All five Blue Devil starters recorded 30 or more minutes, with all five playing a significant role in the 90-67 victory over the Owls.
Duke was again led in the middle by Mason Plumlee, recording his third straight double-double and sixth on the season with 16 points and 14 rebounds. He wasn’t the only Blue Devil who recorded a double-double as fellow senior Ryan Kelly chipped in with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Seth Curry returned to action after missing a game with an ankle injury to lead the team in scoring with 23 points. You can read more about his performance against Temple here.
Quinn Cook played the most minutes for Duke and continued to impress since his insertion into the starting line-up. Cook finished with 14 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals. Freshman Rasheed Sulaimon played the fewest minutes of the five starters but still led the team with seven assists to go along with his eight points.
All five starters put up great numbers against Temple but it’s the chemistry shown by the starting five that makes them the dominating force they’ve become.
The trio of seniors Plumlee, Kelly and Curry have seen a lot in their time at Duke and have gained valuable experience during their time with the program. Being together for four years, the trio have gotten to know each other fairly well and you can see it in the way they play off one another on the floor. Although Curry didn’t join Plumlee and Kelly on the court until his second season having to sit out as a transfer in his first year, he was still around his front court teammates every day.
The time spent together has formed an excellent chemistry amongst the trio of seniors and the nation is witnessing it in full display every time the Blue Devils take the court. They have full confidence in each other on both ends of the floor with an understanding of what the three can bring to the team, whether it’s Plumlee attacking in the post, Kelly crashing the rebounds with his relentless hustle or Curry’s perimeter play with his limitless shooting range.
The seniors have shown their confidence in each other extends beyond the trio with the insertion of Cook and Sulaimon into the starting line-up this season.
The sophomore Cook looks right at home as the team’s point guard displaying his playmaking skills that saw him enter the game against Temple second in the ACC in assists. The 6-foot-1 guard has done whatever the team has needed from him whether it’s scoring, playmaking or tough defense. His coming out party occurred in the Battle 4 Atlantis Finals where he took home tournament MVP honors after recording 15 points, six assists, four rebounds, a block and a steal against the Louisville Cardinals.
The freshman Sulaimon has also looked right at home in the Blue Devils starting line-up and is maybe the team’s biggest surprise of the season. He had a seven game streak of scoring in double-digits snapped against Temple but has shown when he’s not scoring he can still be effective with his rebounding or playmaking. The 6-foot-4 guard is averaging 12.3 points, four rebounds 2.7 assists per game after the first month of the season.
In fact, all five Duke starters are averaging double figures along with 30 minutes per contest. Perhaps even more important is that all five starters are also averaging 70% or higher from the free throw line, giving opponents no easy option to foul late in the game. Although, nobody has had a lead late against Duke this season to even have the option of choosing who to foul.
Duke’s starting five’s chemistry is the best in the nation and in sports, chemistry is all that matters.