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Postgame: thoughts from Duke's 89-71 win over Minnesota


The setup in Atlantis, espeically the lighting, is a bit untraditional. Credit: JOHN BAZEMORE/AP

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas—Officially, the location for the Battle 4 Atlantis holiday tournament is Imperial Arena.

In reality, it’s a large ballroom that, right now, has a basketball court surrounded temporary bleachers and is illuminated by rows of spotlights hanging from the low ceiling. The seating capacity is 3,900—more than two times smaller than Cameron Indoor Stadium. 
“I’ve never been on a movie set, but it seems like one,” Duke head coach Mike Kryzewski said. “It’s a different environment.”
Duke guard Quinn Cook said it felt like the teams were on a stage. And with the bleachers close to the edges of the court, the small space was loud at times. The most notable difference, though, was with the lights. 

Duke beats Minnesota 89-71 in the Bahamas


The Gophers had no answers for Mason Plumlee, who scored 20 points and pulled down 17 rebounds. Credit: JOHN BAZEMORE/AP

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas—Duke didn’t miss many open shots and Mason Plumlee dominated under the basket on both ends of the floor. As a result, the No. 5 Blue Devils were able to beat Minnesota 89-71 in the opening round of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament.

“Duke hit every big shot that they needed to,” Minnesota forward Rodney Williams said. “No matter how good the defense was that we were playing.”

While the Gophers (4-1) hung around throughout the game, Duke’s shooters never went cold. Minnesota had held its previous opponents to 28.6 percent shooting from the field. The Blue Devils, though, shot 54.5 from the floor, a season-high. And while Duke attempted a season-low 10 shots from behind the arc, 80 percent of them went in, including a running 3 at the end of the first half from Quinn Cook that gave Duke a seven-point halftime lead.

Duke G Quinn Cook: "I need to stay sharp"


Mike Kryzewski and the coaching staff told Quinn Cook he needed to tighten his game. Cook responded accordingly. Credit: CHUCK LIDDY

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas—Happy Thanksgiving! If you've already read the game preview for Duke vs. Minnesota and the story of Duke WR Jamison Crowder's emotional recovery from the summer jet ski accident that injured Blair Holliday, here's one more piece: today's feature on Quinn Cook, who is back in the starting lineup after a brief hiatus.

After the Florida Gulf Coast win, in which Cook tied his career high with nine assists, he explained to the media that, previously, he had been trying to be flashy like he was in high school. When that was relayed to assitant coach Jeff Capel Monday, his response was immediate:

“It was not working.” 

Game Preview: Duke vs. Minnesota


With three games in the next three days, Duke will have to manage Seth Curry's playing time accordingly. Credit: CHUCK LIDDY

Note: A cross-promotion: check out my Thanksiving Day story on the emotional recovery of Jamison Crowder. His parents, coaches, teammates and friends lent invaluable support in the aftermath of the jet ski accident that left teammate Blair Holliday unresponsive in a coma and Crowder physically unharmed. Both have come a long way since then. 

Duke vs. Minnesota

When: 3:30 p.m.

Where: Imperial Arena, Paradise Island, Bahamas

TV/Radio: FM

Projected starting lineups:

Postgame: thoughts from Duke's 88-67 win over Florida Gulf Coast


Mason Plumlee reacts after converting a bucket and drawing a foul during Duke's win over Florida Gulf Coast. Credit: CHUCK LIDDY

DURHAM—No. 9 Duke scored an 88-67 win over Florida Gulf Coast. Check out the game story, and a few more thoughts below: 

***You don't always see 30-0 runs in basketball games. In fact, that's the longest run since the Blue Devils had a 26-0 run in a home win over Clemson on Feb. 20, 1999.

***While Duke entered the season aiming to center the offense around Mason Plumlee in the low post, old habits can be hard to break.

The Blue Devils attempted 20 3-pointers—or 59 percent of their first-half shots from the field. The Blue Devils attempted 31 3s over the course of the game (49 percent of their total shots) making nine, or 29 percent. Rasheed Sulaimon leading the team with 9 points from behind the arc, and Quinn Cook went 2-of-4 as well.

Duke rolls Florida Gulf Coast 88-67

Mason Plumlee scored a career-high 28 points in Duke's win over Florida Gulf Coast. Credit: CHUCK LIDDY
DURHAM—Thanks to 30 unanswered points, No. 9 Duke was able to pull away from Florida Gulf Coast for a 88-67 win.
Head coach Mike Krzyzewski said he had been concerned about how his team would respond after the big win against Kentucky. The Blue Devils, though, handled the Eagles with ease.
Mason Plumlee led Duke with a career-high 28 points on 9-of-11 shooting from the floor, and he also went 10-for-11 from the line. 
“They didn’t have an answer for Mason inside,” Krzyzewski said. “We took advantage of that.”

Game preview: Duke vs. Florida Gulf Coast



Duke vs. Florida Gulf Coast

When: 8 p.m.

Where: Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham

TV/Radio: ESPNU/ WKIX-102.9 FM

Projected starting lineups:

Postgame: thoughts from Duke's 75-68 win over Kentucky


Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski thought Seth Curry was the difference-maker for Duke in its win over Kentucky. Credit: CHUCK LIDDY

ATLANTA—It was a matchup with March Madness-level intensity. And here's a fittingly in-depth analysis from yours truly: 

First: the game story from No. 9 Duke's 75-68 win over No. 3 Kentucky and the full story behind John Calipari's comments on Duke flopping at halftime.

***Duke needs all three of its seniors to be successful.

The trio of Mason PlumleeRyan Kelly and Seth Curry is greater than the sum of its individual parts. That’s not to say that, as individuals, they’re not good, but the three of them clicking on the court will be necessary for future Duke success.

Kentucky coach John Calipari on his halftime criticism of Duke: "It was a joke"


Kentucky coach John Calipari offered a critique of Duke's defense in a halftime interview. Credit: CHUCK LIDDY

ATLANTA—Kentucky head coach John Calipari didn't mince words when asked for his thoughts in a halftime television interview.

"They're flopping all over the place," Calipari said of Duke's defense. "In the NBA, they'd all be suspended."

When Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski was told of Calipari's comments after the game, he gave a tongue-and-cheek response the drew a few chuckles from the media assembled at the press conference. 

Game preview: Duke vs. Kentucky, with thoughts on Alex Murphy


Duke needs length on the floor against Kentucky, so expect to see more of Amile Jefferson or Alex Murphy. Credit: CHUCK LIDDY

Duke vs. Kentucky
When:  9:30 p.m.

Where: Georgia Dome, Atlanta

TV/radio: ESPN/ WKIX-102.9 FM

One-sentence summary that links to longer explanation: Experience meets youth

Projected starting lineups

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