Jan 2, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Davidson Wildcats forward Jake Cohen (15) shoots the ball over Duke Blue Devils forward Ryan Kelly (34) during the second half at Time Warner Cable Arena. Duke defeated Davidson 67-50. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Duke Overcomes Disastrous First Half in Win Over Davidson

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Quick Summary: The Duke Blue Devils bounced back from a trainwreck of a first half, pulling away from the Davidson Wildcats with a 12-0 run to open the second half en route to a 67-50 victory.

The Duke Blue Devils won a basketball game.

That is the only kind way you can summarize what took place between Duke and the Davidson Wildcats for forty minutes in the Belk Arena tonight.

The first half was a sort of a slow burn. It didn’t start out terribly, but a Davidson offensive rebound here, a Davidson offensive rebound there, another Davidson offensive rebound over there, and another reading of ‘Offensive Rebounding with Dr. Seuss and Davidson’ later, and the Blue Devils became maddening. Mix that with Duke’s cartoon-ish 1:9 assist-to-turnover ratio and it is actually a miracle that Duke managed to head into the locker room locked in a 29-29 tie.

Oh yeah, Davidson was awful, too.

The Wildcats hovered around the 30% mark for shooting percentage for much of the first half and managed to turn the ball over nearly as much as the Blue Devils.

The second half wasn’t a work of art, but the Blue Devils did get better. Whatever Coach K said to his team at halftime must have worked, as Duke raced out to a 12-0 run to start the half, stretching the lead to 41-29 behind a barrage of jumpers from Quinn Cook, Ryan Kelly, and Tyler Thornton. The Wildcats would never recover, and the Blue Devils would coast the rest of the way behind the consistency of Cook (15 points) and Kelly (18 points and 7 rebounds).

The biggest surprise of the game came in the form of star Mason Plumlee, who had been playing as well as anyone in the nation heading into the game. The senior was a walking mistake: a disaster on offense and a lethargic mess on defense. He ended the game with a somewhat respectable stat-line: 10 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and 3 blocks, but he was a turnover waiting to happen all throughout the contest, and he failed to handle just about every pass that was tossed his way. It was the first bad game Plumlee put together all season, and I certainly hope it was his last.

Like I said, though: the Duke Blue Devils won a basketball game. I hate to make excuses, but the long breaks between games have been messing with this team. I’d imagine that the consistent ACC schedule they’re about to enter into this weekend will return them to their normal, sharp level of play that we’ve become accustomed to. If they come out against Wake Forest on Saturday and struggle again, we should probably start worrying. For now, relax and enjoy the win and enjoy the No. 1 rank for at least a few more days.

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