Duke’s Mason Plumlee scored 20 points, collected 17 rebounds, and did just about everything else in a fairly one-sided 89-71 victory over the previously undefeated Minnesota Golden Gophers.
The game, an opening round contest in the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament, saw Duke rely entirely on their starters, who scored all but two of their points. Along with Plumlee’s 20, seniors Seth Curry and Ryan Kelly scored 25 and 14, while freshman Rasheed Sulaimon scored 11 and sophomore point guard Quinn Cook scored 17.
The first half of the contest wasn’t pretty, with both teams turning the ball over at will and combining for 22 turnovers after the first twenty minutes, but the second half saw a much steadier offense from both sides. For Minnesota, star forward Rodney Williams Jr led the way with 16 points and 7 rebounds, along with two highlight reel plays via a block and a dunk. Duke’s harassing defense, however, prevented the Golden Gophers from developing any sort of rhythm and held Minnesota to just forty percent shooting from the field and twenty-five percent from beyond the arc.
Besides from Plumlee, the biggest thing to draw from this game for Duke fans is that Quinn Cook has finally established himself as the rightful starting point guard. Tyler Thornton, who has been competing with Cook for minutes throughout the beginning of the season, saw a drop in playing time and performance, turning the ball over three times and picking up just one assist in twenty-two minutes of play.
Duke returns to action tomorrow against Virginia Commonwealth at 7pm ET. The game will be broadcast on NBC Sports.
Happy Thanksgiving, Dukies!