In the premier matchup of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, Duke surged to beat Ohio State 73 to 68. The Blue Devils and the Buckeyes showed their tough defensive side as each team had one their lowest scoring games, Ohio State earning their lowest point total of the season. Down eight points at the half, Duke stormed back with the leadership of veteran Mason Plumlee and the pure athleticism of freshman Rasheed Sulaimon.
See a live blog update below from sports editor Andrew Beaton. Check back for a game story with quotes from players and coaches.
Duke 73 Ohio State 68 (Final): Plumlee went 2-for-2 from the line and Cook converted on a crafty drive to build Duke’s edge shortly after they took the lead. The Blue Devils were in control the rest of the way. ‘Sheed is a big reason why. The youngster has scored 17 points, all in the second half, to help Duke battle back. Cook came up clutch in the closing seconds by making his free throws.
Duke 58 Ohio State 56 (2:31, second half): It’s coming down to the wire here at Cameron Indoor. Craft hit a tough mid-range shot to cut Duke’s lead to two. Duke has possession.
Duke 58 Ohio State 54 (3:48, second half): Ryan Kelly for three. Tie game. Ryan Kelly for three again, and the Blue Devils had the lead.
I’m not sure when Cameron Indoor Stadium has been loudest tonight, but that could be because I’m going slowly deaf—this is a UNC-like atmosphere here. Oh, and another Mason Plumlee dunk, go figure.
And even though the offense has been running less through Mason Plumlee late in the second half, he has continued to grab rebounds every step of the way. He now has 15.
Duke 50 Ohio State 53 (6:30, second half): ‘Sheeeeeeed. Getting aggressive on the offensive end, he got a trip to the line and then nailed a trey to bring this game within one.
Ohio State was able to respond to extend it back to three, but now they really have to deal with him and Plumlee, not to mention Cook’s aggressive tempto.
Duke 46, Ohio State 48 (8:40, second half): The only man consistently helping Mason Plumlee on offense is Rasheed Sulaimon. Cook has helped a lot without scoring, regularly pushing the ball up the floor, but it’s been ‘Sheed who has been getting buckets. He has nine second half points after going scoreless in the first 20 minutes. And he seems to have Coach K’s trust, staying in the floor, after regularly getting subbed in and out earlier.
Mason Plumlee has 16 points and 13 rebounds. He might need to have a 20-20 game for Duke to win. He is getting a much-needed break now, though, he was looking worn out from all his work.
Duke 38, Ohio State 42 (11:55, second half): Ohio State had extended its lead back to eight but Duke is finally gaining some consistency on the offensive end. The margin narrowed back to four after an acrobatic jumper from Sulaimon and a nifty lay-in from Cook.
Coach K finally subbed in near the 12-minute mark, for the first time in the second half. The sub? You guessed it—or, I mean, you probably didn’t—Alex Murphy.
Duke 34, Ohio State 37 (14:16, second half): There are few bigs in the nation. who run the floor as well as Mason Plumlee. He’s in a class with Cody Zeller. Although Duke has struggled in halfcourt sets, Quinn found him again in transition for a slam.
On the next possession, after Plumlee battled for an offensive rebound, he found Rasheed Sulaimon who hit a much-needed 3-pointer when Plumlee dished it out.
He already has a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Duke 27, Ohio State 33 (17:28, second half): If Cameron Indoor Stadium needed a jolt, they just got it. Pushing the ball up court, Quinn Cook floated one to Mason Plumlee and the ball appeared to be out of his reach. But Plumlee extended and slammed it home one-handed with authority for the alley-oop, one destined for Sportscenter. And it forced Thad Matta to call a timeout, with the Buckeyes rocked by the slam.
That was the loudest Cameron has been all night—and it has been loud.
Duke 23, Ohio State 31 (halftime): Duke was able to survive in the Battle 4 Atlantis despite poor 3-point shooting, usually a trademark of Coach K teams, but the same has not been true today. Duke is 1-of-7 from deep midway through this game. Their savior? Going 10-of 12 from the foul line. Ohio State, meanwhile is just 5-of-8.
The Blue Devils had no offensive flow in the half. The Buckeyes have athleticism at every position on the floor and they’re smothering Duke from even outside the 3-point arc.
The player struggling the most may be freshman guard Rasheed Sulaimon, who has been regularly subbed in and out throughout the half. The same has been true for Ryan Kelly, who began the game guarding Deshaun Thomas. But after Thomas racked up eight early points, Kelly has seen some time on the bench. They were attacking him—Kelly has improved as a technically sound defender, he recorded 10 blocks in three games in the Bahamas, but he still lacks a natural athleticism. The Buckeyes have exploited that early.
Oh, and say this about Quinn Cook: He’s becoming a demigod among the Cameron Crazies. His defensive effort at the end of the first half was phenomenal, knocking away loose balls and diving for them on the ground. Something else the Crazies love: He has spent a lot of energy jawing at the Buckeyes, clearly frustrating them.
There was a potential for a brawl at the end of the half, fighting for a loose ball in front of the Ohio State bench, with Mason Plumlee at the center. But he maturely just ran out and to the locker room, avoiding all confrontation.
Notable halftime stats:
Duke 1-of-7 from 3-point range. OSU with 11 offensive rebounds, Duke with three. Overall, Duke just 6-of-20 from the field. Ohio State with just four turnovers. Mason Plumlee is leading all scorers with 10 points. He also leads all with eight boards. Makes it even more remarkable how Duke is getting killed on the boards. Duke 21, Ohio State 28 (3:24, first half): If you could give a summary in one statistic, it would be this: Nine offensive rebounds for Ohio State, one for Duke.
And the Blue Devils’ first just came from Josh Hairston, who put home a pretty put-back to bring Duke within five. Smith Jr. responded quickly with a floater, though.
And there’s no doubt things are getting chippy out there—Cook looked like he wanted to start something after fighting for a ball near halfcourt.
Duke 18, Ohio State 24 (6:09, first half): Say this about Duke—the reason the Blue Devils are hanging in this game is free throws. They are currently 9-of-10 from the floor. But they have no offensive mojo and aren’t finding the open guys. On one possession, Lenzelle Smith Jr., who is just 6-foot-4, switched onto Plumlee after a screen. The Duke guards couldn’t Plumlee. Even after that, he continued to demand the ball, getting to the line on the next possession. And he hit both.