Duke in the NBA: Dunleavy, Deng set to play bigger roles as injury bug bites contenders

As the beginning of March arrives, the majority of teams are set to make one last strong push in preparation for the playoffs in the last quarter of the season:

Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers: The Cleveland Cavaliers star sat out the team’s first two games of the week with a left shoulder strain and his proficient scoring was sorely missed by the Cavs in tough losses to the Pacers, 93-86, and Rockets, 105-103.

However, the rest seemed to have a positive impact on the 22 year-old standout, who corrected Cleveland’s recent woes by playing a big role in each of the team’s victories against Boston and Toronto. Irving totaled 18 points—on an efficient 6-of-10 shooting performance—against the Celtics in a blowout victory, 110-79, Tuesday and poured in 26 points—hitting nine of his 17 shots—to help the Cavaliers beat the Raptors 120-112 Wednesday. The youngest player on the Cavs has settled into his role nicely as King James’ sidekick, evidenced by his 23.4 points-per-game average and 45... Read more

Quinn Cook, Sean Kelly address the Cameron faithful on Senior Night

After Duke completed the demolition of Wake Forest Wednesday night, topping the Demon Deacons 94-51, seniors Quinn Cook and Sean Kelly addressed the crowd one final time on their home floor. Here is what each had to say.

Quinn Cook

“Time has wings. I remember four years ago I was here watching Nolan [Smith], his last game here. It’s surreal that I’m here, and he’s here with me. “

“This has been the greatest rollercoaster of my life. I’ve had the opportunity to showcase my talent with the best fans in the world. Through thick and thin: losses; the big wins; you guys meeting us in the circle—that means a lot. We don’t take that for granted.”

“We came a long way, us three together. Nobody gave us a chance. But me, I’m going to graduate from Duke University, the greatest University in the world.”

“I get a lot of credit for being this great leader and blah, blah, blah, but these guys make my job, and Amile’s job easy as captains. These guys are so humble. There are no egos... Read more

Beyond the Arc: Duke basketball vs. Wake Forest

As the bench has dwindled all season long, Grayson Allen has been given more opportunities to make an impact. Wednesday night, the freshman exploded.

Allen scored 27 points as No. 3 Duke dismantled Wake Forest 94-51 at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Jacksonville, Fla., native entered the game with 13:37 left in the first half and immediately began torching the nets, scoring 11 points in less than three minutes. Fifteen Demon Deacon turnovers allowed the Blue Devils to build a gigantic lead early—Duke scored the first 12 points—that stretched into a 52-15 lead at the half. Sophomore Matt Jones scored 11 of his team's first 13 points after intermission as the Blue Devils coasted to their 10th straight conference win.

Revisiting the three keys to the game:

  • Handle Devin Thomas: In the first meeting between the teams Jan. 7 in Winston-Salem, N.C... Read more

HALFTIME: Duke 52, Wake Forest 15

Nearly two months after having to squeak out a single-digit victory in Winston-Salem, Duke has wasted no time pulling away from Wake Forest at home on Senior night, entering the half up 52-15.

Duke started out the night on a 12-0 run before Demon Deacon first-year head coach Danny Manning called timeout to settle his players.

For a moment, it seemed like it might have worked as Wake Forest’s Mitchell Wilbekin notched five points to put the Demon Deacons on the board. From there, however, Wake Forest went scoreless for the next five minutes.

And for the Blue Devils, Grayson Allen took over. The freshman came in to score 11 points in a four-minute stretch and put Duke up 31-5 by converting a four-point play with 9:58 left in the half. Although he slowed down a little in his second time on the court, Allen added eight more points to beat his career high of 18 against Presbyterian and push his total to 19 points. He did it in just nine minutes.

Fellow freshman Justise Winslow provided a big spark for Duke's transition game with three steals and 10 points... Read more

Tony Romo, Jason Garrett visit Duke basketball for second straight year

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo beat Quinn Cook in a game of Horse last year ahead of the Blue Devils' home contest against North Carolina, but the Duke guard made sure he got some revenge this time around.

Romo and head coach Jason Garrett visited the No. 3 Blue Devils for the second straight year ahead of their Wednesday night contest against Wake Forest at 8 p.m. at Cameron Indoor Stadium, per Duke Blue Planet's Twitter and YouTube accounts.

Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray and tight end Jason Witten also joined his quarterback and head coach for the visit, which according to Romo was partly so Dallas' leaders could learn from being around legendary Blue Devil head coach Mike Krzyzewski.

X factor: Duke basketball vs. Wake Forest

It is only fitting that Quinn Cook is the x-factor in his final game at Cameron Wednesday night.
Darbi Griffith / The Chronicle

It is only fitting that Quinn Cook is the x-factor in his final game at Cameron Wednesday night.

The third-ranked Blue Devils will look to run their win streak to double-digits Wednesday against Wake Forest at 8 p.m. at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke defeated the Demon Deacons 73-65 in a hard-fought matchup earlier this season and will look to send senior Quinn Cook off in a winning fashion in the last home game of the season. Before every game this season, the Blue Zone will select a player on both teams that could make a difference for their respective squads.

Duke: guard Quinn Cook

The 6-foot-2 guard will play his final game in Cameron as he looks to make one last great memory on Senior Night. After struggling with inconsistency in his first three seasons, Cook’s play has taken off in his final year despite the adjustment he has had to make playing with freshman Tyus Jones.

For Cook, the biggest improvement has been his shooting from the floor. The Washington native has shot a career high 46-percent this season and his ability to shoot the three-ball has allowed the Blue Devils to space the floor effectively... Read more

The key three: Duke basketball vs. Wake Forest

In senior captain Quinn Cook's final game on the hardwood of Cameron Indoor Stadium, No. 3 Duke takes on Wake Forest Wednesday at 8 p.m. The two squads met in early January, with the Blue Devils prevailing in a tight 73-65 contest. With just two games remaining in the regular season, Duke is already locked into the No. 2 or No. 3 seed in next week's ACC tournament. Here are three keys to the Blue Devils extending their winning streak to double digits:

Handle Thomas

The last time these two teams faced, junior forward Devin Thomas scored 24 points and had all four of Wake Forest’s offensive rebounds. Although the Demon Deacon forward has been held to single digit scoring the past two games, he recently dropped 26 points against then-No. 10 Notre Dame and recorded five rebounds during his short 16-minute stint against No. 2 Virginia in Wake Forest’s narrow one-point loss. Fourth overall in the ACC in rebounds, Thomas is recording an average of 9... Read more

Around the ACC: Week 15

With just one week left in the regular season, the race for byes in the upcoming ACC tournament is heating up:

1. No. 2 Virginia (27-1, 15-1 in the ACC): The Cavaliers extended their winning streak to eight and captured at least a share of the ACC regular season title with a pair of victories at Wake Forest and at home against in-state rival Virginia Tech. Tony Bennett’s team held the Demon Deacons to 15 first half points and cruised to a 70-34 victory despite the absences of starters Justin Anderson and London Perrantes due to injury. The Hokies kept Saturday’s game more interesting—and found themselves down just four points with 7:32 remaining in the game—but Virginia was able to pull away behind Malcolm Brogdon’s 19 points and a stingy defensive second half effort. The Cavaliers will travel to Syracuse Monday and attempt to secure a second consecutive outright regular season title.

2. No... Read more

Thoughts on the AP Poll: Week 15

With a surprisingly close win against Virginia Tech and a dominating performance against Syracuse, the Blue Devils jumped to No. 3 in this week's poll:

Duke handles both Virginia Tech and Syracuse, moves up one spot:

In what was supposed to be an easy game for the Blue Devils, the Hokies challenged them from the tip, eventually losing to the then-No. 4 team in the nation 91-86 in overtime Wednesday. Leading at halftime by two, Virginia Tech looked well on its way to stunning Duke. However, strong second-half play from Jahlil Okafor and Quinn Cook—who combined for 26 points in the period—forced overtime. It was more of the same for Duke in the extra session, with Okafor and Cook leading the way to victory. The highly touted center totaled 30 points and nine rebounds in one of his best outings of the year.

Saturday, Duke looked every bit like the No. 4 team in the country with a resounding 73-54 victory against Syracuse... Read more

Duke women's basketball Player of the Week: Week 15

The Blue Devils' got a boost from resilient post player Amber Henson on their way to Sunday's upset of North Carolina.
Elysia Su / The Chronicle

The Blue Devils' got a boost from resilient post player Amber Henson on their way to Sunday's upset of North Carolina.

Amber Henson

Statline: Thursday at Georgia Tech: Six points on 2-of-8 shooting, six rebounds, two steals, one assist and one block in 23 minutes. Sunday vs. No. 15 North Carolina: 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting, five rebounds, three assists, three blocks and two steals in 34 minutes.

Elysia Su / The Chronicle

The good: The No. 16 Blue Devils notched a dramatic home victory against No. 15 North Carolina 81-80 Sunday on Senior Day in yet another episode of the most important college basketball rivalry in the nation. With this triumph, head coach Joanne P... Read more