Miles Plumlee motivated by Zoubek in Duke win

2010 performance inspires 13-point, 22-rebound effort

jdaly@newsobserver.comFebruary 12, 2012 

— To help Duke orient itself after its euphoric win Wednesday against No. 5 North Carolina, the Blue Devils' coaches showed the team two videos before practice Thursday.

The first were highlights from the 1991 Final Four, when Duke stunned the college basketball world by upsetting Nevada-Las Vegas in the national semifinals. Two days later, the Blue Devils were focused enough to beat Kansas and win the national championship.

The second video was Duke's 2010 home matchup against Maryland. In the Blue Devils' next outing after winning at Chapel Hill, Brian Zoubek punished Maryland with a 16-point, 17-rebound effort. Over the next six weeks, Zoubek, a senior, went from being something of an afterthought to an integral part of a Blue Devils team that went on to win the NCAA title.

Three days after 10th-ranked Duke earned another win in Chapel Hill, senior Miles Plumlee channeled his inner Zoubek, scoring 13 points and grabbing 22 rebounds as the Blue Devils avoided a letdown and beat Maryland 73-55 on Saturday. Plumlee's 22 rebounds were the most for a Duke player under coach Mike Krzyzewski.

"Miles was fabulous," Krzyzewski said. "That's the most rebounds any player has ever had that I have coached in 37 years in a ball game. As I told Miles, I've coached some pretty good players."

Whether or not the Maryland video wasn't shown specifically for him, Plumlee said he internalized any comparisons to Zoubek.

"Zoubs was really a role model for me when I was playing here," Plumlee said. "It's no coincidence - I know this was the game two years ago where he really turned it on. I just took a good look at myself and decided I needed to come out and do the same thing."

Seth Curry, another Duke upperclassmen, also did his part to ensure Duke moved past its win against the Tar Heels. The junior finished with 19 points to lead the Blue Devils.

After taking a three-point lead into the second half, Duke built a comfortable margin during the first 10 minutes after halftime.

Curry was instrumental in that stretch, hitting a 3-pointer and a jumper on back-to-back possessions to put the Blue Devils ahead 53-40.

After Maryland responded with a 9-0 run to pull within four, Krzyzewski called a timeout and set up a play for Curry, who was fouled and made both free throws. Curry then made a steal on the other end of the court as Duke ultimately closed the game with a 13-2 spurt.

"Early in the game, Maryland was flying at my shots - I took some contested shots," Curry said. "Coach told me to use my pump fake and try to drive by them and kick a little bit. I tried to be aggressive and get my shots."

Duke's defense also had a nice afternoon, holding the Terrapins to 37.3 percent shooting. Terrell Stoglin, who was averaging 22.0 points per game to lead the ACC, only had 13, missing 12 of his 16 shots.

Considering his team has been inconsistent for most of the ACC season, Krzyzewski was pleased with the way Duke seemed to maintain its momentum while also moving past Wednesday.

It likely was exactly what he had in my mind Thursday when he gave his team its history lesson.

"I think that's what separates people," Krzyzewski said. "A lot of people overcome adversity a little bit, but overcoming a big event is huge. It's tough. In order to be a champion and be exceptional, you have to go onto the next thing."

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