Kelly, Cook rally Duke past Davidson
Davidson did something no one else has this season by slowing Duke’s Mason Plumlee on Wednesday night.
The rest of the Blue Devils made sure the big thing that hasn’t happened, a Duke loss, remained in the unachieved list.
Ryan Kelly scored 18 points and Quinn Cook added 15 as the No. 1 Blue Devils pulled away from Davidson in the second half to win 67-50 at Time Warner Cable Arena.
Despite the 6-10 Plumlee finishing with season low in points (10) while recording only seven rebounds against constant double-team defense, the Blue Devils (13-0) posted their ninth double-digit win of the season.
“They were physical; they were riding us,” Kelly said. “That made it tough on Mason to get his shots. But once we figured it out, we saw the holes in it. Mason is the type of player where he’s unselfish. He passed out of double teams, and it created for others.”
Kelly matched his season high in points by making 5 of 8 shots, including 3 of 4 from behind the 3-point line. Cook made 6 of 9 shots, mostly on drives in the lane to score in traffic.
“We have to be ready to step up when (Plumlee) is getting double-teamed and it’s not going for him that night,” Cook said.
Plumlee, averaging 19.5 points and 11.6 rebounds this season, wasn’t the only Duke senior captain to have an off night. Guard Seth Curry, playing in his hometown against older brother Stephen Curry’s alma mater, made just 3 of 11 shots to score six points.
It was just this past Saturday that Seth Curry scored his Duke career high of 31 points against Santa Clara.
“I missed some shots I usually make, and I missed some layups,” said Curry, who is averaging 17.1 points this season. “That’s on me, but I’ve got to bounce back on Saturday (against Wake Forest) and be myself.”
Duke struggled offensively in the first half, committing nine turnovers while logging only one assist. Davidson (7-6) went to the locker room tied 29-all with the nation’s top-ranked team.
But the Blue Devils righted themselves immediately to open the second half. Duke scored the half’s first 12 points, holding Davidson scoreless for more than six minutes, to take a 41-29 lead.
“They played really good defense, but our execution in the second half was really good,” Krzyzewski said. “We had one assist and nine turnovers (in the first half), which is so uncharacteristic of our team. In the second half, we had seven assists and two turnovers. We just played a lot sharper.”
With Davidson doubling down on Plumlee, Duke took advantage of weaknesses elsewhere. Plumlee scored the Blue Devils’ first basket of the second half but didn’t score again for the next 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, Cook’s basket in the lane followed by back-to-back 3-pointers by Tyler Thornton and Kelly put Duke ahead 41-29 with 14:14 to play.
“I thought Quinn really ran our team well in the second half and has run our team well,” Krzyzewski said. “Ryan was big.”
Meanwhile, after giving up a season-high 77 points in beating Santa Clara by 13 on Saturday, Duke returned to its normal stingy defense. The Wildcats were 0-for-5 from the field with four turnovers during Duke’s 12-0 run to start the second half.
Davidson shot 27 percent in the second half, finishing at 30.4 percent for the game, with 14 turnovers. It’s the eighth time this season Duke has held a team below 40 percent shooting.
“Our defense was outstanding,” Krzyzewski said. “In the first half, we gave up offensive rebounds. In the second half, we didn’t. I thought that was the key to the ballgame.”
That and timely scoring from Kelly, Cook and Thornton (10 points) allowed Duke to enter ACC play at 13-0, the seventh time in Krzyzewski’s tenure with the Blue Devils they’ve won their first 13 games of the season.
Mainly, Duke proved it could survive a game when Plumlee, its national player of the year candidate, isn’t his usually reliable self.
“It’s difficult,” Krzyzewski said. “I thought in the second half we did a better job of getting open looks and kind of spread it more where we got some penetration.”
No. 1 Duke 67, Davidson 50
Percentages: FG .457, FT .909. 3-Point Goals: 5-11, .455 (Kelly 3-4, Thornton 2-3, Sulaimon 0-1, Cook 0-1, Curry 0-2). Team Rebounds: 3. Blocked Shots: 5 (Mas. Plumlee 3, Sulaimon, Kelly). Turnovers: 12 (Mas. Plumlee 6, Kelly, Jefferson, Cook, Sulaimon, Curry, Hairston). Steals: 5 (Mas. Plumlee 2, Cook 2, Curry).
Percentages: FG .304, FT .923. 3-Point Goals: 4-19, .211 (Kalinoski 2-5, Cohen 1-3, Czerapowicz 1-5, Mann 0-1, Droney 0-1, Brooks 0-1, Kuhlman 0-1, Cochran 0-2). Team Rebounds: 1. Blocked Shots: 6 (Mann 3, Brooks 2, Cohen). Turnovers: 14 (Cohen 3, Cochran 3, Brooks 2, Kuhlman 2, Mann 2, Kalinoski, Droney). Steals: 3 (Kuhlman, Brooks, Cochran).
A—13,607. Officials—Gary Maxwell, Ray Natili, Frank Raposo.