Over the past two weeks, The Blue Zone has been counting down the top five performances from each of Duke’s graduating seniors during their collegiate careers. This week, we conclude with forward Mason Plumlee.
The date: November 28, 2012
The game: Duke 73, Ohio State 68
Plumlee statline: 21 points and 17 rebounds in 39 minutes of play against No. 4 Ohio State
The breakdown: The Blue Devils had one of the hardest November schedules in recent history, facing off against No. 3 Kentucky, No. 2 Louisville, and future NCAA Tournament teams Florida Gulf Coast, Minnesota and Virginia Commonwealth before a road-weary Duke team returned to Cameron Indoor Stadium for a date with No. 4 Ohio State.
After playing three games in three days during the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament, the Blue Devils were sluggish offensively to start the game. Except for Mason Plumlee. The senior forward kept Duke afloat in the first half, scoring 10 of Duke’s 23 first half points as it went into the locker room trailing by eight points.
The highlight of Plumlee’s first half was an awe-inspiring alley-oop pass from Quinn Cook that sent Plumlee well above the rim and the crowd into a frenzy.
The second half the Blue Devils rallied around their leader and completed the comeback to keep their perfect record and their non-conference winning streak. The hallmark of the second half came when Plumlee corralled his own miss on the offensive glass, then kicked out the ball to Ryan Kelly for a 3-pointer that gave Duke the lead for good late in the game.
When there was no other Blue Devil who could provide any sort of offense, the team leaned on its best player to keep them in the game. It was a total team performance in the second half that ultimately pushed Duke over the top, but without Plumlee’s consistent production in both halves, Duke never would have had a shot against No. 4 Ohio State.
The quote: “He’s one of the best players in the country. His performance tonight was magnificent,” Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said.
Previous Plumlee performances: