Revisiting the three keys to the game:
- Better Bench Production: Apart from Cook, the production of Duke's bench was the story of the game. Jones showcased his abilities on the defensive side of the ball, hounding Wolverine guard Nik Stauskas and preventing him from getting any open looks. The 18 minutes for the DeSoto, Texas, native were a career high. After a quiet first half, Dawkins provided a key offensive spark, knocking down a pair of 3-pointers to double the Duke lead from 46-40 to 52-40. Finally, Plumlee had a breakout game, scoring two points in traffic down low, grabbing three rebounds and making hustle plays. He was also a physical force on the defensive end that helped make Wolverine forward Mitch McGary uncomfortable.
- Jabari Parker Needs to Bounce Back: Parker finished the game with 15 points on 7-of-14 shooting, snagging six rebounds and committing just one turnover. Overall the freshman phenom had a quality night, rebounding from an off performance against then-No. 4 Arizona last week in New York, but he didn't put up the eye-popping numbers that many Duke fans had come to expect after the freshman's first seven games. Parker drew double- and sometimes triple-teams from the Wolverines, but he was able to pass out of them to set up better shots for teammates. Parker went 0-for-2 from behind the arc, leaving him without a 3-pointer in the last three Blue Devil contests.
- Stop Nik Stauskas: Despite his height advantage at 6-foot-6, the sophomore guard from Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, struggled mightily all night against the Duke defense. He finished just 0-of-2 from the field, scoring all four of his points from the free throw line. Not only were Jones and senior guard Tyler Thornton able to keep Stauskas in check, but they didn't even let him get good enough looks at the basket to pull the trigger. Entering the contest as Michigan's leading scorer at 20.3 points per game, his disappearance on the offensive end left the Wolverines looking for answers as the game wore on.
Three key plays
- 0:05 remaining first half: Tyler Thornton drills his second corner 3-pointer of the half to beat the first-half buzzer and give Duke a 10-point edge at 32-22 heading into the locker room. The big shot salvaged an otherwise dismal long-range shooting performance by Duke in the first half—with the exception of Thornton, Duke was 2-for-10 from behind the arc.
- 6:43 remaining, second half: Dawkins finishes a pretty drive for Duke's fourth field goal in as many possessions, pushing the lead to 57-42. Dawkins started the run by hitting consecutive 3-pointers, and Cook followed with one of his own.
- 1:30 remaining, second half: Rodney Hood is called for a violation while inbounding the ball, eliciting some choice words from Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski. Coach K was subsequently assessed a technical foul, and Michigan closed what had been a 68-52 lead to 10 before Duke's free throw shooting closed out the win.
Three key stats
- Duke outrebounds Michigan 32-31: The Wolverines came into Tuesday's game averaging 40 rebounds per contest, but Duke—which has struggled on the boards early this season—emerged with a victory on the glass. The Wolverines got just nine second-chance points.
- Zero minutes for 'Sheed: Duke again started both Tyler Thornton and Josh Hairston, relegating sophomores Amile Jefferson and Rasheed Sulaimon to the bench. While Jefferson played 17 minutes, he was plagued by foul trouble and entered the game after Plumlee. Sulaimon, on the other hand, saw no action at all, seeing his minutes eaten up by the productivity of Jones and Dawkins.
- Two technical fouls on Duke: The Blue Devils were whistled for their first two technical fouls of the season, one apiece for Cook and Krzyzewski. The second whistle was somewhat of a game-changer—after Stauskas made one of the two foul shots, Michigan scored on each of its final seven possessions, but the Blue Devils were able to close out the game with near-perfect free-throw shooting.
And the Duke game ball goes to....Quinn Cook
Cook looks primed to become Duke's third offensive weapon behind Parker and Rodney Hood. The junior scored all 24 of his points in the second half, and also dished out nine assists. Cook scored in a variety of ways, knocking down two of his seven 3-point attempts, finishing difficult drives at the rim, and going a perfect 10-of-10 from the free throw line. Always fiery on defense, he helped Duke get off to a good start in the second half by picking Stauskas' pocket and earning an easy layup at the other end.
And the Michigan game ball goes to....Caris LeVert
With Stauskas rendered ineffective and Glenn Robinson III not producing much either, LeVert became the go-to scorer for the Wolverines in the second half. McGary finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds, but it was LeVert who was driving the lane and setting up most of his team's scoring opportunities. The sophomore tied a season-high with 24 points on 8-of-18 shooting. Four of his biggest points came on back-to-back dunks late in the game, as Michigan fought to cut the Duke lead in the final minutes. While John Beilein will need more production from Stauskas and Robinson III moving forward, he can rest assured that he has another scorer on the floor in LeVert.