ACC Basketball

Duke Downs Mr. Morris

You couldn’t talk about the Duke Blue Devils this week without the conversation always coming back to their recent early exits from the Big Dance, but that’s what you get when you loss in the round of 64 two out of last three seasons.

This year’s Blue Devils squad decided to end that conversation early, with four three pointers in the game’s first five minutes (three by Quinn Cook) and blew the game open with a 21-2 run just halfway through the first half. A fourth Cook three extended the lead to 19 at one point, as the Blue Devils walked into the break cruising, 42-25.

However, five minutes into the second half, Duke struggled to keep up the intensity, turning it over a couple times, allowing Robert Morris some open looks. Coach Mike Krzyzewski was not happy, but he completely lost it when after a spectacular block by Justise Winslow, Jahlil Okafor got cute and tried a reverse dunk. He missed and before the ball could even come down for a rebound, Coach K angrily pointed at Marshall Plumlee to get his ass in the game.

At that point, I wouldn’t have been shocked if Okafor didn’t see the floor again. Luckily for him, the Colonials gave the Duke coaching staff no choice. Down 20, Robert Morris hit some shots and got excited and went on a 10-0 run. After a Blue Devils time out, Okafor was back in. Duke would eventually go on a 12-0 run and the Colonials were back down 22 by the next TV timeout. When it was all said and done, the walk-ons were in and the Blue Devils got through the first-round with a convincing 95-56 win.

  • Duke hit 63% from the floor, including 10-for-21 from deep. That had a 40-28 edge in rebounding had 28 assists on their 34 shots. Okafor was obviously dominating, as he hit 9-for-11 from the floor. The fact was, Robert Morris just didn’t have the size, as no starter was within six inches or 50 pounds of Duke’s freshman center.
  • Five Blue Devils scored in double figures, while Marshall Plumlee earned his first double-double of the year with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Amile Jefferson contributed 10 points as well.
  • Quinn Cook at this point is really just a jump shooter. Ten of his 12 shots were from three, as the percentage of his shots being three has increased throughout the year. Of course when you’re hitting at the rate he has been lately, why shoot anything else?
  • When Robert Morris got back to within 10, like I said above, Okafor went back into the game and he actually hit the next basket, but it was Justise Winslow who took control. Failing to even try to score a point at that point, the freshman took control, first with a three, then followed that up with a unstoppable coast-to-coast layup. The next possession he again grabbed a board and steamrolled towards the rim, but this time finding an open Tyus Jones for a three.
  • 55 of Robert Morris’ 66 shots came from just three players; Rodney Pryor, Marquise Reed and Lucky Jones. Pryor was the one who truly dominated, score 23 points, hitting on 10 of his first 14 shots, before missing his final five when the game was already decided. Reed scored 22 on 22 shots, while Jones hit just 3-for-14 from the floor, 1-for-8 from deep.

Next up for Duke, the winner of the St. John’s/San Diego State game on Sunday.

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