College Basketball: McKillop, Davidson played well against Duke
CHARLOTTE — Stephen Curry sent a tweet Wednesday saying he was rooting for his alma mater Davidson to pull of an upset of No. 1 Duke, while at the same time hoping his younger brother Seth would drop 30 points for the Blue Devils.
Well, neither happened the way the Golden State Warriors point guard had hoped.
The Blue Devils (13-0) broke open a tie game at halftime with a 12-0 run and pulled away from the upset-minded Wildcats 67-50 for their 13th straight win Wednesday night.
And they did it without much help from Curry, who was held to six points on 3-of-11 shooting.
Still, Davidson coach Bob McKillop said he was pleased with his players’ ability to hold the nation’s top-ranked team to 67 points and work through Duke’s constant screens.
McKillop believes that will serve Davidson (7-6) well as it gets into the thick of Southern Conference play.
“I thought we were very, very efficient in that area,” McKillop said. “I thought we did a terrific job on Seth and a good job on Mason (Plumlee). But when you place an emphasis on stopping their five leading scorers, they have five others who’ll make you pay.”
Ryan Kelly did just that.
In what was supposed to be Curry’s homecoming game, Kelly stole the show with 18 points to lead the Blue Devils, who are one of only four undefeated teams remaining in Division I. Quinn Cook scored 15 points and Plumlee scored eight of his 10 in the second half for Duke.
“For our guys to go 13-0 with our nonconference schedule is just magnificent,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “It’s terrific.”
The game was tied 29-all at halftime before Duke opened the second half with a 12-0 run while the Wildcats wasted nine possessions. The Blue Devils, who led by as many as 19 in the second half, heated up from 3-point range after the break, going 3 for 4 in the early minutes of the period.
Jake Cohen led Davidson with 19 points and eight rebounds despite battling through early foul trouble, and De’Mon Brooks pulled down 12 rebounds and scored eight points in the Wildcats’ 24th straight loss to Duke.
Plumlee scored on an inbound play to ignite Duke’s 12-0 burst coming out of halftime.
After a pair of free throws by Kelly, Quinn Cook hit a foul-line jumper and Tyler Thornton knocked down a 3-pointer from the wing.
The efficient Kelly capped the run with a 3-pointer from the left corner, his third of the game, to push the lead to 12.
Davidson, which hung tough in the opening half, would never get closer than eight after that.
The Wildcats entered the locker room at halftime tied despite shooting just 32 percent in the first half. Cohen, last year’s co-conference player of the year along with Brooks, sat out 15 minutes after picking up his second foul less than three minutes in.
Davidson did it with hustle, outrebounding the taller Blue Devils 22-15 in the opening half, including a 9-1 edge on the offensive boards.
The Blue Devils’ largest lead of the first half was five after Kelly sank the second of a pair of 3-pointers to put Duke up 29-24. But the Wildcats closed the half with five straight points. Plumlee, who came in leading Duke at 19.5 points per game, was a non-factor in the first half with only one field goal.
That all changed in the second half as Duke began to assert itself inside and heated up from outside with strong ball movement.
Brooks, who has been a factor inside for the Wildcats all season, struggled to get off shots against Duke’s defenders, who began collapsing on him in the paint. Brooks finished just 4 of 13 from the field.
Duke held Davidson to 30 percent shooting for the game, and the Wildcats were just 4 of 19 from behind the arc.
“We knew it was going to be a good test for us and if we had any weaknesses it was going to be a team like Duke that would expose it,” Cohen said. “And we weren’t able to put a complete game together.
“So that’s something we have to work on as we get into Southern Conference play.”