Mason Plumlee never scored like this before for No. 9 Duke -- especially not at the free throw line.DURHAM, N.C. -
Plumlee finished with a career-high 28 points and hit 10-of-11 free throws in the Blue Devils' 88-67 rout of Florida Gulf Coast on Sunday night, its school-record 96th straight nonconference win at home.
"Guys were setting me up ... They really found me in good positions," Plumlee said. "It's not like I was shooting jumpers. You shouldn't miss too many if you're shooting layups."
Freshman Rasheed Sulaimon added 19 points and Ryan Kelly had 14 points for the Blue Devils (3-0).
They scored 30 straight points -- including a 23-0 run to close the first half -- to brush off a slow start, and forced 25 turnovers to cruise in this preliminary on-campus matchup in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament.
Bernard Thompson had career highs of 24 points and six 3-pointers for Florida Gulf Coast (2-2), which led for most of the first half.
But foul trouble, sloppy ballhandling and cold shooting during the last 5½ minutes of the half ruined the Eagles' chances at their first win over a Top 25 team and second victory in six days against an Atlantic Coast Conference program.
"If you're going to beat a team like Duke, you need to score," said Eagles coach Andy Enfield, a former Florida State assistant. "You can't shut them down for 40 minutes. ... When they went on their run tonight, we couldn't score."
Sherwood Brown added 12 points for Florida Gulf Coast, which finished with more turnovers than field goals (23) and never got closer than 19 in the second half.
Plumlee surpassed his previous best of 25 points set against Marquette during his sophomore season in 2010, hitting 9 of 11 attempts from the field.
"They didn't have an answer for Mason inside," coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "We took advantage of that."
The 6-foot-10 forward, a 51 percent career free-throw shooter, had -- by far -- his best night from the stripe when he's gone there at least 10 times.
"People can't foul him now," Kelly said. "He's hitting them, and that's something he worked all summer, all offseason, to get better at, and it's shown."
And nobody was too upset over the only one he didn't make: Kelly put it back in, was fouled and converted the three-point play during Duke's huge run. With a smile after the game, Plumlee called it "a good miss."
Seth Curry added 10 points for the Blue Devils, who were playing five days after beating No. 3 Kentucky in Atlanta and four days before taking on Minnesota in the Bahamas. They overcame 18 turnovers by turning the Eagles' miscues into 36 points.
They haven't lost a nonconference game at Cameron Indoor Stadium since 2000, and surpassed their previous mark of 95 straight non-ACC wins here, set from 1983-95.
Yet for a while, this latest streak sure looked like it was in jeopardy.
The Eagles, who beat Miami by 12 on Nov. 13, led for much of the way early behind some sharp 3-point shooting. Florida Gulf Coast hit 6 of its first 12 from beyond the arc and took a 30-29 lead on Filip Cvjeticanin's 3 with 5½ minutes before the break.
That's when Duke finally got rolling. Guard Quinn Cook, who had nine assists in his first start of the season, hit his second straight 3 a few seconds later to put the Blue Devils ahead to stay and start the overwhelming run. Kelly scored seven points during the burst while Cook ended it with a jumper with about 7 seconds left to make it 52-30.
"I've never heard of a 30 to nothing run," Enfield said. "First one I've been a part of. But the good news is, other than that, we played pretty well."
The Blue Devils then scored the first seven points of the second half, going up 59-30 on Plumlee's free throw with 18:34 left.
- Duke Basketball Database