The Duke men’s basketball team has now won 22 straight regular season tournament games, as they advanced to the Battle 4 Atlantis final with a 67-58 victory over VCU (who upset the ranked Memphis Tigers on Thursday).
It was a bit of a struggle for the Blue Devils in the Bahamas against the team looking for their second straight upset. It was a back-and-forth game in the first half, but once Duke took control towards the end of the half, they never looked back.
For the second straight game/day, Duke did not receive much production from the bench (Coach K only played seven guys). The bench scored just three points, on a three point field goal by Tyler Thornton.
Mason Plumlee led all scorers with 17 points on 5-of-9 shooting. He picked up another double-double, as he hauled in ten rebounds. Seth Curry had a poor shooting day (just 3-of-9) but he still scored 15 points by going 9-of-10 from the free throw line.
Ryan Kelly was just 1-of-5 from the field in the first half, but made 3-of-4 shots in the second half to finish with 11 points. He also hauled in four rebounds and blocked FIVE shots. Quinn Cook only scored nine points (3-of-7 from the field), but he dished out NINE assists (to three turnovers).
Freshman Rasheed Sulaimon was the other Duke starter and he scored 12 points, though he struggled with his shot (just 4-of-12). He did haul in seven rebounds.
VCU is not a team that passes the basketball, as they had just four assists in the entire game. They shot just 32.8% from the field (while Duke shot 41.7%). They also did not get much from their bench, just nine points from Rob Brandenberg. Juvonte Reddic and Treveon Graham each scored 16 points in the loss. Reddic recorded a double-double with 12 rebounds.
The Blue Devils were out-rebounded once again, 32-38, and gave up 16 offensive boards. They made up on that deficit by not turning the ball over (just eight times) and by winning the battle at the free throw line (24 made free throws to just 19 taken for VCU).
Duke will face the winner of the Louisville-Missouri game on Saturday night in the Battle 4 Atlantis finals. The Cardinals are ranked second in the country, while the Tigers are 13th.