Duke Proves it’s Elite Against Michigan State 71-61

Brian HoraceGeneral Information, Results/Thoughts0 Comments

Duke has a way of keeping us on edge: they rarely run away with games against top opponents, and that’s okay.  They have a way of taking teams out of what they want to do using pressure defense.  Duke would do so against Michigan State and come away with the 71-61 win.

The story of the game for Duke started with defense.  Duke did a masterful job keeping the Michigan State guards at bay.  Keith Appling would score 16 points for Michigan State but was 0-for-3 from 3 point range and had no assists and 4 turnovers.  Gary Harris fared even worse scoring 6 points on 3-of-11 shooting.  Duke did a great job of defending the lane, keeping the State guards in front of them, and the post defense played by Mason Plumlee, Ryan Kelly and Josh Hairston was probably the most stout Duke has shown all season.  Duke’s double team on Michigan State’s bigs would net 5 blocked shots (4 by Ryan Kelly and one by Mason Plumlee).  It was expected that the strong, physical, big bodies would dominate Duke in the paint, but Duke found the answer with forcing the bigs into awkward positions and tough shots.  Duke did not allow the Spartans to bully them in the middle, keeping appropriate distance from the big bodies and allowing Plumlee and Kelly to take turns allowing the secondary defenders to block shots.

The second story of this game was the shooting of Seth Curry.  Curry would go 6-of-9 from 3 point range and State had no answer.  When the game was tight, Duke would rely on Curry to add some cushion, and Curry would answer the call.  The other story offensively for Duke was the play of freshman Rasheed Sulaimon.  Sulaimon would only make 2 baskets in the game, but still managed to score 16 points, the rest being from the free throw line.  The freshman took more than half of the team’s free throws, sinking 12 out of 14.

The tertiary story of this game was the play of Duke’s bench.  Once again, the Blue Devils would depend on their bench to play some critical minutes and the play of Josh Hairston and most notably Tyler Thornton was something that was crucial in this game.  Neither would make a huge dent in the scoring column, but defensively they would help keep the Spartans at bay.  Thornton gave the Devils a toughness on defense and as the seasons goes on, his role is becoming more and more important.  Thornton isn’t one to give up on a play and his break-up of a sure layup on a run out and his hard early foul to prevent a 3 point play is  proof.  Without those plays, Duke gives up the lead underscoring the value of guys knowing their roles, stepping up, and taking advantage of opportunities.

As an aside, and as a fan, it’s been impressive to see how cohesive this team is: no matter the score or situation, they seemed to be dialed in.  They seem to be embracing the NEXT PLAY mantra, yet absorbing information and utilizing it quickly within the game.  If Duke gets all its gears cranking and moving at the same time, things could get very interesting.  Duke is still not getting good production in a number of areas and one has to think at some point Ryan Kelly and Quinn Cook will break out of their mini-slumps.  Kelly showed flashes on this game, but unfortunately his 3 point shot has been off since the Miami game.  Kelly has found other ways to contribute, and against Michigan State Kelly would have 4 blocked shots, 2 assists and 7 rebounds.  Defensively, Kelly was stellar; offensively, I can’t imagine he will continue to struggle.  Kelly seemed to find success in the mid-range, and perhaps taking his offense there first and matriculating out past the 3 point line once he’s established a rhythm may help in some way.  Quinn Cook was 0-5 in the game and did not score.  He had 3 turnovers, but his defense on Sparty guards was as valuable a statistic as any.  Cook only played 5 minutes in the first half with Duke opting for Tyler Thornton at the point as offensively, Cook seemed to be in a funk.

Next game for Duke is a surging Louisville, who are playing arguably the best basketball of any team in the tournament.

Official Basketball Box Score
Michigan State vs Duke
3/29/13 9:58 PM ET at Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN

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VISITORS: Michigan State 27-9
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
05 Adreian Payne....... f  3-10   1-5    7-7    2  8 10   3  14  0  1  2  1  36
22 Branden Dawson...... f  2-3    0-0    0-0    0  2  2   3   4  2  0  1  1  23
25 Derrick Nix......... f  3-10   0-0    3-6    4  5  9   3   9  1  1  0  1  23
11 Keith Appling....... g  5-9    1-2    5-5    0  0  0   3  16  0  4  1  1  36
14 Gary Harris......... g  2-11   0-3    2-4    1  3  4   4   6  2  1  0  1  35
02 Alex Gauna..........    0-1    0-0    0-0    0  1  1   1   0  1  0  0  0   7
10 Matt Costello.......    0-0    0-0    0-0    1  1  2   3   0  0  1  0  0   6
20 Travis Trice........    3-3    1-1    1-1    0  2  2   4   8  0  0  0  0  16
45 Denzel Valentine....    2-3    0-1    0-1    0  3  3   0   4  0  2  0  1  18
   TEAM................                                             1
   Totals..............   20-50   3-12  18-24   8 25 33  24  61  6 11  4  6 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 13-27 48.1%   2nd Half:  7-23 30.4%   Game: 40.0%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  2-6  33.3%   2nd Half:  1-6  16.7%   Game: 25.0%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  3-6  50.0%   2nd Half: 15-18 83.3%   Game: 75.0%    4

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HOME TEAM: Duke 30-5
                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
05 Mason Plumlee....... f  5-9    0-0    4-4    3  4  7   4  14  1  1  1  1  36
34 Ryan Kelly.......... f  4-11   0-4    1-1    0  7  7   2   9  2  1  4  0  38
02 Quinn Cook.......... g  0-5    0-2    0-0    0  2  2   2   0  2  3  0  0  21
14 Rasheed Sulaimon.... g  2-6    0-2   12-14   1  3  4   2  16  0  0  0  0  36
30 Seth Curry.......... g  8-17   6-9    7-7    0  3  3   2  29  1  1  0  0  37
03 Tyler Thornton......    1-1    1-1    0-0    0  3  3   4   3  2  1  0  2  26
15 Josh Hairston.......    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   1   0  0  0  0  0   6
   TEAM................                         1  2  3             1
   Totals..............   20-49   7-18  24-26   5 24 29  17  71  8  8  5  3 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 10-26 38.5%   2nd Half: 10-23 43.5%   Game: 40.8%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  4-11 36.4%   2nd Half:  3-7  42.9%   Game: 38.9%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  8-9  88.9%   2nd Half: 16-17 94.1%   Game: 92.3%    1

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Officials: Patrick Driscoll, Michael Stuart, and Michael Scyphers
Technical fouls: Michigan State-None. Duke-None.
Attendance: 35520
Score by Periods                1st  2nd   Total
Michigan State................   31   30  -   61
Duke..........................   32   39  -   71

Points in the paint-MSU 28,DU 20. Points off turnovers-MSU 11,DU 12.
2nd chance points-MSU 5,DU 4. Fast break points-MSU 4,DU 7.
Bench points-MSU 12,DU 3. Score tied-6 times. Lead changed-10 times.
Last FG-MSU 2nd-00:42, DU 2nd-07:20.
Largest lead-MSU by 4 1st-13:45, DU by 13 2nd-03:52.

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