Duke finally picked up their first road win of the season as they defeated Wake Forest, 75-70, and Mason Plumlee played like a National Player of the Year Candidate.
Plumlee posted a career-high 32 points on 12-for-15 shooting and 8-for-10 shooting from the line while chipping in a game-high nine rebounds. He was dominant in the win over the Demon Deacons (10-10, 3-5) and was very efficient from the floor. He had good post moves — although he committed seven turnovers — and knocked down important free throws. Plumlee put the team on his back as Duke (18-2, 5-2) tried, and succeeded, in getting their first road win of the season.
Although the Blue Devils shot poorly from beyond the arc (just 2-for-14) they shot well from the field and knocked down over half of their field goal attempts. They forced 17 turnovers — while committing 15 themselves — and Amile Jefferson was limited to just 19 minutes of play because of foul trouble.
Freshman Rasheed Sulaimon only had six points, but he hit a big bucket to put Duke up by two possessions with less than a minute left in the game. He played just 24 minutes and added six rebounds, but hit a nice top-of-the-key jumper that proved to be important.
Seth Curry, although he only shot 1-for-6 from the three-point line, hit multiple jumpers that proved to be critical including shots that both tied and put Duke ahead late in the game. He poured in 21 important points and shot 6-of-7 from the charity stripe.
Quinn Cook put together a nice performance as he crafted together 12 points, a game-high seven assists and four rebounds. Although he shot 5-for-12 from the field and turned the ball over a few times, he found Curry and Plumlee when he needed to and played well defensively.
Josh Hairston is clearly no Ryan Kelly, but as he filled in for Kelly and came off of the bench for Jefferson, he did make a couple of good players just through heart and hustle. When playing on the road, especially if you’re struggling like Duke has been, you need to get those 50-50 balls and making plays like that is one of the small things that helps get wins.
The Blue Devils look to pick up their second road win of the season as they travel to Tallahassee to take on an up and down Florida State (12-8, 4-3) squad. Duke will be playing on ESPN at 2pm Saturday.