Plumlee brothers lead Duke past Davidson
The Curry brothers got the attention. The Plumlee brothers took over the game.
Mason Plumlee had 16 points and 13 rebounds, and teamed with older brother Miles to score 10 straight points during the run that carried No. 6 Duke past pesky Davidson 82-69 on Friday night.
Austin Rivers and Seth Curry, the younger brother of former Davidson star Stephen Curry, both finished with 17 points for Duke (4-0), which was playing for the first time since Mike Krzyzewski became the winningest men’s coach in Division I history.
The Blue Devils delivered Coach K’s 904th career victory by holding Davidson without a field goal for seven minutes during their game-breaking, Plumlee-led 25-4 run.
Pounding the ball inside — especially to the Plumlees — "was kind of brought up from our team," Miles Plumlee said. "Just guys knowing that we’re bigger, stronger, and we just really needed to look inside for each other."
Chris Czerapowicz had 15 points to lead Davidson (2-1), which led for virtually all of the first half and went up 41-39 on J.P. Kuhlman’s layup with 17 minutes left. Mason Plumlee reeled off six straight points after that, including a follow-up dunk that put Duke ahead to stay.
Miles Plumlee had eight points during the run, including an authoritative up-and-under dunk, before Mason Plumlee finished the burst by taking an alley-oop feed from Curry and slamming it to make it 64-45 with 10 1/2 minutes left.
"It was even, and then all of a sudden, (the lead) was 10 points, and maybe four plays there that were just, whew," Krzyzewski said. "That generated so much excitement, and then I worry after we do something like that — because (the team is) younger — that you’re going to let down, but we kind of still stayed pretty good after that."
Davidson missed 10 straight shots before Czerapowicz hit a jumper with 10 minutes to play. The Wildcats didn’t get closer than 11 the rest of the way.
"We missed a lot of layups," Davidson coach Bob McKillop said. "Give the Plumlees tremendous credit for that, because Ryan Kelly, Mason and Miles just locked up that rim, and shots that we would make, we did not make."
Miles Plumlee finished with 10 points for the Blue Devils, who shot 54 percent in sidestepping a potential trap that lurked between their Hall of Fame coach’s record-breaking victory three nights earlier and their trip to Hawaii. The Cameron Crazies chanted "903" as Krzyzewski entered the arena before the game.
But, eventually, the Blue Devils figured out a way to extend a few streaks during their last day on the mainland for a while. They won their NCAA-best 39th in a row at Cameron Indoor Stadium, their 89th straight nonconference game at home and their 48th consecutive game against the Southern Conference.
Duke was scheduled to depart for the Maui Invitational on Saturday morning.
"We didn’t want to come into the game and have a lull after playing a big game in New York," Seth Curry said. "We knew Davidson was going to be a good team. They came in and ran their offense well and just played harder than us in the first half. In the second half, we just came out and kind of did what we wanted to do, imposed our will, got it inside and were able to get a lead."
Davidson was denied its first victory over a top-10 opponent since the 2008 team knocked off Wisconsin in the regional semifinals of the NCAA tournament, and dropped its ninth straight game against Top 25 teams since then.
The Wildcats — the last non-Atlantic Coast Conference team from North Carolina to beat Duke when they did it in 1981 — shot 39 percent. But they had 17 turnovers and couldn’t overcome that cold stretch in falling to 8-54 against top-10 opponents.
This instate matchup created an interesting dynamic — if not a divided Curry household.
Stephen Curry became the biggest star in Davidson history by leading the Wildcats’ unforgettable tournament run before beginning his NBA career. With that league mired in a lockout, Curry has become a fixture at Cameron, usually sitting behind the Duke bench beside father Dell — a former NBA sharpshooter himself — and cheering for his younger brother.
For this one, Stephen Curry sat behind the Wildcats’ bench — their parents were seated behind Duke’s bench — but tweeted before the game that he also was pulling for Seth. His wardrobe reflected his split loyalties — he wore a half-Davidson, half-Duke jersey that celebrated his old school on the front and his brother’s team on the back.
"The magnificence of Stephen Curry is, he can root like heck for his brother, yet sit behind our bench and root like heck for us and wear Davidson gear," McKillop said. "Because his heart is that big, that he has that much room and that much love in it that he can share that."
De’Mon Brooks and Jake Cohen each scored 12 points while Kuhlman added 10 for Davidson, which led for most of the first half, built three six-point leads and went up 36-35 at halftime on Tom Droney’s free throws with 0.8 seconds left. Duke went just 7 of 14 from the foul line in the first half, but was 12 of 16 in the second.