.
Despite the margin of victory you have to wonder if Duke happens to shoot poorly and teams can limit their inside game at the same time then you have a recipe for beating them.
Kelly continued his dominance against the Demon Deacons despite fouling out. Wake has been a team that Kelly has routinely played very well against and the Blue Devils used a strong second half, something of a habit of late, to securely put Wake Forest away.
Quinn Cook didn’t shoot very well and in fact scored no points, but again he showed one of the reasons why Duke is much better overall offensively than they were last year. Cook had 14 assist and only 2 turnovers and was a clear leader on the floor for the Blue Devils.
The lopsided scored allowed the Blue Devils to get some play out of their bench players about midway through the second half but no one appeared to play lights out, even against a struggling Wake Forest team. However, the Blue Devils had a lead of more than 20 points that the reserves couldn’t hold on to and that lead and Mike Krzyzewski to go back to his regular lineup for most of the remainder of the game.
Marshall Plumlee did see his most extended time playing –minutes and scoring — points. Going forward you’d have to think the Blue Devils would benefit from the younger Plumlee being able to get some minutes and spell older brother Mason.
It is a victory but it was far from a perfect game for Duke who should have won the game by an even more impressive margin than they did. Again a slow start plus a lull in the second half allowed the Deacons to hang around and that is something that Duke has to do a better job with.