It wasn’t the prettiest performance but then again it was an exhibition and a win is a win. And that is exactly what Duke got beating Winston Salem State 69-45 in their final tune up before the regular season starts
Mason Plumlee played a complete game on both ends of the floor scoring 19 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and blocking two shots. It was his second consecutive double double which is clearly a sign of the commitment to utilize the preseason All-ACC first teamer.
Freshman Rasheed Sulaimon who scored 12 points also had his second straight solid game. Another freshman, forward Amile Jefferson, also had a solid performance scoring 13 points and grabbing 5 rebounds.
While Winston Salem State was much smaller than Duke and you’d expect them to dominate down low, it was nice to see Jefferson being active and making plays. And the way he is playing it might be hard for Mike Krzyzewski to not give him some minutes. Still despite Duke’s size advantage the Rams were able to grab 44 rebounds to the Blue Devils 46, not as big a gap as you’d like to see.
Duke came out for the second straight game with a starting lineup of Quinn Cook, Plumlee, Ryan Kelly, Sulaimon and Alex Murphy and none did anything to make you’d think that that lineup will change any time soon.
The Blue Devils clearly are a different team designed to work around Mason Plumlee down low and feed him the ball. They weren’t particulary effective shooting though, only making one three point shot (1-17), which is something almost unheard of over the last several seasons.
Still Duke showed fairly good ball movement, though at times they made too many sloppy passes especially out on the perimeter. Duke had 10 turnovers which isn’t necessarily that bad.
Defensively the Blue Devils were much better than their first exhibtion game. They forced 19 turnovers, including 9 steals. They also blocked six shots and altered several more.
Still the sloppy play, especially in the second half when Duke essentially looked like they had put the game in cruise control can’t make Krzyzewski very happy.
One bit of good news for Duke was that Seth Curry saw his first action of the season playing, 17 minutes and scoring four points. After looking a bit rusty in his first run in the opening half, Curry settled down and played more aggressive as the game went on.
Curry has been battling a nagging leg injury and while he moved well in the game and didn’t seem to be in any noticeable pain or discomfort, Krzyzewski said that the injury could mean he may never be at 100 percent this entire season and that it will be a matter of managing the injury at this point.
In the absense of Andre Dawkins, who is sitting out the season while he deals with personal issues, it is that more important that Sulaimon develop into a reliable player to feel the void and so far so good.
Alex Murphy had a relatively quiet night scoring only 2 points in 14 minutes but it is easy to see how he will be a big part of the team as he does so many things well.
The Blue Devils will play their first official game next Friday against Georgia State at 7 p.m. in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
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