It was the ugliest 28 point victory perhaps in the history of Duke basketball. How ugly was it? Duke’s halftime lead was 25-10 and their best player, Mason Plumlee scored only 8 points on the night. So naturally the Blue Devils fate fell on the shoulders of a player who shot 0-11 from the floor. Quinn Cook scored a career high 27 points and chipped in 5 assists to help No. 1 Duke pull away from Clemson in the second half to win going away 68-40.
After an off shooting night in Duke’s last game Cook shot 12-16 from the floor including 3-5 from behind the three point line to lead all scorers on the night. Ryan Kelly, was Duke’s second leading scorer with 12 points and he didn’t even play in the second half due to an injury to his leg or foot.
At the beginning of the game it hardly looked like either team would get to 50 points and 7 minutes into the game the score was only 4 to 5. The Blue Devils who shot 48 percent from the floor for the game couldn’t bye a shot in the early going. Fortunately for Duke neither could the Tigers who only saw Devin Booker score in double figures (12 points) for Clemson.
It was not quite the smooth performance many Duke fans were hoping for after several slow starts. Mason Plumlee struggled a bit again only scoring 8 points–a season low– though he did continue his solid job on the boards by pulling down 13 rebounds on the night. Seth Curry also became part of Duke’s 1,000-point club but only scored 8 points on the night.
Heading into the biggest conference test of the early season and the Blue Devils first true road game of the year it is a bit disconcerting to see Duke not clicking or having its best players playing their best basketball. And the uncertainty, at least for now surrounding Ryan Kelly, is definitely bad news if the injury is serious enough to have him miss games.
Mike Krzyzewski said after the game that Kelly will have an X-Ray and a CAT scan of the foot which he apparently sprained over Christmas break and is the same foot he hurt last year. All Duke fans know how out of sync the team was at the end of last year when he went down with injury.
Still the Blue Devils do move to 15-0 (2-0 ACC) heading into the highly anticipated show down with NC State on Saturday. It will be an interesting show down between the up and coming Wolf Pack who were preseason favorites in the ACC and are currently ranked No. 20 in the nation.
It is certainly a tough test for Duke who won’t be able to afford playing as sluggish at the beginning of that game especially on the road as they have been in the last several games at home.
We will have more on that game and update Kelly’s foot injury as soon as we know more.