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Beyond the arc: Duke basketball vs. Clemson

No. 1 Duke basketball stayed perfect on the season, despite losing Ryan Kelly in the first half, knocking off Clemson by the score of 68-40.

Here's your postgame breakdown:

Revisiting the three keys to the game:

  • Get Mason the ball early: Well Duke certainly got Mason enough touches in the first half -- he took seven field goals and four free throws -- but it didn't solve his recent offensive deficiencies. Mason had just four points in the first half and ended the game with eight, the first time he's scored in single-digits all season.
  • Convert free throws: Things got even worse at the stripe for the Blue Devils. As a team they made just 6-of-14 from the line. Mason Plumlee made just 2-for-4 from the charity stripe, continuing his recent struggles.
  • Contain Devin Booker: Booker was a monster rebounder tonight, snagging 15 boards, eight of them offensive. Even though he put in 12 points, Booker made just 5-of-13 shots.

Three key plays of the game:

  • 14:32, first half: Quinn Cook took a pretty pass from Tyler Thornton on a backdoor play to put in an easy layup. Nearly five and a half minutes into the game, this was the first field goal made by either team. For five and a half minutes the only points on the board were three free throws, two for the Tigers and one for Duke.
  • 4:48, second half: Amile Jefferson, who received extra minutes in the second half due to Ryan Kelly's injury, came up with a big steal and took it to the rack himself for the layup and the foul. Jefferson converted the free throw, giving Duke a 57-36 lead. Jefferson was extremely active in his nine minutes, scoring five points and grabbing three rebounds -- one offensive -- in addition to his steal.
  • 1:03, second half: Quinn Cook puts in yet another layup, giving him a career-high 27 points, demolishing his previous high of 17 set against Minnesota earlier this season. Cook scored nine straight Duke points spanning from 3:37 to 1:03 mark. Clemson scored just three points in that stretch.

Three key stats:

  • Clemson shot 28.3 percent from the field: A truly woeful performance shooting the ball for the Tigers. The bench was especially bad from the field, combining to make just two of their 15 attempts. From beyond the arc Clemson shot just 1-of-9, a late three by Milton Jennings.
  • Quinn Cook scored a career-high 27: Cook more than redeemed himself for his unfathomable 0-of-12 performance against Wake Forest. The Duke point guard drilled 12-of-16 from the field -- 3-of-5 from three. Cook breezed into the paint time and again for easy layups, mitigating the loss of Ryan Kelly for the second half.
  • Duke won the rebounding battle 39-28: The Blue Devils have had their share of troubles rebounding this season, but not tonight. Part of the solution could have been an incredible quantity of misses from Clemson, but the fact remains that Duke was in control of the glass all night.

And the Duke game ball goes to...Quinn Cook: This was an easy one. The charismatic floor general was in complete control all night. Aside from his prolific scoring, Cook added five boards, five assists, and four steals. Ryan Kelly was well on his way to another fantastic game before injury took him out, but Cook more than replaced the injured big man with his production on the court.

And the Clemson game ball goes to...Devin Booker: As mentioned earlier, Booker was a monster on the glass tonight and added a team-high 12 points. Put into perspective, his 5-of-13 shooting -- 38.5 percent -- looks great compared to the 28.3 percent the Tigers shot as a team. Booker also added a couple resounding rejections patrolling the paint.


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