Cook’s Second Straight Career Night Lifts Duke Over Clemson, 68-40

Just one game after posting a career-high 14 assists, Quinn Cook decided to one-up himself as he scored a career-best 27 points in Duke’s 68-40 win over Clemson Tuesday night.

Cook also added in five assists, five rebounds and four steals on a night where he shot 12-for-16 from the field and 3-for-5 from three-point land. The sophomore point guard’s career night was instrumental in the Blue Devils’ (15-0) dominant win over the Tigers (8-6) after a first half where Duke gave up the fewest amount of points (10) to an ACC opponent since 1979.

We said after Cook’s poor shooting performance Saturday that his shot selection wasn’t too bad and his shots just simply weren’t falling; well, every shot was falling tonight for Cook as he attacked the basket one play after another and finished beautifully around the rim. He didn’t blow by people, but he used his ball-handling and good angles to get to the rim at will. His good passing, rebounding and defense provided him with a very well-rounded performance on a night where he turned the ball over just once.

National Player of the Year candidate Mason Plumlee nearly missed out on another double-double as he turned in eight points, 13 rebounds, five assists and six turnovers off 3-for-9 shooting. Clemson’s Devin Booker made it difficult for Plumlee to get good position in the post and made it tough on the Duke big to get good looks. Plumlee spent more time fading away from the bucket then attacking it in most of his low post touches and his scoring reflected that.

One of the most overshadowed players in the country because of all of the Blue Devils’ talent, Ryan Kelly had a good night with 12 points and six rebounds on 4-for-9 shooting along with good defense. He shot well from beyond the arc, knocking down both of his three-point attempts, and stretched the defense as always. However, he only played 19 minutes and exited the game after injuring his right foot.

Because of Clemson’s good defense and Duke’s poor first half shooting, only two Blue Devils scored in the double-digits. However, despite a night where he only scored two points and committed four fouls, freshman Rasheed Sulaimon made an impact on the glass by bringing down seven rebounds, the second best number of any Duke player. Continuing his hot-then-cold streak, Seth Curry shot just 3-for-10 from the field and recorded eight points.

With two easy home conference wins in the book, Duke travels to Raleigh Saturday as they play their first ACC game outside of Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Blue Devils take on a North Carolina State (12-2) squad that was the pre-season conference favorite and is currently ranked 20th in the country. The Wolfpack are a high-scoring team that has the best shooting percentage from the floor in the country. It will be a nice test early in conference play for Duke as the second semester starts back up.

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Josh Paunil

Josh Paunil

Josh Paunil is a contributor to Duke Report who runs his own site, National Recruiting Spotlight, dedicated to college basketball recruiting. He loves getting feedback on his work and encourages readers to leave a comment on his articles to get a dialogue going. You can follow him on Twitter at @JoshPaunilNRS.

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