Quick Summary: The Duke Blue Devils overcame a rough first half, utilizing a 23-0 run to blow past the Cornell Big Red, 88-47.
If you’re in school, or were in school at some point over the course of your life, then you remember the absurd amount of difficulty you experienced when going back to school after a long break. You weren’t used to waking up early or having to think hard about anything anymore, and the whole mental and physical groove you typically found yourself in when you attended school ceased to exist. Of course, it only takes you a short while before you’re back to whatever level you were at before, but the beginning – oh, the beginning – was a disaster in every way.
Insert the Duke Blue Devils playing a competitive game of basketball for the first time in eleven days.
The first half, to put it nicely, looked like something out of a Roland Emmerich film. Turnovers were aplenty, missed shots came in bunches, both teams couldn’t manage to run the simplest of plays, and even Mason Plumlee decided to revert back to his poor free throw shooting ways. I take back the Roland Emmerich comparison, this was more like the 12 Days of Crappy Basketball Christmas, than anything. By the end of it, the Blue Devils led 41-30, but we were all left looking around at each other with a ‘what the hell just happened?’ look on our face. I don’t think anyone of us ever felt like Duke was capable of losing this game, but we certainly weren’t expecting one of the worst offensive teams in the country to hang around with the likes of Plumlee, Curry, Cook, Kelly, and Sulaimon for an entire half.
Then, the second half happened.
I’m not sure what went on in that locker room. For all I know, Coach K threw his whole team in the shower and furiously scrubbed them all down with Evapo-Rust Super Safe Rust Remover. A completely different team came out of that locker room, though, and they appeared to have every intention of running the Big Red out of Cameron Indoor Stadium.
At one point, Duke had gone on a 23-0 run. At another point, Duke had outscored Cornell 32-2 in the second half. At another point, the whole Cornell team was cuddled up in the fetal position screaming at their coach to make the bad man stop. This wasn’t Duke cruising to victory, this was Duke beating the living and deceased crap out of younger, less-talented, and less-experienced team. This game got so bad that Alex Murphy, Duke’s mythical bench-warmer, outscored all but one of Cornell’s players. Todd Zafirovski, who had only seen action in one other game prior to this one, even managed to drop three points. It was a Christmas party out there, and everyone on the Duke roster was invited. Quinn Cook took on the role of present distributor, handing out 12 assists.
To the notes!:
-Marshall Plumlee made his season debut, pulling in a rebound and a block in two minutes of work. Coach K let it be known that he was very being very cautious with the Redshirt Freshman, not wanting to re-aggravate his injured foot.
-Mason Plumlee went 8-8 from the field, ending the game with 18 points and 9 rebounds in just 26 minutes of playing time. He did shoot 40% from the free throw line, but we can chalk that up to the 11-day layoff and a small sample size. The senior also inadvertently managed to tip one into his own basket at one point. Yes, everyone made fun of him for it on Twitter.
-At one point during the game, a Cornell guard tried to use a few fancy dribble moves to get by Ryan Kelly. Kelly, of course, stuck his hand in there, easily stole the ball, then knocked down a three-pointer at the other end. This series of events was Cornell’s entire game in a nutshell.
-Duke returns to the court tonight against the Elon Phoenix, a team that has managed to get out to a 6-4 start this season. The game will start at 7pm (ET) and will be televised on ESPNU.