The Blue Devils stay perfect this season, defeating Elon 76-54 at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The victory is Duke's 100th consecutive non-conference victory at home. After another slow start, Duke pulled away in the second half on the strength of Mason Plumlee's 21 points and 16 rebounds.
Here's your postgame breakdown:
Revisiting the Key Three:
- Can the Phoenix score enough to hang with the Blue Devils: Elon matched Duke in the first half scoring, and again at points in the second, but didn't have the firepower to combat the Blue Devils' potent offense. Mason Plumlee had his way with the Phoenix inside and the entire team shot well from beyond the arc, hitting 57.9 percent of its three point attempts.
- Who will win the turnover battle: Duke struggled mightily with turnovers in the first half, but ended up with only 12 on the game compared to 17 for the Phoenix. Ryley Beaumont and Jack Isenbarger were the main culprits for Elon, combining for 10 of the 17 turnovers themselves. Duke had no player with more than two turnovers.
- Where does Marshall fit in: Marshall didn't play tonight due to a sore foot. Plumlee figures to play a big role off the bench once he's healthy, but for now those minutes will be monopolized by Josh Hairston and Amile Jefferson.
Three key plays:
- 00:01, first half: Quinn Cook takes his fourth rebound of the night and sprints up the floor before heaving just over half-court and knocking down the buzzer-beater. Cook's shot gave Duke an eight point advantage heading to the locker room and gave his team much needed momentum. Cook was just 1-for-4 from the field before knocking down that shot.
- 11:49, second half: Tyler Thornton finally found his offensive stroke. With the team struggling offensively, the most unlikely source of offense stepped up and hit not one, but two three-pointers in a row to give Duke a 14-point lead. The threes forced Elon to call a timeout and was the start of a Blue Devil 11-0 run.
- 5:16, second half: With Elon trying to make a run to get back into the game, Seth Curry stepped up and buried a three-pointer to extend Duke's lead back to 18 and keep the lead comfortable for the duration of the game. That shot was Curry's only three of the night, as he struggled most of the game. He shot just 3-of-10 from the field and a shocking 1-of-5 from the free throw line.
Three key stats:
- Nine offensive rebounds for Mason Plumlee: Plumlee has completely dominant once again Thursday night. Plumlee was good in the first half, but came out with extra aggression in the second half and helped put Duke ahead comfortably. Plumlee's nine offensive rebounds are five more than the total offensive rebounds for the Phoenix. Mason had 16 rebounds in total, a high for the game.
- Eight rebounds for Quinn Cook: Cook has made a concerted effort to be a strong defensive rebounder this season, and it's showing. With Ryan Kelly struggling to rebound this season -- he had just five tonight -- Cook has stepped up and was second on the team in rebounding this game. Cook made up for his struggles shooting the ball by grabbing those eight rebounds, coming up with four steals, and doling out three assists.
- Duke shot 57.9 percent for three: Almost every Duke shooter was on their game from deep, even though the team struggled some from inside the arc. Discounting Seth Curry's 1-for-4 effort, Duke was an astounding 10-of-15 for three. With Mason Plumlee commanding respect on the block, the opportunity has arisen for Duke's shooters to wreak havoc on opposing defenses.
And the Duke game ball goes to...Mason Plumlee. Who else? Plumlee was dominant all night, despite some foul trouble. Plumlee has been good for a double-double nearly every night, and has scored 20 points seemingly at ease. Mason continues to shoot effectively from the field and has been a force on the offensive glass, making up for the absence of his younger brother. Plumlee's 16 rebounds was more than Elon's top two rebounders combined for Thursday night.
And the Elon game ball goes to...Sebastian Koch. Koch was lighting up Duke from deep in the first half, but cooled off as the game progressed. Koch averages just 7.9 points and 5.0 rebounds per game, but racked up a team-high 14 points and nine rebounds against the Blue Devils. Koch ended the night 4-of-5 from beyond the arc.