The game wasn’t pretty but it was a great defensive game as both teams were very active. It also made it a bit sloppy. Duke maintained a double-digit lead from the 10:06 mark in the first half until about the 2:30 mark in the second half. They then held on for the 86-80 win over Washington. The Pac-12 is now 0-10 against ranked opponents this year.
There was a lot of intensity in the first half, which made for a great start, though there wasn’t a lot of scoring. Duke led 40-26 at the half led by Andre Dawkins‘ 14 points off the bench.
Washington hit their stride in the second half and cut the Duke lead to 11 points. Then Duke went on a run led by the Plumlees to regain the lead of 16.
But then Washington stepped up again with about four minutes to go. They cut the deficit to eight points as they were on a 14-3 run with about 2:30 left. At this point, Duke was sloppy and standing still on offense.
Austin Rivers fouled out with 2:48 to go. Then Seth Curry fouled out with 2:19 to go. Most Duke fans were probably cringing and I admit I moved to the edge of my seat. Tyler Thornton had four fouls. In came freshman Quinn Cook, who settled the offense down and even went 4-of-6 from the free throw line.
Rivers finished with 18 points on 6-of-13 shooting. Curry had an off-game, as he scored just 8 points and had five turnovers. Dawkins was quiet in the second half, as he scored just three points (all coming from the free throw line). He did have five rebounds. Mason Plumlee finished with 12 points and 6 rebounds (eight of those points came in the first half).
After going 2-for-10 in the first half, Ryan Kelly found his stroke in the second half, as he shot 4-of-5 to score a total of 16 points. He also hauled in nine rebounds. Miles Plumlee had his best game of the season, as he was a monster down low. He finished with nine points and nine rebounds (four offensive) and constantly had his hands involved on defense. Hopefully Miles can keep the intensity going throughout the season.
Duke had seven blocks. They also out-rebounded Washington 39-32.
Free throw shooting continues to be the Achilles heel for Duke. Duke fans even cheered and the band gave Mason Plumlee a standing ovation when he finally made a free throw around the five minute mark in the second half (he was 0-for-7 at that point). Washington’s game plan with about two minutes to go was to foul Mason ever time he grabbed a defensive rebound. I would think more teams would do that when trailing late in a game against Duke. Overall, Duke went just 27-of-44 (Washington wasn’t better, as they shot 13-of-23).
Also, Duke struggles with about five minutes left in a game on offense. They slow it down to try and ice the game, but usually end up being sloppy and standing around with too much one-on-one basketball. Thus, they allow the opposition to get back in the game.
For Washington, they were led by Tony Wroten, especially in the first half. He finished with 23 points and five rebounds. CJ Wilcox came alive in the second half and finished with 22 points.
Next up for Duke (after exam week), is UNC Greensboro on Monday, December 19th at 7pm ET at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
*Coach K said prior to the game that this is the toughest early season schedule his Duke teams have ever had.