Whenever a #1 team goes down, excuses start to fly all over the place. They were on the road. They were without a key player. They had an off game.
But none of that matters tonight.
Whether you look at how they shot the ball, their defense or just overall execution in Duke’s (16-2, 3-2) 90-63 loss to Miami (14-3, 5-0), it was all unacceptable. Not having Ryan Kelly isn’t an excuse. Saying the Blue Devils missed shots they typically make isn’t an excuse. None of it is. The simple fact is that Miami was the better team tonight.
Despite another double-double, Mason Plumlee clearly didn’t have National Player of the Year-type performance that you’d expect and hope out of him. He posted 15 points and 11 rebounds, but shot just 5-for-15 from the field and 5-for-10 from the charity stripe. Plumlee was also unable to help contain Kenny Kadji, who poured in 22 points on 9-for-11 shooting.
It’s been back-and-forth for Seth Curry when it comes to how well he’s able to score the ball. Some games he’ll knock down more than half of his three-point attempts and score over two dozen points but in other games he’ll go scoreless from beyond the arc. In this match-up, he not only missed every three-point attempt he took, but he also missed every field goal attempt as he scored zero points on 0-for-10 shooting from the field and 0-5 shooting from beyond the arc. He didn’t help Duke out at all and was unable to contribute.
Speaking of awful shooting, Quinn Cook followed Curry’s led and shot 1-for-12 from the field. He was able to get guys a few open looks (that they didn’t convert on) and chipped in seven rebounds and five assists but simply struggled from the floor. With Kelly out, Amile Jefferson earned the start but just couldn’t match up with Kadji. The freshman posted 13 points and five rebounds on 6-for-11 shooting.
The Blue Devil who had the best — and most efficient — offensive performance was Rasheed Sulaimon. The talented freshman scored a team-high 16 points on 4-for-9 shooting from the field as well as 6-for-6 from the free-throw line. He also added four steals and three assists.
Duke hopes to rebound against Maryland (15-4, 3-3) Saturday as they return to the friendly confines of Cameron Indoor Stadium. They take on the Terrapins, one of the best rebounding teams in the country, at 1pm on CBS as the Blue Devils hope to get Kelly back as soon as possible.