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Duke basketball Player of the Week: Week 11

Quinn Cook

Statline: Wednesday, Jan. 28 at No. 8 Notre Dame: 15 points on 5-of-11 shooting, 3-of-6 from three-point range, 2-of-2 from the free throw line, three defensive rebounds and two assists; Saturday, Jan. 31 at No. 2 Virginia: 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting, 3-of-4 on 3-pointers, 0-of-1 from the free throw line, three rebounds and one assist

The good: Cook did what he has all season for the Blue Devils—lead his team through ups and downs. Despite several obstacles and emotions in a six-day stretch, the senior captain held Duke together by playing 76 of the 80 minutes in two ACC road showdowns. The Blue Devils came up short against the Fighting Irish because they were not able to finish strong, but Saturday Cook helped his team reverse the narrative. The Washington native knocked down three late triples to fuel Duke's late 22-7 run the last 5:19 and continued exhibiting the poise that has helped the Blue Devils earn three top-six road wins already this season.

The bad: Cook contributed to some of Duke's inability to make shots fall at South Bend, missing four consecutive attempts during the time Notre Dame was closing the gap the last 10:58. The 6-foot-2 guard was on fire to start the game, but cooled off late and was not able to get himself or his teammates going down the stretch like he has so often throughout his career. Although he came up clutch again Saturday night, Cook's defense continues to be a concern as he continues to play against bigger guards on the perimeter. Regardless of whether the Blue Devils play man or zone, it is tough for Cook to maintain a high level of activity playing such big minutes.

The bottom line: Despite his cold stretch Wednesday and occasional defensive lapses, Cook combines with backcourt mate Tyus Jones to give Duke playmaking in the backcourt that most teams lack—especially late in the shot clock and late in the game. The Blue Devils likely wouldn't have even built their 10-point lead against the Fighting Irish Wednesday without timely shooting from Cook earlier in the game and he contributed to Duke's magical comeback by keeping the team together in a hostile environment. Without his poise, the Blue Devils would have had a much tougher time overcoming the dismissal of junior Rasheed Sulaimon and getting back on track in ACC play.

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Honorable mention: Tyus Jones has already hit as many clutch shots in the first 20 games of his freshman season as many players hit in four years of action. The Apple Valley, Minn., native played 38 minutes in both games this week, scoring a combined 31 points on 10-of-21 shooting and adding seven rebounds and six assists. Jones was 3-of-8 from 3-point range and 8-of-9 from long range in the two contests and made several beautiful passes down the stretch Saturday to spark Duke's dramatic comeback win. The Blue Devils' timely shooting would not have been possible without ball movement and as he has throughout the season, Jones rose to the occasion before knocking down a dagger 3-pointer to seal the victory.

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