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Duke Now is your place for Blue Devil hoops and football. Beat writer Laura Keeley has up-to-the-minute news and analysis. Columnist Luke DeCock also contributes. Follow us on Twitter at @laurakeeley or @accnow.

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Duke's David Cutcliffe wins ACC Coach of the Year

 

For his remarkable turnaround job at Duke, David Cutcliffe is the ACC Coach of the Year. Credit: CHUCK LIDDY

In a landslide, Duke head coach David Cutcliffe is the ACC Coach of the Year. 

Cutcliffe, who led Duke to a 6-6 (3-5 in the ACC) regular season and first bowl berth since 1994, received 25 votes, more than triple the next closest candidate, Clemson's Dabo Swinney.  The six wins this year matched the combined victory total from Duke's last two seasons.

Seth Curry plays through the pain

 

Seth Curry didn't let his right shin injury slow him down in the Bahamas. Credit: JOHN BAZEMORE/AP

Heading into the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, with its daunting three games in three days schedule, Duke wasn’t sure how much Seth Curry would be able to play.

Turns out, he was able to play quite a bit.

Curry, who is nursing a nagging right shin injury (it’s expected to bother him all year), played an average of 32.7 minutes per game. More than that, he played effectively, averaging a team-high 18 points per game. That scoring clip was also tied for third overall at the tournament.

Duke CB Ross Cockrell and P Will Monday earn first-team all-ACC honors

 

Duke punter Will Monday was one of two Blue Devils to receive first-team all-ACC honors. Credit: CHRIS SEWARD

For the first time since 2003, Duke had two players selected for the first-team all-ACC squad. Overall, nine Blue Devils received all-ACC honors

CB Ross Cockrell and P Will Monday both made the first team. Cockrell, a redshirt junior and co-captain, leads the ACC with five interceptions, and he ranks third in total passes defended (17). In 12 games, he has amassed 63 tackles, 4.0 tackles for loss, and 12 pass breakups. Monday, a redshirt freshman, leads the ACC and ranks 14th nationally in punting average at 44.12 yards per punt. 

Here are two feature stories from earlier in the year, one on Cockrell and the other on Monday

For the third year in a row, Duke WR Conner Vernon was a second-team all-ACC selection. This year, he has caught a team-best (and school single-season record) 75 passes for 955 yards and seven touchdowns. Earlier this season, Vernon became the ACC’s all-time leader in both pass receptions and receiving yardage with 273 catches for 3,630 yards. In 2009, Vernon was on the freshmen all-ACC team. 

Vernon received 51 votes this year—two fewer than Boston College, WR Alex Amidon, who made the first team ahead of him. Amidon has 78 catches for 1,210 yards on the year. 

Duke QB Sean Renfree and WR Jamison Crowder named ACC players of the week

 

Sean Renfree stands deep in his own end zone before finding Jamison Crowder for a 99-yard touchdown pass. That's the longest pass play in ACC history. Credit: CHUCK LIDDY

For the first time this year, the ACC offesensive back of the week came from a team that didn't win.

And that player was Duke QB Sean Renfree.

Duke WR Jamison Crowder was also named the ACC recevier of the week. Here's what the conference's release said about both players:

Another career day for Duke WR Jamison Crowder

 

Jamison Crowder had plenty of room to run on his 99-yard touchdown reception, the longest play from scrimmage in Duke history. Credit: CHUCK LIDDY

While Duke dropped its regular-season finale to Miami, wide receiver Jamison Crowder continued his breakout year with his best performance to date.

Crowder, a sophomore, caught eight passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns against the Hurricanes. One of those touchdowns was on a 99-yard pass play, as Sean Renfree found Crowder wide open at the 35-yard line, leaving Crowder to run the remaining 64 yards for the score. It was the longest play from scrimmage in Duke football’s 100-year history.

For Crowder, Saturday’s game marked another step in his emotional recovery from the July 4 jet ski accident that left teammate and friend Blair Holliday in a coma. Crowder walked away physically unharmed and took Holliday’s receiver position in Duke’s offense. I wrote about the recovery paths for both Crowder and Holliday for our Thanksgiving paper. Check out the story if you missed it.

Postgame: thoughts from Duke's 76-71 win over Louisville

Tags: Duke Now

 

Quinn Cook with his MVP trophy after Duke won the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament. Credit: JOHN BAZEMORE/AP

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas—Before you dive into these thoughts of mine, be sure to swim over to the game story from No. 5 Duke's win over No. 2 Louisville.

And, yes, that was an attempt at cleverness at 1:30 in the morning. 

***Quinn Cook’s parents were married at the Atlantis resort 25 years ago, and his mother, Janet, said it was like a “storybook” to watch her son play and win tournament MVP.

Janet was originally supposed to return to work today but was able to stay.

Cook’s rise to treasured and trusted Duke point guard has been sudden. After two poor exhibition games, he lost his starting spot. After a good week of practice in which he tightened up his passes (and turned in a solid performance off the bench against Kentucky), Cook earned back his starting position by the Florida Gulf Coast game. He said the quick change in fortune has even surprised him.

Duke beats Louisville 76-71 in Battle 4 Atlantis final

 

Mason Plumlee had 16 points at Duke defeated Louisville to win the Battle 4 Atlantis title. Credit: JOHN BAZEMORE/AP

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas—After playing three games in three days Duke found the energy to spur the No. 5 Blue Devils to a 76-71 victory over No. 2 Louisville to win the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament. Duke has now won 23 straight regular season tournament games, a streak that dates back to 2006.

Quinn Cook, who ran Duke’s offense to perfection on Paradise Island, was named tournament MVP. Mason Plumlee was also named to the all-tournament team. 

“Everyone talks about a kid getting confidence, but it’s when a team gets confidence in a point guard that you take off,” Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “They have great confidence in Quinn. He’s earned it.” 

Miami outscores Blue Devils 52-45

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Duke RB Jela Duncan is just barely stopped as Miami LB Denzel Perryman makes a shoestring tacklein the fourth quarter. Credit: CHUCK LIDDY

DURHAM -- Duke closed the regular season Saturday with a 52-45 loss to Miami, but unlike every other season since 1994 the Blue Devils still have football to play.

A fourth straight loss left Duke 6-6 overall and 3-5 in the ACC. The Devils are eligible for their first bowl since '94, and Belk Bowl executive director Will Webb was at Wade Stadium to watch the game.

The Blue Devils, on Senior Day, got a 99-yard scoring pass from Sean Renfree to Jamison Crowder in the fourth quarter -- the longest play from scrimmage in Duke history -- and had more than enough offense. Renfree passed for 432 yards and four TDs, Crowder had eight grabs for 203 yards and two TDs and Conner Vernon 11 catches for 109 yards and two scores.

Game preview: Duke vs. Louisville

Tags: Duke Now

Mason Plumlee has two consecutive double-doubles for Duke, but he will draw his toughest assignment of the season against Lousiville. Credit: JOHN BAZEMORE/AP

7:35 p.m. update: Louisville C Gorgui Dieng is out tonight with a wrist injury. That's a huge loss for the Cardinals. 

Duke vs. Louisville

When: 9:30 p.m.

Where: Imperial Arena, Paradise Island, Bahamas

TV/Radio: NBC Sports Network/WKIX-102.9 FM

Projected starting lineups:

Postgame: thoughts from Duke's 67-58 win over VCU

 

Ryan Kelly blocks a Treveon Graham shot in Duke's win over VCU. Credit: JOHN BAZEMORE/AP

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas—Due to the compressed nature of the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament—each team plays three games in three days—Duke had less than 24 hours to prepare for Virginia Commonwealth’s havoc, pressure-heavy defense.

And the Blue Devils preparation was a little unorthodox. Instead of traveling across the large resort to the designated practice facility, Duke made its own court.

“We condensed the day,” said Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski. “We were in a big ballroom, and our managers actually put up an entire full court in one of the ballrooms with tape. Between breakfast and lunch, when he had our scouting report, we just went through how we were going to defend without taking a physical toll on our team.”