The Duke men’s basketball team sought revenge over NC State on Thursday night after losing to the Wolfpack back on January 21st for their first loss of the season. That loss came in Raleigh and tonight’s game was at cozy Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Blue Devils held on for the 98-85 victory.
I had to walk away because I had an eerie feeling that Duke might blow the lead completely.
The Blue Devils shot over 60% from the field in the first half and for awhile, NC State was ice cold. But they ended up shooting a respectable 43.2% from the field in the first half. What set the two teams apart in the first half was the Blue Devils shooting from the outside: they made 10-of-17 three pointers, while NC State made just one.
In the second half, NC State out-scored Duke 48-40. They also started making some shots (19-of-29). Coach K can NOT be happy about Duke’s defense in the second half.
The Blue Devils won the free throw side of the game, as they made 32-of-41 compared to just 11-of-19 from NC State. But both teams had key players in foul trouble. Duke actually made 8 of their final nine free throws. The free throws and the three pointers are what won the game for Duke.
They were also led by their two senior starters. Mason Plumlee was perfect from the field in the first half (5-for-5) for 15 points. He doubled that to 30 points by the end of the game and made 9-of-11 shots. He also hauled in nine rebounds. Seth Curry led Duke with 18 points in the first half and finished with 26 points.
Quinn Cook, despite being in foul trouble, was a perfect 4-for-4 from the outside in the first half for 12 points. He finished with 21 points on 6-of-8 shooting and dished out six assists.
Duke improved to 20-2 on the season (7-2 in the ACC), the 29th time Coach K has reached the 20-win plateau. NC State dropped to 16-7 and 5-5 in the ACC.
For NC State, their top two players fouled out. Richard Howell, who was in foul trouble throughout, led the Wolfpack with 23 points and nine rebounds. He fouled out with 3:41 to go on an offensive foul. CJ Leslie fouled out with 1:18 to go. He finished with 16 points and six rebounds, but had four of the team’s seven turnovers.
The Wolfpack had five players in double figures. Scott Wood was 4-of-7 from the outside and finished with 14 points. Tyler Lewis had 13 points and dished out six assists. TJ Warren came off the bench to score 12 points and haul in seven rebounds.
Next up for Duke, they travel to Boston College for a Sunday evening game. I hope the Blue Devils leave tonight for the game because the Boston area is expected to get two feet of snow on Friday.