Despite trailing most of the way, No. 2 Duke rallied past No. 4 Ohio State 73-68 at Cameron Indoor Stadium last night, giving the Blue Devils the win in this year's ACC/Big Ten Challenge and revenge for last year's embarrassment at the hand of the Buckeyes.
Here are today's game stories from the action that you should make sure to catch up on:
- Mason Plumlee put Duke on his back in the victory, recording 21 points and 17 rebounds as he fought all night, even when the Blue Devils had no mojo:
Even with Duke trailing nearly the entire game, Mason Plumlee looked like a man unwilling to lose. The forward recorded a double-double less than five minutes into the second half, but the Blue Devils were still losing, unable to break through with their senior co-captain looking as if he were playing one-against-five at times.
But thanks to Rasheed Sulaimon and Ryan Kelly emerging as his perfect sidekicks, Duke’s senior superhero walked off the court a man who maintained his team’s undefeated record with a third win against a top-five opponent.
The No. 2 Blue Devils (7-0) rallied to defeat No. 4 Ohio State (4-1) 73-68 at Cameron Indoor Stadium Wednesday night with Plumlee recording 21 points and 17 rebounds in a highlight-filled but grueling 39 minutes of action.
“He’s one of the best players in the country. His performance tonight was magnificent,” Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “My guys are unbelievable to win this game.”
Even with Duke failing to generate any offensive mojo in the first half, scoring just 23 points in the period on 6-of-20 shooting, Plumlee was able to send the crowd into a frenzy on multiple occasions. None was more impressive and emblematic of his man-on-a-mission mentality than a one-handed alley-oop he slammed home off a Quinn Cook pass that appeared to be off target.
- Wednesday's win sealed a November to remember for the Blue Devils with three wins against top-five opponents and a comeback for the ages at Cameron Indoor Stadium:
With Ohio State leading 31-23 at halftime, having outplayed the Blue Devils in every facet of the game, Duke looked sluggish and out-of-sync, but it was lucky that its deficit was not greater. The athletic Buckeye lineup was outhustling Duke and grabbed 11 offensive rebounds in the first half. On both ends, the feisty Ohio State guards were having their way with Duke’s starting backcourt, which combined for a meager four first-half points.
“I thought we were being put in positions that were less advantageous to run good offense [in the first half],” Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. The raucous crowd at Cameron Indoor Stadium could sense the post-Thanksgiving hangover reoccurring for Duke.
After all, the Blue Devils were virtually in the same position a year ago—coming off the emotional-high of winning one of the premiere Thanksgiving tournaments in college basketball. Last November, a host of factors—fatigue, immaturity and lack of togetherness—led to Duke’s embarrassing 85-63 demise on the road against Buckeyes, who eventually marched on to the Final Four. The early-season setback foreshadowed the Blue Devils’ future: an upset loss on the opening-weekend of the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
The Blue Devils were seemingly on the verge of getting knocked out for the second-straight year in the ACC/Big 10 Challenge. With its 96-game non-conference-home winning streak on the line and payback on the players’ minds, Duke came out of the locker room with a swagger in the second half—something fans never saw in last season’s squad.
And here is our postgame video from the floor of Cameron Indoor Stadium alongside Duke Student Broadcasting: