92-78 Duke, Final: Well folks, this one is in the books. Check tomorrow's paper for a full story and analysis of tonight's game.
84-71 Duke, 3:06 remaining in the second half: Seth Curry just fouled out. Just indicative of how tightly this one has been called around the perimeter.
82-70 Duke, 3:56 remaining in the second half:
Well, it seems I may have been writing about the wrong Plumlee all night. Sure, Mason has five blocks and seven boards (all of which came in the first half, it should be noted), but his older brother is just one rebound away from a double-double. His 13 points and nine rebounds have come exceptionally quietly, but their importance likely can't be overstated. Having that kind of inside presence has been crucial during such a poor shooting night by Smith (who has 18 points despite 7-of-17 shooting) and Singler.
77-66 Duke, 4:54 remaining in the second half:
Eight points for NC State, sandwiched by three-pointers by Ryan Harrow and Scott Wood brought the crowd here at the RBC Center to its loudest level of the game, but a huge—and deep—three by Singler silenced them yet again.
70-58 Duke, 7:27 remaining in the second half: Lots of made shots over the last four minutes, with each squad holding serve as the game nears the stretch run. C.J. Leslie had what was likely the game's most electrifying moment, going around several Duke defenders before finishing in the lane with a thunderous dunk.
63-50 Duke, 11:05 remaining in the second half: Somehow Mason Plumlee just picked up his first foul of the game; that's the kind of well-positioned defense he has been playing all night. Smith is starting to drive to the hole much more effectively, opening up shots for his teammates all over the floor. Still, though, Singler and Smith are a combined 9-for-28 from the floor, with most of those makes coming in the first half.
52-46 Duke, 14:48 remaining in the second half: Sidney Lowe sure drew up some nice plays to get NC State some easy looks on the inside here to start the second half. They've been drawing Mason Plumlee out towards the corner, and then working the ball inside to exploit the other interior defenders. Duke's offense has devolved into hoisting contested threes without a lot of passing. The Blue Devils are now 3-17 from downtown on the night, and haven't made a trey since 8:15 remained in the first half.
44-37 Duke, 17:47 remaining in the second half: NC State went into a full-court press following the timeout, leading to a quick steal. Mason Plumlee rose about 14 feet to block the alley-oop try, but an offensive rebound gave the Wolfpack another easy bucket.
44-35 Duke, 18:12 remaining in the second half: A quick start to the second half by NC State has the Wolfpack fan base in a tizzy and Coach K burning his first timeout. Ryan Kelly made a jumper on the first Blue Devil possession, but six unanswered points by NC State have Duke looking for answers.
42-28 Duke, Halftime: Complementing Mason nicely under the hoop has been Ryan Kelly, who racked up five rebounds and two blocks in the half.
Here are some pretty interesting halftime stats:
Field goal percentages: Duke 50.0% on 15-of-30 shooting, NC State 21.6% on 8-37 shooting.
NC State has 11 offensive rebounds to Duke's five.
Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly have combined for seven blocks, the Wolfpack have none.
42-27 Duke, 1:25 remaining in the first half: My apologies for neglecting to mention that part of the Blue Devils' defensive success can be attributed to the 2-3 zone they've been running since the middle of the half. NC State has insisted on continuing to work the ball inside, leading to altered or blocked shots, largely.
37-26 Duke, 3:54 remaining in the first half: Kyle Singler has had a tough night thus far, shooting just 1-for-7 on mostly-open looks. Mason has been everywhere on defense with five blocked shots and a batted-down inbound pass, along with five rebounds, to his name. For the Wolfpack, C.J. Leslie and Tracy Smith, the team's top two scorers, are a combined 3-for-12.
33-22 Duke, 7:01 remaining in the first half: Well, if there's anything downside to the way the Blue Devils have played thus far, it's that nothing they do will get much better than this. The team is shooting over 60% and has seen scoring from eight different players. Meanwhile, the Wolfpack is shooting a woeful 26.9% from the floor, having to hoist shots from all around the outside because of Duke's suffocating interior defense. The game is not even as close as the score indicates, but an overzealous officiating crew has put both teams at the foul line with regularity.
27-16 Duke, 9:17 remaining in the first half: The Blue Devils have already sent nine players to the court, including Hairston, Curry, Miles Plumlee and Tyler Thornton. But it's working, and Dawkins is proving he belongs in the starting lineup: 8 points without missing a shot.
13-12 Duke, 11:32 remaining in the first half: During the last timeout it appeared that NC State had more coaches than players on the floor to discuss strategy, but it's hard to fault their methods after watching them over the last few minutes. The Wolfpack were just a missed fast break layup away from tying the game at 11 before a Mason Plumlee putback dunk extended the lead to four. But, Scott Wood's first make from downtown has the crowd in a tizzy—and NC State just one point behind—but Seth Curry will shoot three foul shots after the timeout.
Quick look at stats: Duke is outrebounding the Wolfpack 14-7, and Smith has three turnovers already. But the younger Plumlee has three blocks and four rebounds, and is controlling the paint.
11-3 Duke, 15:01 remaining in the first half: Dawkins and Singler added buckets for the Blue Devils to extend the lead early. The Wolfpack offense has been entirely ineffective so far. Scott Wood has missed several threes, and C.J. Leslie has been able to get nothing going on the inside. Josh Hairston and the elder Plumlee checked in around the 16-minute mark.
Easy block call on Singler; Leslie will shoot two on the other side of the first TV timeout.
7-2 Duke, 16:44 remaining in the first half: Wolfpack coach Sidney Lowe is rocking his signature red blazer, but to no avail thus far for NC State. Mason Plumlee has recorded two blocks on Duke's first two defensive sets, and five points from Dawkins has Duke up early. Quick side note: Javier Gonzalez is listed at 6' 0", but he's at least three inches shorter than that.
Pregame: Welcome all to the RBC Center near the campus of NC State for tonight's matchup between the Blue Devils and Wolfpack.
We'll get right to it, here are the starting lineups:
Nolan Smith, G
Andre Dawkins, G
Kyle Singler, F
Ryan Kelly, F
Mason Plumlee, F
Lorenzo Brown, G
C.J. Leslie, F
Scott Wood, F
Javier Gonzalez, G
Tracy Smith, F
No surprises here besides Dawkins getting the start over Seth Curry. The move isn't entirely surprising considering Dawkins' hot shooting hand, but we'll see if the sophomore can keep that going tonight.
A mathcup to watch will be Kyle Singler matching up against Wolfpack freshman C.J. Leslie, who has already won ACC Rookie of the Week honors three times.