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Adam Gold

Thornton shepherds Blue Devils to Sunday game

Posted March 30, 2013

I'll bet you Tyler Thornton owns a cape.

Thornton, Duke's junior guard from Washington, DC, rescued the Blue Devils in their 71-61 win over Michigan State Friday night (Saturday morning) in Indianapolis. Normally used for defense and energy, Thornton was needed to bail the Devils out of a point-guard quandary when this game proved beyond Quinn Cook's emotional capabilities. For some reason, Cook seemed overwhelmed by the moment. A pair of puzzling, unforced turnovers unnerved him in the opening half, and he just never recovered.

Enter Thornton, who's become a bit of an offensive spark off the bench over the past few games. In fact, he hasn't missed a shot from the floor in three NCAA tournament games this year. Okay, so he's only attempted five shots, but four of them have been from 3-point range.  In the past he's been a guy you could take a chance at leaving open, but in this tournament he's making the defense pay for that strategy.

Friday was about a lot more important things than statistics. Thornton's box score wasn't exactly one you'd bury in the backyard and show future civilizations. Three points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals. That's a modest night for a guy in the regional semifinals who played 26 minutes.

No, Tyler Thornton's biggest contribution against Michigan State was his poise under pressure, something Cook was unable to provide for the team he's led since the second game of the season. Thornton controlled, defended, calmed, cajoled and led the Blue Devils past the Spartans and allowed Duke to live for another afternoon in this NCAA tournament. Without Thornton's steady hand, Duke loses.

Seth Curry was fantastic, scoring a game-high 29 points. As great scorers are wont to do, Curry's baskets came in bursts, with three of his half dozen long-range jumpers coming in a 2-minute span early in the second half that gave the Blue Devils an offensive lift, albeit just a three-point lead. But, Curry's three-point barrage established Duke's offense, and freshman slasher Rasheed Sulaimon helped out with 13 second-half points, two on driving lay ups and the rest from the free throw line.

The Blue Devils played one of the most savvy games you'll ever see from a college team. Ryan Kelly's jump shot is locked somewhere along Interstate 40, but he still had a positive impact on the game. Kelly played incredible defense, blocking four shots, changing several others and pulling down seven rebounds as Duke held their own against a Michigan State team with a reputation for domination in that department. Mason Plumlee was very good as well, with 14 points, seven rebounds and strong defense against Spartans bruiser Derrick Nix.  

And yes, Duke was spectacular defensively against the Spartans. In the first 16 1/2 minutes of the second half, Michigan State converted just three field goals while turning it over seven times. It's really hard to win a game with those numbers, and conversely, it's really hard to lose a game when it's your defense that was the impetus for that performance.

Tyler Thornton, not surprisingly, was part of that effort. Defense is normally how he makes his biggest contributions to the cause. But, against Michigan State, Thornton expanded his own repertoire to include the role of shepherd. Without him, and his guidance against Michigan State, there's just no way the Blue Devils would have found their way to the Elite Eight and the rematch with Louisville.

It was simply the best three-point performance you'll ever see.

21 Comments

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  • Stilllearnin Mar 30, 2013

    View quoted thread



    You must be sitting next to coach gott since you are so knowledgeable about other teams. How did that work out for your team?

  • jbenjamin1387 Mar 30, 2013

    View quoted thread

    obviously not as much confusion as it is in Raleigh! What time does your team play tomorrow? Loosers!!

  • Stilllearnin Mar 30, 2013

    View quoted thread



    Who won the game, who's sitting at home watching?

  • 321anut Mar 30, 2013

    View quoted thread

    ...you sre classless...and cluless

  • Luxy Mar 30, 2013

    Yeah, we know. Lotta that getting around Creedmoor.

  • sburks1906 Mar 30, 2013

    At least ONE of my Final four picks are is still alive. Keep hope alive for the ACC Duke!
    http://theklowntimes.net/videos/

  • Toddler10-21 Mar 30, 2013

    All I have heard all year that when Kelly was hurt every game Duke lost was because of Kelly being hurt. Whats the difference? You must be the kid who that played dress up with the girls, and thought it was cool!! Try playing tomorrow without Plumlee. Big Dummy!

  • jbenjamin1387 Mar 30, 2013

    View quoted thread

    I'm confused according to carowhina fans wasn't duke supposed to loose long time ago? Oh well I guess when your team is sitting on the couch for so long u have nothing better to do but watch the winners and hope they loose! Pathetic! Does anyone know what time carowhina plays on Sunday?

  • 903 mens national championships Mar 30, 2013

    View quoted thread



    so duke only beat louisville because dieng didn't play and being msu is no big deal because appling was overrated.

    you must be the kid in school whose dog always ate his homework...

  • MoDuke v2 is gone Mar 30, 2013

    View quoted thread



    Now I wonder if he'll turn the other cheek and let you slap it, too.

    LOL

    +2013

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
ROC 1
DUR 2
 
1:05pm Today
ROC
DUR
 
2:30pm Friday
STONYBROOK
NCSTATE
 
7:05pm Friday
SYR
DUR
 
6:35pm Saturday
SYR
DUR
 
5:05pm Sunday
SYR
DUR
 
Final
HOU 4
BAL 1
Final
KAN 1
NYY 5
Final
MIA 1
PIT 5
Final
WAS 2
CHC 3
Final
CWS 9
TOR 10
Final
COL 1
CIN 2
Final
PHI 4
NYM 5
Final
SEA 7
TAM 6
Final
TEX 4
CLE 3
Final
BOS 1
MIN 2
Final
SFG 6
MIL 3
Final
ARI 4
STL 6
Final
DET 1
OAK 0
Final
SDP 4
ANA 0
Final
ATL 0
LOS 8
12:10pm Today
TEX
CLE
 
12:35pm Today
COL
CIN
 
12:35pm Today
MIA
PIT
 
12:37pm Today
CWS
TOR
 
1:05pm Today
KAN
NYY
 
1:10pm Today
BOS
MIN
 
1:10pm Today
PHI
NYM
 
1:10pm Today
SEA
TAM
 
1:40pm Today
SFG
MIL
 
3:35pm Today
DET
OAK
 
4:35pm Today
HOU
BAL
 
8:05pm Tonight
WAS
CHC
 
8:15pm Tonight
ARI
STL
 
10:05pm Tonight
SDP
ANA
 
10:10pm Tonight
ATL
LOS
 
1:05pm Thursday
CWS
BAL
 
4:35pm Thursday
CWS
BAL
 
8:05pm Thursday
BOS
TEX
 
10:05pm Thursday
DET
ANA
 
10:05pm Thursday
NYY
OAK
 
10:10pm Thursday
CLE
SEA
 
10:10pm Thursday
PIT
SDP
 
10:15pm Thursday
ATL
SFG
 
4:05pm Friday
KAN
CHC
 
7:05pm Friday
COL
PHI
 
7:05pm Friday
TAM
BAL
 
7:10pm Friday
MIA
NYM
 
7:10pm Friday
WAS
CIN
 
8:05pm Friday
BOS
TEX
 
8:10pm Friday
ARI
MIL
 
8:10pm Friday
CWS
HOU
 
8:10pm Friday
TOR
MIN
 
8:15pm Friday
LOS
STL
 
10:05pm Friday
DET
ANA
 
10:05pm Friday
NYY
OAK
 
10:10pm Friday
CLE
SEA
 
10:10pm Friday
PIT
SDP
 
10:15pm Friday
ATL
SFG
 
2:10pm Saturday
TOR
MIN
 
3:05pm Saturday
COL
PHI
 
4:05pm Saturday
TAM
BAL
 
4:10pm Saturday
ARI
MIL
 
4:10pm Saturday
CWS
HOU
 
4:10pm Saturday
MIA
NYM
 
4:10pm Saturday
WAS
CIN
 
7:15pm Saturday
BOS
TEX
 
7:15pm Saturday
KAN
CHC
 
7:15pm Saturday
LOS
STL
 
10:05pm Saturday
ATL
SFG
 
10:05pm Saturday
DET
ANA
 
10:05pm Saturday
NYY
OAK
 
10:10pm Saturday
CLE
SEA
 
10:10pm Saturday
PIT
SDP
 
1:10pm Sunday
MIA
NYM
 
1:10pm Sunday
WAS
CIN
 
1:35pm Sunday
COL
PHI
 
1:35pm Sunday
TAM
BAL
 
2:10pm Sunday
ARI
MIL
 
2:10pm Sunday
CWS
HOU
 
2:10pm Sunday
TOR
MIN
 
2:15pm Sunday
LOS
STL
 
2:20pm Sunday
KAN
CHC
 
3:05pm Sunday
BOS
TEX
 
4:05pm Sunday
ATL
SFG
 
4:05pm Sunday
NYY
OAK
 
4:10pm Sunday
CLE
SEA
 
8:05pm Sunday
DET
ANA
 
9:10pm Sunday
PIT
SDP
 
Final
ATL 88
CLE 118
9:00pm Tonight
HOU
GSW
 
9:00pm Friday
GSW
HOU
 
9:00pm Sunday
HOU
GSW
 
Final
NYR 7
TAM 3
8:00pm Tonight
ANA
CHI
 
8:00pm Friday
TAM
NYR
 
8:00pm Saturday
CHI
ANA
 
12:00pm Friday
AUBURN
CHARLESTON
 
1:00pm Friday
CALIFORNIA
CCAROLINA
 
1:00pm Friday
COLUMBIA
ECAROLINA
 
1:00pm Friday
ORALROBRTS
ARKANSAS
 
1:00pm Friday
OREGON
IOWA
 
1:00pm Friday
SFLORIDA
FAU
 
1:00pm Friday
WRIGHTST
NOTREDAME
 
2:00pm Friday
MICHIGAN
BRADLEY
 
2:30pm Friday
STONYBROOK
NCSTATE
 
2:30pm Friday
TEXAS
OREGONST
 
3:00pm Friday
INDIANA
RADFORD
 
3:30pm Friday
ULLAFAYETE
RICE
 
4:00pm Friday
LEHIGH
LSU
 
6:00pm Friday
CANISIUS
SWMISSOURI
 
6:00pm Friday
CLEMSON
ARIZONAST
 
6:00pm Friday
MERCER
FLORIDAST
 
6:00pm Friday
MOREHEADST
LOUISVILLE
 
6:00pm Friday
VIRGINIA
USC
 
7:00pm Friday
FIU
MIAFLA
 
7:00pm Friday
FLAAM
FLORIDA
 
7:00pm Friday
MARYLAND
MISS
 
7:00pm Friday
SACREDHART
TCU
 
7:00pm Friday
STJOHNS
OKLAHOMAST
 
7:00pm Friday
TSOUTHERN
TEXASAM
 
7:00pm Friday
VCU
DALLASBAPT
 
8:00pm Friday
HSTNBAPT
HOUSTON
 
8:00pm Friday
LIPSCOMB
VANDERBILT
 
8:00pm Friday
OHIO
ILLINOIS
 
8:00pm Friday
TULANE
NWILMINGTN
 
10:00pm Friday
PEPPERDINE
FULLERTON
 
10:00pm Friday
SANDIEGOST
CSANTABAR
 
11:00pm Friday
CSBAKER
UCLA
 
Final
ROC 1
DUR 2
 
1:05pm Today
ROC
DUR
 
7:05pm Friday
SYR
DUR
 
6:35pm Saturday
SYR
DUR
 
5:05pm Sunday
SYR
DUR