December 4th 2014 Louisville, KY. (Analyzed Sports)
Backcourt Shines in Blue Devils Huge Road Victory
Duke’s Guards Tyus Jones, Quinn Cook, and Rasheed Sulaimon score 59 of Duke’s 80 points as the # 4 Duke Blue Devils (8-0) went on the road to defeat the #2 Wisconsin Badgers (7-1) 80-70 on Wednesday evening at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wisconsin.
Blue Devils Freshman Point Guard Tyus Jones led all scorers with 22 Pts including 2-of-3 from deep, while dishing out 4 Assists, and pulling down 6 rebounds. Quinn Cook added 13 Pts, while senior guard Rasheed Sulaimon showed leadership off the bench with 14 Points, 2 Assists, 2 Steals, and 3 Rebounds.
The hype surrounding the game was keyed around the big men for the two top 5 teams meeting in the ACC/BIG10 Challenge. Coming into the game all the talk was about the battle between finesse and physicality of the two Pre-Season A.P. All-Americans in Badgers Forward 7’0 234 pound senior Frank Kaminsky, and Duke’s 6’11 270 pound phenom freshman Jahlil Okafor.
The game would start with the only points scored coming from the strengths of both big men. Badgers Senior Kaminsky hit two 3’s, while Duke’s Okafor used isolation down low in the post to get his buckets. Six minutes into the game, the score was only 6-4 Badgers, as both teams were struggling to find their shots from the field.
Around the 12 minute mark, the Blue Devils disruptive switches on defense forced the Badgers front court players to handle the ball, causing turnovers, which led to fast break points for Duke. At the midway point in the 1st half Duke held a 16-12 lead over the Badgers. All of Duke shots were high percentage, created from dribble penetration, while the Badgers settled for jump-shots and tough two’s from their lack of ball movement. With Duke shooting 65.2% from the field and over 55% from three, they went into the half only leading by three points 35-32.
The 2nd half would open up with a lot of back-and-forth action. Although Wisconsin was still struggling to make shots from the field, they would take their 1st lead 43-42 since early in the 1st half with 15 minutes remaining in the game. That lead wouldn’t last long as Tyus Jones began to take control of the game, giving the Blue Devils a 6 point lead with 12 minutes remaining on the clock. The Badgers went to isolating Frank Kaminsky in the low post to cut the lead to three 50-47 with 10:57 remaining. Duke’s guards would respond with timely jumpers, great decision-making, and dribble penetration for assists to wide open teammates, which helped extend their lead to the largest of the game with under 3 minutes remaining 69-60. Wisconsin would battle until the end , behind 25 points from Traevon Jackson and 17 points 9 rebs from Frank Kaminsky, but would still fall to the Blue Devils in a final score of 80 – 70.
Duke’s Freshman Point Guard was asked after the game, what contributed to his play on a huge stage. “I was just taking what the defense was giving me. My teammates and coaches were very confident in me, at first I was trying to get us in the offense and everything, but my teammates got on me about not being as aggressive, so I was just taking what the defense was giving me and trying to be a little more aggressive”.
Up next for the Blue Devils are the (4-3) Elon Phoenix from the Colonial Athletic Association on December 15, 2014 at 7PM in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
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