It was 29-29 after an ugly first half, but No. 1 Duke held Davidson scoreless for the first 6:07 of the second period as the top-ranked Blue Devils moved to 13-0 on the season with a 67-50 win at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte.
Here’s your postgame breakdown:
Revisiting the three keys to the game:
- Don’t overlook the Wildcats—It’s tough to say whether Duke overlooked the Wildcats, but there’s no doubt the Wildcats gave them a scare. With the game going into the half tied at 29, I’d imagine the Blue Devil locker room was not a pleasant one at the half. Coach K had just “lectured” the score keepers on an error they had made, and given Duke’s woes on the boards, he probably was not happy. But the Wildcats showed why they were the SoCon champs last year and they are surely better than their 7-6 record indicates.
- Get ready for a shootout—The 3-point shooting in this game did not live up to expectations in the first half. The Wildcats made just 2-of-10 from deep early and finished just 4-of-19 (21.1%), well below their season clip of 39.4%. Duke actually finished 5-of-11 from deep, for 45.5%, but they too were cold in the first half.
- Can Curry and Plumlee be contained? Yes, and they were. It was not a pretty game for Curry, who was coming off ACC Player of the Week honors and a career-high 31 points. He finished with just six points on 3-of-11 shooting. Plumlee finished with a season-low 10 points, also grabbing seven rebounds. He blocked three shots but turned it over six times.
Three key plays of the game:
- 0.3 seconds, first half: In the grand scheme of things, this play wasn’t particularly important, but it was certainly notable. Duke had the ball under the hoop with under a second left in the half—not enough for a shot, but enough for a tip-in. A lob was thrown to Plumlee, but the buzzer went off before Plumlee ever touched the ball. By rule, the clock should only begin after somebody on the court touches the ball. The refs did not reverse anything, Coach K had a “word” with the score keepers and the teams went into their locker rooms. I would’ve paid to be in that locker room with the game tied at 29 after that play.
- 15:57, second half: It began with a steal, when Cook knocked the ball away dove the floor and snatched the ball. Still on his rear end, Cook tapped it to Josh Hairston, who was taken down to the ground, drawing the foul. On the ensuing possession, Cook nailed a smooth 2-pointer jump shot, giving Duke a 35-29 lead, their biggest margin of the game at that point.
- 13:53, second half: Davidson looked brutal on the offensive end to begin the second half, not scoring for the first 6:07 of play as Duke went on a 12-0 run. Chris Czerapowicz finally ended that streak with a mid-range jumper to bring the Wildcats within 10, but that was after serious damage was done.
Three key stats:
- Davidson 4-of-19 from 3-point range: For the Wildcats to upset the No. 1 team in the country, they had to be hot from deep. And that was certainly possible—they entered play hitting 7.9 3-pointers per game at a 39.4% clip. Even when Davidson kept things close in the first half, they weren’t hitting, and when that didn’t improve in the second half, Duke took advantage and put the game away.
- Three second half turnovers for Duke: The Blue Devils have taken much better care of the ball this season, but the first half was ugly as they gave it up to the Wildcats nine times. That changed in the second half, when Duke turned it over three times. Mason Plumlee was at the root of the turnover problems with six turnovers, a season-high mark.
- 12 rebounds for De’Mon Brooks: Davidson’s leading scorer on the season, Brooks finished with just eight on 4-of-13 shooting, but he grabbed 12 boards, four of which were on the offensive end. Davidson outrebounded Duke 12-3 on the offensive end, a trend for the Blue Devils.
And the Duke game ball goes to … Quinn Cook. Ryan Kelly led the way with 18 points, but Cook was the spark of the offense in the second half, finishing the game with 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting. He hit a couple pretty floaters added two steals, two dimes and three boards while only turning it over once. He was quiet in the first half, but really helped them pull away late.
And the Davidson game ball goes to … Jake Cohen. The 6-foot-10 senior finished with a game-high 19 points and did an admirable job all night against Plumlee, despite battling foul trouble all evening. He stood out for his offensive versatility in a game that was ugly offensively, particularly for the Wildcats, who scored just 21 second half points.