Another week, another top-five win for the Blue Devils. Duke took down No. 4 Ohio State, 73-68, in Cameron Indoor Stadium on Wednesday for the Blue Devils' third win over a top-five team this season. Duke trailed 31-23 at the half but exploded for 50 points in the second half, thanks in part to 17 second-half points from freshman Rasheed Sulaimon. Point guard Quinn Cook continued his impressive early-season run, finishing with eight assists and 12 points while playing all but 21 seconds of the game. Senior forward Mason Plumlee dominated the paint with 21 points and 17 rebounds while fellow team captain Ryan Kelly chipped in 15 points and three blocks.
With wins over No. 2 Louisville, No. 3 Kentucky and No. 4 Ohio State, the Blue Devils are 3-0 against teams in the top five of the Associated Poll. Those three wins make Duke the first team in NCAA history to defeat three top-five opponents before the end of December.
DUKE BENCH COMES ALIVE IN WIN OVER DELAWARE
Duke entered Saturday's game against Delaware with its starting five accounting for 91.1 percent of the team's total scoring, which ranked as the highest mark in college basketball. That number dropped following the 88-50 win over the Blue Hens, as both Alex Murphy and Amile Jefferson scored in double figures off the bench to lead four Duke reserves who combined for 27 points. Prior to that, Duke's most combined points off the bench was 13 in the season opener against Georgia State. The bench production was part of an all-around onslaught of the Blue Devils versus the Blue Hens, as Duke shot over 50 percent from the floor, 35 percent from three-point range and forced 15 Delaware turnovers with nine steals. Duke shut down Delaware's offense, surrendering just three assists and holding the Blue Hens to 27.7 percent shooting from the floor.
MURPHY, ZAFIROVSKI RECORD FIRST BUCKETS
Two Blue Devils scored their first career points in Saturday's win over Delaware, as redshirt freshman Alex Murphy netted 10 points - scoring all in the final 11:21 of the game - and senior Todd Zafirovski sank a layup for his first career basket. The Cameron Crazies were well-aware of the milestones, as the crowd erupted after each bucket. The two players took drastically different routes to Duke - Murphy was a highly-touted recruit in the 2012 class before reclassifying to the 2011 group where he still ranked among the top 50 members of that class. Zafirovski, meanwhile, joined the Blue Devils as a walk-on for the 2009-10 season and had yet to play in a game this season until Saturday against the Blue Hens. Regardless of basketball resumes, the Crazies treated both players as crowd favorites on Saturday night.
MASON PLUMLEE BREAKS DUNK RECORD
Just seven games into his senior season, Mason Plumlee broke a 22-year-old Duke record when he threw down his 148th career dunk on Wednesday against Ohio State, surpassing the previous record of 147 dunks held by former Duke high-flyer Robert Brickey (1987-90). Plumlee entered his senior season ranked fourth with 130 dunks, but needed just seven games to break Brickey's record. He pushed his career total to 150 on Saturday against Delaware.
THORNTON DELIVERS 10 ASSISTS
For all the attention point guard Quinn Cook has earned for his play this season, his counterpart in the backcourt - junior Tyler Thornton - had his own breakout game on Saturday against Delaware. Splitting point guard duties with the playmaking Cook, Thornton dished out a career-high 10 assists in Duke's 88-50 rout of the Blue Hens while playing 33 minutes. Thornton, who drew the start against Delaware in place of the injured Seth Curry, assisted on 10 Duke buckets that led to 23 points, including the first two points of senior forward Todd Zafirovski's career.
CURRY MISSES FIRST GAME AS A BLUE DEVILFor the first time in 79 games as a Blue Devil, Seth Curry did not see any time on the court in Saturday's win over Delaware. Curry, who had started 18 consecutive contests and had played in the previous 78 games for Duke, missed the entirety of the Delaware game with an ankle injury that he suffered against Ohio State on Wednesday. Curry had scored in double figures in every game this season before exiting the Ohio State game with the injury. He will get time to rest up over the next 17 days, however, as the Blue Devils have just one game - a Dec. 8 meeting with Temple in East Rutherford, N.J. - between now and Dec. 19.
SINGLER GETS (MORE) BUCKETS
Former Duke star Kyle Singler is at it again. The NCAA Champ and Duke's fourth leading all-time scorer is the star of a new "Buckets" video full of trick shots, including some that presumably have never been attempted...by anyone...ever. Watch the video here:
DUKE BASKETBALL RADIO SHOW ON TUESDAY
The Duke Basketball Radio Show with Chris Collins and Steve Wojciechowski returns for its second edition of the season this Tuesday from 7-8 p.m. at the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club on the campus of Duke University. The show airs live from the Bull Durham Bar on WDNC 620 The Buzz, and fans are invited to join the coaches on location at the Washington Duke Inn. Fans may submit questions for the show here: http://www.goduke.com//quest/Questionaire.dbml?\QID=73996&DB_OEM_ID=4200.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"I thought it was going to be a terrible pass. I got too
happy. I just flicked it, so he saved me. A little Bobby Hurley-Grant Hill, I
-Point guard Quinn Cook on his long-range alley-oop pass to Mason Plumlee against Ohio State (highlight here)
Thus far, Duke 2012
resembles Duke 2010 (Raleigh News & Observer)
Coach K says
Sulaimon as good as any freshman in the nation (Raleigh News & Observer)
Duke looks strong,
but it's still early (Winston-Salem Journal)
Emerging Cook adds
element to dangerous Duke attack (College Chalk Talk)
Ferry trying to
build foundation in Atlanta (Cleveland.com)
Singler relies on
hustle and hoops IQ (Detroit Free Press)
STAT OF THE WEEK
In the 413 minutes that former Blue Devil and current Detroit Piston has been on the court, the Pistons have outscored opponents by 25 points. In the 355 minutes Single has been on the bench, opponents have outscored the Pistons by 62 points.
(Credit to Dan Feldman, Detroit Free Press)
TWEETS OF THE WEEK
Miles Plumlee @milesplumlee13
Congrats to my bro @masonplumlee on becoming Duke's all-time dunk leader! @dukeblueplanet #Duke #Style
Rodney Hood @Rodneyhood4
Why does next year have to be so far away! #patientlywaiting
Greg Paulus @Greg_Paulus
Thank You Cameron Indoor and the Crazies for the kind words and welcome. Always special to me.
Channeling my inner Clark Griswold.....
Congrats to @TdotZaf on his 1st career bucket at Duke. That was big time!"
Jeff Capel @jeffcapel
Congrats to my man @TdotZaf on his first career basket at Duke! Great teammate and even better guy! #salute
Todd A Zaf @TdotZaf
Love my neighbors and also for all the support from everyone. What a great day and proud of our team!! http://lockerz.com/s/265747312
Kirk Herbstreit @KirkHerbstreit
Went to the Ohio St/Duke hoops game last pm..Cameron Arena is the most ridiculous scene Ive ever witnessed a sporting event. Great game too!