30-point run seals Duke's 88-67 win over Florida Gulf Coast

lkeeley@newsobserver.comNovember 19, 2012 

— Thanks to 30 unanswered points, No. 9 Duke was able to pull away from Florida Gulf Coast for a 88-67 win.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski said he had been concerned about how his team would respond after the big win against Kentucky. But, the Blue Devils handled the Eagles with ease.

Mason Plumlee led Duke with a career-high 28 points on 9-of-11 shooting from the floor and went 10-for-11 from the line.

“They didn’t have an answer for Mason inside,” Krzyzewski said. “We took advantage of that.”

Most of Plumlee’s shots came fromright under the basket and as a result of tidy passes, which put him in a position to succeed.

“Guys were setting me up,” Plumlee said. “It’s not like I was shooting jumpers. You shouldn’t miss too many when you’re shooting that close.”

Quinn Cook, who started for the first time this year, finished with a team-high nine assists, which went along with five turnovers. Rasheed Sulaimon also set a new career-high with 19 points, and Ryan Kelly (14) and Seth Curry (10) reached double figures, as well.

With the win, Duke (3-0) has won 96 straight home games against non-conference opponents, setting a new school record and extending the longest active streak in the nation. The Blue Devils’ last loss in Cameron to a nonconference foe was against St. John’s on Feb. 26, 2000.

Duke’s 30-0 run spanned almost eight minutes and started with 5:43 remaining in the first half, when the Eagles led 30-29. But, that changed quickly with back-to-back 3-pointers from Cook. Kelly followed with two free throws to give Duke a 34-30 lead.

Plumlee went to the line on the next possession after corralling his own offensive rebound. He made the first shot and missed the second – his only miss from the free throw line of the game – but Kelly grabbed the rebound and converted the lay-in, drawing his own foul in the process. He completed the three-point play to make it 38-30 Duke with 4:08 remaining in the first half.

“I’ve never heard of a 30-0 run before,” Florida Gulf Coast coach Andy Enfield said. “First one I’ve been a part of.”

During the run, Duke ran high ball screens around the perimeter as often as possible. Cook handled the ball and looked to hit an open shooter, while Plumlee set the screen.

For Cook, the focus in practice has been on tightening his passes and defense, and he accomplished both Sunday.

“I tend to get loose and try and do fancy stuff and try to play like I played in high school, flashy,” he said. “I need to stay sharp.”

Duke scored six more points to open the second half before Florida Gulf Coast’s Bernard Thompson made a 3-pointer to stop the run. By that point, Duke led 59-33.

Florida Gulf Coast (2-2), which beat Miami earlier this season, was done in thanks in large part to 19 first-half turnovers, which resulted in 27 Duke points.

Duke next travels to the Bahamas for the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament and play Minnesota on Thanksgiving day.

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