Duke wins, again offers the big-men question | Sports
Sports
INDY Week's sports blog

Archives | RSS | Follow on | Add on  

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Duke wins, again offers the big-men question

Posted by on Tue, Nov 16, 2010 at 10:08 PM

DURHAM, N.C.—Sophomore forward Ryan Kelly took the first shot for the Duke Blue Devils Tuesday night in Durham, missing a surefooted turnaround just beyond the paint less than two minutes into the game. That miss, one of Kelly’s two during the contest versus the Miami of Ohio RedHawks, is mostly significant because it means that, for the first time in his career, Kelly started, replacing junior forward Miles Plumlee. And that matters because it’s a sign that Duke, even during a year when its roster boasts six players over 6’7”, still doesn’t know how to dominate inside, even against outmatched teams like the RedHawks.

Take all of this with at least a pint of salt. Duke won, and they won big, securing a comfortable 21-point lead by the end of the first half. Respective 12-point and 14-point runs in the second half pushed the lead to as many as 44, driving the No. 1 Blue Devils to a convincing 79—45 victory. The outmatched Miami of Ohio didn’t even attempt to get offensive rebounds, putting four of its five back to stop Duke’s powerful transition. Still, the Devils dominated every statistical category, nearly doubling Miami’s rebounds and shooting 31 free throws to Miami’s eight. Once again, the Duke defense forced more than a dozen turnovers.

But last year’s national champions aren’t perfect, not yet. Despite that cadre of big men this year, the Devils have yet to find any stable presence inside. On defense, these big Devils are mostly tenacious, having studied under Lance Thomas last year but adding more power to his fundamentally sound, versatile approach. On offense, though, they’re still uncertain, a point epitomized by the Plumlee brothers. Mason Plumlee, the younger brother, shows flashes of brilliance. Tuesday night, he stretched high for rebounds (he grabbed 14 total) that were out of reach for most and landed two massive dunks in a two-minute burst in the first half. But he remains a tad coltish, whether dribbling in pressure that’s too intense only to throw up odd shots or launching an errant three-pointer too quickly. His older brother, Miles, looks a tad timid inside, scoring only five points in Duke’s two regular season games with one steal and no blocks.

“I was hoping they were going to be a little bit looser, but they weren’t tonight,” said Miami of Ohio coach Charlie Coles after the game, before extolling the virtues of Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski at length. “This is a good team.”

This perimeter is going to be fine, maybe even legendary. Tuesday night, national player of the year candidate Kyle Singler struggled from beyond the arch, and senior guard Nolan Smith only scored 10 points from the field. But the underclassmen stepped up. Seth Curry and Andre Dawkins combined for five three-pointers from the bench. Curry even lead the team in scoring, followed by freshman point guard Kyrie Irving. Smith was brilliantly unselfish, though, with seven assists, including several two Dawkins for threes and a perfect bounce pass to Mason Plumlee. He turned that pass into his most dominant statement of the night, a physical, mean dunk. That’s the strength Duke will have to find next week when it heads to Kansas City for the second half of the CBE Classic.

“We’ll try some different things to see where our chemistry might be,” Krzyzewski said of the switches inside. “It’s not a demotion or a promotion. It’s just looking … to see how that would work.”

Pin It

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Sports



Twitter Activity

Comments

If you need to hire a real hacker to help spy on your partner's cell phone remotely, change your grades …

by Stacey Jones on Duke vs. Villanova: Four Factor Preview (Sports)

This was a great read until we got to the World Cup part (who knows or cares, this is America) …

by ProudlyUnaffiliated on A short history of the Dutch in South Africa, 1652-2010 (Sports)

Most Read

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

Most Recent Comments

If you need to hire a real hacker to help spy on your partner's cell phone remotely, change your grades …

by Stacey Jones on Duke vs. Villanova: Four Factor Preview (Sports)

This was a great read until we got to the World Cup part (who knows or cares, this is America) …

by ProudlyUnaffiliated on A short history of the Dutch in South Africa, 1652-2010 (Sports)

what i gonna to do is to be my hero and be awesome, just like them, cannot change history and …

by heartnecklace on A short history of the Dutch in South Africa, 1652-2010 (Sports)

wwe is too violate, if some can fix it that will be okay.

by heartnecklace on Should North Carolina State try to suplex the WWE? (Sports)

Gaffe-r is right...he f8cks up all the time. "A lot of success over the last 3 years"....less smoke blows out …

by DonGarbageBlows on Colin Clarke returns as head coach of Carolina RailHawks (Sports)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation