Duke looked like they hadn’t played a game in 11 days, well at least for one half and that is all it took for the Blue Devils to regain their footing and knock out the Cornell Big Red.
Mason Plumlee and Seth Curry paced Duke with 18 and 20 points apiece as the Blue Devils won going away 88-47 to improve to 10-0 on the season. Plumlee chipped in nine rebounds and only played 26 minutes but he didn’t need to play that much as the Duke bench played solid minutes in the second half once the game was well in hand. Freshman Rasheed Sulaimon also continued his solid play scoring 16 point on 6 of 10 shooting.
It did take the Blue Devils much of the first half to get back into the flow of things but once they did there was very little that Cornell could do to stop Duke who successfully responded to their first game as the No. 1 team in the country
“I didn’t think we were ready defensively and they were good. I didn’t think we had the emotion that we needed to play defense,” Krzyzewski said. “The second half we were terrific. Our guys were playing so hard and so together it was just very difficult for them to score. It was a great second half.”
Duke may not have been ready defensively in the first half but they were solid in the second holding Cornell to just 22.6 percent shooting for the half and 36 percent for the game. The Blue Devils were active on the defensive end and forced the Big Red into 26 turnovers including 11 steals.
Offensively Curry showed little sign of any rust as she shot 7 of 10 from the floor. Quinn Cook continued his impressive play and had an eye popping 12 assists to only 1 turnover. Duke as a team had 23 assists on 34 made shots and shot 56 percent from the floor.
Cook’s play at point guard helped the Blue Devils settle down after the slow start and Tyler Thornton also came off the bench and played solid dishing out five assists and committing no turnovers.
“Quinn is really playing extremely well. Tyler is usually a workman like player. Its Nothing flashy. And they value the ball pretty well. We had a lot of assists tonight with few turnovers. Our guard play has been excellent since Kentucky.
One of the more exciting thing for Duke fans was their first opportunity to catch a glimpse of Marshall Plumlee who came back from a preseason foot injury. The youngest Plumlee played two minutes and looked good but unfortunately suffered a sprained foot that held him out for the rest of the game.
Krzyzewski said after the game that he wasn’t sure if the injury was to the same foot but that he was help out for precautionary reasons. He also said he doesn’t know what that means in terms of his availability for tomorrow night against Elon.
“He sprained his foot. Its too bad he would have had a lot of minutes tonight,” Krzyzewski said. “Probably he wouldn’t be available but I don’t know that.
In his absence freshman Amile Jefferson and Alex Murphy got extended minutes and made the most of it. Jefferson played 16 minutes and scored 8 points and grabbed 3 rebounds. Murphy chipped in 7 points and 3 rebounds of his own. Murphy at one point scored four straight point and showed yet again glimpses of what kind of player everyone is hoping to be.
By playing their second straight game in as many nights tomorrow you can probably expect more minutes out of Jefferson and Murphy. It will be Duke’s second chance to play as the No. 1 team something that Cook said hasn’t really set in for the team quite yet.
“We really don’t think about that before we play. It hasn’t really hit any of us that we are No. 1,” Cook said.
Tip off for tomorrow’s game is set for 7 p.m. It will be a big day for Duke Basketball even before the tip with the announcement of highly coveted class of 2013 recruit Jabari Parker who will make his announcement at 4 p.m. Stay tuned to the Duke Sports Blog for updates on his decision as well as Thursday night’s game.
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