Davidson vs. Duke

Seth Curry returns home to Charlotte a captain for Duke

Coach K rewards senior’s leadership

lkeeley@newsobserver.comJanuary 2, 2013 

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Duke guard Seth Curry (30) reacts after a second half three pointer. Curry scored 31 points as Duke beat the Santa Clara Broncos 90-77 at Cameron Indoor Stadium Saturday Dec. 29, 2012.

CHUCK LIDDY — cliddy@newsobserver.com

  • Duke vs. Davidson When: 7 p.m. Where: Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte TV/Radio: ESPN2/WKIX-102.9 FM Projected starting lineups No. 1 Duke (12-0) G Quinn Cook, So., 10.8 ppg, 5.9 apg G Seth Curry, Sr., 17.1 ppg, 1.8 rpg G Rasheed Sulaimon, Fr., 12.2 ppg, 3.3 rpg F Ryan Kelly, Sr., 12.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg F Mason Plumlee, Sr., 19.5 ppg, 11.6 rpg Davidson (7-5) G J.P. Kuhlman, Sr., 7.9 ppg, 3.8 apg G Nik Cochran, Sr., 9.0 ppg, 3.2 apg G Chris Czerapowicz, Sr., 8.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg F Jake Cohen, Fr., 12.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg F De’Mon Brooks, Jr., 15.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg Player to watch Seth Curry, Duke: A constant storyline this season revolves around the health of Seth Curry. A right shin injury suffered over the summer continues to hamper him, and it’s an issue that he and the Duke staff will manage throughout the season. Curry had the best offensive game of his Duke career against Santa Clara, scoring 31 points in 36 minutes. “Now you’ve got to give him rest and hope that he will be able to come back,” Mike Krzyzewski said after the Santa Clara win. Observations • While he doesn’t have the prowess of Santa Clara guard Kevin Foster, De’Mon Brooks is the reigning Southern Conference player of the year. The forward averages 15.2 points per game for the Wildcats, and he has posted double figures in all but one game this year. His season high of 24 points came in Davidson’s opener against Emory. • The Wildcats’ best win to date is against West Virginia (7-5), ranked No. 99 in RPI • Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski has repeatedly said this year that the Blue Devils will not be a deep team. That was certainly the case against Santa Clara, when Mason Plumlee played 39 minutes and Seth Curry and Quinn Cook logged 36 apiece. Only two bench players saw more than one minute of action: Tyler Thornton (19) and Josh Hairston (11). • Defensive rebounding, which continues to be a work in progress, was improved against Santa Clara. Duke pulled down 26 defensive rebounds, yielding seven offensive rebounds to the Spartans, and out-rebounded Santa Clara 40-28 overall. Ryan Kelly is now averaging more than five rebounds a game. After the Elon game, Mason Plumlee said it was important that someone else – anyone else – average at least five boards per game.
  • More information Laura Keeley

After a Duke career-high 31 points against Santa Clara capped off 2012, Seth Curry received an unexpected surprise to open 2013: He was officially named a team captain.

“Our three seniors have really been the leaders of our team,” head coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a statement. “From the spring Ryan (Kelly) and Mason (Plumlee) were named co-captains but Seth has been one of the leaders since then. It seems only natural that all three of them should be tri-captains. It is an honor and we are really happy to make it official.”

Curry will play his first game as a Duke captain in his hometown, Charlotte, as the No. 1 Blue Devils (12-0) play Davidson (7-5) at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Time Warner Cable Arena.

“It’s a lot of fun for me to have a lot of family and friends in the stands,” said Curry, a graduate of Charlotte Christian. “Every game here at Duke is a big-time game, so it shouldn’t be any different.”

And in case the Blue Devils needed to be reminded that they will always be a marquee matchup for any opponent, Santa Clara pushed them in a 90-77 victory Saturday.

The Spartans were up 45-41 with less than 16:24 remaining on the game clock. Curry would score 12 of Duke’s next 17 points as the Blue Devils built a 62-48 lead with 9 minutes, 13 seconds remaining.

For the game, Curry shot 12-for-18 from the field, including a 4-for-7 performance behind the arc, for 31 points, which earned him ACC player of the week honors. It was his most productive offensive day since scoring 35 against VMI when he was a freshman at Liberty.

“They had a hard time guarding one of the sets we have where we highlight Seth and Mason together and we just scored every time,” Krzyzewski said of Santa Clara. Plumlee added 22 points.

With the unexpected test from the Spartans successfully passed, Davidson will be Duke’s last nonconference tune-up before the beginning of ACC play. It’s a slate that ranks as the toughest in the country, as the Blue Devils are ranked not only No. 1 in the nation but also No. 1 in strength of schedule and RPI. Duke has beaten three teams currently ranked in the AP Top 25: Louisville (4), Ohio State (8) and Minnesota (9). Another one of Duke’s marquee nonconference wins came against Kentucky, a team that was ranked No. 3 at the time.

There has been much to be pleased with, from Krzyzewski’s point of view.

“Well, what do you think?” Krzyzewski said when asked to assess his team. “We are undefeated, number one in the country, we are playing our butts off. Other than that, I am displeased.”

Keeley 919-429-4556; Twitter @laurakeeley

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