“We haven’t really shown that all the time, but we certainly did tonight,” Ryan Kelly said of Duke’s impressive opening 10 minutes.
Instead of leading to a re-acclimation period for the team, the light December schedule seemed to work in the Blue Devils’ favor against Western Michigan.
Duke’s players said they were champing at the bit after all the time away from the court.
“This shows how focused we were,” Austin Rivers said. “We have a seven-day break, we haven’t played a game in like two weeks – it’s been a lot of time off. Instead of coming out rusty and getting back into it, we come out from the get-go.
“I’m really proud of everybody, and we played as if we just had a game the other day. Everybody was playing with each other and fitting in. It was exciting to play and watch.”
Seth Curry led the Blue Devils with 22 points while Rivers finished with 20.
Freshman point guard Quinn Cook continued his recent assurgency, finishing with 16 points, eight assists and zero turnovers in 23 minutes as the Blue Devils finished with a season-high 22 assists.
“Quinn’s been helping our team a lot,” Rivers said.
In their last game before the holiday break, the Blue Devils labored through an uninspiring first half against UNC Greensboro. During halftime of that game, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski challenged his team to improve its consistency.
There were no such issues against the Broncos.
After Western Michigan’s Matt Stainbrook made a layup a little more than 4 minutes into the game, Duke didn’t let the Broncos score for more than 6 minutes.
During that stretch, Duke’s Josh Hairston scored seven points, Rivers had a three-point play and Miles Plumlee had a windmill dunk to energize the crowd as the Blue Devils built a 28-6 advantage. Duke led by at least 20 points for the rest of the game, making a concerted effort to push the pace and get out and run.
“In order to push it, you have to rebound,” said Krzyzewski, emphasizing his team’s 22-rebound advantage. “… We’ve got to get accustomed to everyone defensive rebounding, and then we want to push it. We think we can keep a fresh point guard in there all the time. We have depth and we need to take advantage of it.”
The only time Krzyzewski seemed especially irritated with his team was early in the second half when Ryan Kelly had a careless turnover on a fast break and then Western Michigan grabbed two offensive rebounds on its ensuing possession. Krzyzewski called an immediate timeout, and the Blue Devils responded with a nice stretch of basketball, hitting a flurry of 3-pointers.
“I thought our team played well,” Krzyzewski said. “We came out and not only played well offensively but defensively.”
Article source: N&O - Duke Sports