Despite a miserable first half in which they committed 11 turnovers and trailed 33-29, the No. 2 Duke Blue Devils were able to make plays and go on runs when they needed to the most, en route to a 73-68 win over bitter rival North Carolina on Wednesday night.
As he’s done for the entire season, senior big man Mason Plumlee led the way for Duke with 18 points and 11 rebounds, but the difference tonight – as he’s been for the past couple of weeks – was sophomore point guard Quinn Cook, who added 18 points of his own.
Cook has scored 18-plus points in three of Duke’s last four games, and with fellow guards Seth Curry and Rasheed Sulaimon both playing at a high level, you can thank the head of the offense for Duke’s continued success this season.
The Maryland native had more turnovers (five) than assists (two) for just the second time in his career. Leading the offense to 44 points in the second half, Cook also stood out with his defensive effort, as he notched four steals and contributed to UNC guards Marcus Paige and Leslie McDonald combining to shoot a miserable 3 of 15 from the field.
At this point in the season, it seems pretty certain that Mike Krzyzewski knows exactly what he’s going to get out of his senior leaders Plumlee and Curry, but Cook continues to surprise, and is a major spark for the Blue Devil’s success.
It’s encouraging that every Duke team to win a championship under Krzyzewski has had stellar backcourt play, and with the tandem of Curry and Cook, Duke could be hanging another banner pretty soon.
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