Tag Archives: Plumlee leads Duke to win

St. Johns v Duke

Plumlee leads Duke past Georgia State 74-55

 

The Duke Blue Devils kicked off the 2012-13 basketball season with a 74-55 victory over Georgia State in Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Blue Devils were led by senior co-captain Mason Plumlee, who scored 19 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in the win.

Duke Offense struggled a bit

Coach Krzyzewski said that the Georgia State defense had a lot to do with the Blue Devils not being able to get out on the break. The Panthers threw a lot of different looks at Duke, including half-court presses, junk zones, and occasional man. Duke shot the ball well but only got 47 attempts, which is a fairly low number.

Defense was solid

We mentioned in our preview that Duke would try to slow Devonta White and R.J. Hunter, and for the most part they did so. Hunter scored 14 points but he had averaged 25 ppg in his first two contests. The Duke defense allowed just 4 assists total for the Panthers. Duke also held its opposition to under 40% from the field.

Mason solid but can be better

In the post-game locker room Mason Plumlee told BDN that he left some points on the floor, and Kryzewski said the same thing. He was referring to some late passes which went astray but Coach K also commended Plumlee for moving the ball properly, emphasizing that his teammates had to move once they delivered him the ball. Mason ended the game with 19 and 14 and was interviewed by ESPNU after the contest.

Tyler got the start

Tyler Thornton is never a player some fans talk about as a starter, but his defensive skills prompted Krzyzewski to start him, and he answered the call with 13 points. Thornton drew the defensive assignment on the taller Hunter for much of the game. Thornton told BDN that he tries to be a steadying influence for this team, and I think that quality will continue to earn him burn. For the record, this was Thornton’s 14th consecutive start.

Seth Curry plays well

Curry has battled a pre-season injury and therefor has only practiced a couple of times with the team. Seth told BDN that he was happy just to be on the court and he actually did a good job of getting his rhythm back, which is important going into the big game with Kentucky on Tuesday night. Physically, Coach Krzyzewski said the staff would have to wait and see how Seth responds tomorrow.

Quinn Cook comes off the bench

Cook was the first player off the bench for Duke, and he will get some starts before all is said and done. Kryzyzewski cited matchups as the reason he went with Thornton from the jump.

Notes

Duke won its 95th consecutive non-conference game in Cameron and is now 79-29 all-time in season openers. It was the 31st consecutive season opening win for Duke. Duke went on a 13-2 run at the 7:34 mark of the first half, turning a 17-15 lead into a 30-17 advantage.

Game Analysis – Duke 69 Winston Salem State 45

 

Curry got minutes for the Blue Devils in their win over WSSU. Photo – Lance King for BDN

Let me start by saying that Cameron Indoor Stadium was a shadow of itself in the Blue Devils’ 69-45 exhibition win over Winston Salem State on Thursday evening. And that atmosphere helped provide a backdrop for one of the worst three-point shooting performances by a Mike Krzyzewski coached team, as Duke shot a collective 1 of 17 from the three-point stripe.

The Blue Devils simply were not getting clean looks or, as Krzyzewski put it, players were not ready to catch and shoot. But the program that some feel can win only by hitting the three ball showed that defense could carry them as well. Leading just 18-9 in the first half, Duke went on a 16-1 run to take a commanding 36-13 lead into the locker room.

Duke coasted from there, but the visitors — who won their conference a season ago — played them even in the 2nd half, and that raised some eyebrows. Duke struggled finishing off some easy opportunities, and the fastbreak was less efficient than it normally is.

Before you push the panic button, keep in mind that Krzyzewski said his team was tired and would now take three days off before preparing for the season opener against Georgia State next Friday night. With successive games in the Battle of Atlantis just around the corner, it makes sense that he would have practiced his team hard in an effort to see how they’d respond on tired legs — which may have contributed to the 3-point shooting woes.

The bottom line is that this was an exhibition game, and the staff wanted to start pushing certain buttons as the season nears. And Krzyzewski made sure Seth Curry got some PT in an effort to shake the rust and see how he responds to his nagging injury.

There were two other things which caught my eye as well after viewing the Blue Devils for a second time this season. One was the fact that the true freshmen are ahead of where I thought they’d be. Rasheed Sulaimon has wasted no time getting acclimated at this level, averaging 16.0 ppg in the two contests. And then there is Amile Jefferson, who is at a 13.0 ppg and 4.0 rpg.

Sulaimon is a very active player who is playing within himself and not forcing the issue, committing just 2 turnovers per game. He has a good handle and can guard out front or as the lead pressure. Of Sulaimon, Krzyzewski said, “He is going to be a good player. Not a good one, a really good one.” And that bodes well for a team which lost Austin Rivers off of last year’s squad.

Jefferson has been very consistent in his play, prompting Krzyzewski to say, “Amile is that guy who doesn’t have a position. When he comes in the life meter goes up.”

But the most consistent player on the court for Duke was senior captain Mason Plumlee, who went 7 for 7 from the field against Winston Salem State. In the two exhibition games, Plumlee leads the Blue Devils in scoring at 20.5 ppg, while grabbing 10.5 boards per game.

When alluding to Mason’s stats in the post-game and reflecting on the win over Western Washington, Krzyzewski commented, “That’s who we think he is. (Plumlee). I think that is the norm, and I think he has the chance to have the pop in his game and go for more, so we like where he is.”

Plumlee has the potential to be an All-American this season, and his numbers in the exhibition games showed this to be a real possibility. Plumlee was very efficient near the bucket and his free throw shooting is better than a season ago, as so far he has hit 11 of 17 from the line.

All in all, this team is about where it should be as Krzyzewski has used the games to try various lineups while two of his players (Curry and Marshall Plumlee) are on the mend. History shows us that making too much out of any one game, especially an exhibition game, is fruitless. While the win last evening was not especially thrilling, it was just that — a win.