Duke fends off VCU, 67-58
Posted November 23, 2012
FINAL: Duke 67, VCU 58
The score was worse than the game would indicate as VCU played strong, but 11 turnovers and Mason Plumlee's double-double were too much for the Rams to overcome in a 67-58 Duke win.
Duke 58, VCU 52; 3:29 2nd
VCU has 16 offensive rebounds and is using second-chance points to stay close with Duke at the final media timeout.
Duke 56, VCU 50; 7:07 2nd
Duke, who had just two bench points Thursday, only has three tonight as VCU is hanging around. Four of the five Duke starters are in double figures led by Sulaimon with 12.
Duke 50, VCU 44
VCU is hanging around behind Treveon Graham's 16 points and the Rams are within six at the midway point of the second half.
Duke 43, VCU 32; 15:46 2nd
A couple early turnovers and some hot shooting by Duke early in the second half have allowe the Devils to build an 11-point lead at the first media timeout of the second stanza.
Duke 29, VCU 28; HALF
A late basket by Quinn Cook put the Blue Devils up one late in the first half after falling behind in the final minute.
Rasheed Sulaimon leads all scorers with 9 points. Duke has been out-rebounded 19-156 but leads the turnover battle, 6-3.
Duke 23, VCU 20; 3:49 1st
Troy Daniels has eight points and VCU is out-rebounding Duke 18-12 in the first half as the Bulue Devils lead is just three points late in the first half.
Duke 19, VCU 15; 7:18 1st
Thanks to five point from each Plumlee and Sulaimon, Duke has been able to go on a run and leads VCU 19-15 at the under-8 timeout.
VCU 13, Duke 12; 11:10 1st
Duke has not fallen victim to the turnover, but they have not been able to hit shots, going just 5-for-13 from the floor and 2-for 7 from three. Still, they are in a one-point game at the second media timeout in the Bahamas.
VCU 11, Duke 7; 14:35 1st
After VCU jumped out to a 6-0 lead, Mike Krzyzewski called a timeout. That fired up the Blue Devils as they responded to make it an 8-7 game. Duke now trails at the first media timeout, 11-7.
The fifth-ranked Duke Blue Devils and the Virginia Commonwealth Rams will meet up on Friday night in the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis in Paradise Island, Bahamas.
The winner will play either Louisville or Missouri in the championship game on Saturday night, while the losers will face off in the third place game.
VCU's only loss of the season came in a nail-biter against Wichita State on Nov. 13, but otherwise it has been very impressive. The Rams recorded easy wins over Florida Gulf Coast (80-57) and Winthrop (90-54) before entering the tournament where they took care of business against Memphis in the opening round, 78-65.
Duke's undefeated start to the season has been highlighted by a neutral-court victory over No. 3 Kentucky, a game in which they pulled away in the second half to win, 75-68. The Blue Devils were able to advance in the tournament by making easy work of Minnesota, 89-71.
VCU won the only meeting between these two squads, 79-77, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in 2007.
The Rams have gotten off to a fine start to the season as far as their shooting percentage is concerned, draining 45.5 percent of their shots overall, but they've been especially impressive from beyond the arc. VCU connects on nearly 10 three-pointers per game at a 43 percent clip, and Thursday's performance against Memphis was no different as it went 13-of-22 from downtown. Treveon Graham contributed four of those treys and finished 8- of-12 overall en route to a game-high 26 points. Rob Bradenberg was even better from deep, going a perfect 5-of-5 for 15 points off the bench. Graham's performance in the opening round allowed him to leapfrog Juvonte Reddic (14.2 ppg) as the team's leading scorer, as he now puts up 14.5 ppg. Darius Theus (10.0 ppg) has also been a reliable source of points.
The Blue Devils have also ridden hot shooting to their 4-0 start, as they are connecting on nearly 50 percent of their field goal attempts en route to 81.5 ppg. They, too, have been great from beyond the arc, hitting nine three- pointers per game at a 43.4 percent clip. The trend continued against Minnesota in the opening round as Duke made 30-of-55 shots from the field, including an astounding 8-of-10 from long range. All five starters scored in double figures, paced by Seth Curry, who was nearly perfect on the afternoon by draining 8-of-11 from the field (3-of-3 from three) and 6-of-7 from the foul line. Mason Plumlee was a beast with 20 points and 17 rebounds, and on the season he's logged 21.3 ppg on 71.4 percent from the floor while grabbing 10.8 rpg. Curry (18.3 ppg) has also been a consistently excellent scorer, while Ryan Kelly (11.5), Rasheed Sulaimon (11.5) and Quinn Cook (10.0, 4.5 apg) have been great assets as well.
With a couple of sharp-shooting squads, the points in this matchup could rack up in no time, but where VCU tends to live and die by the three-ball, Duke is much more well-balanced, meaning that the Blue Devils can pull this one out even with a cold night shooting.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Duke 83, VCU 70