Duke Basketball: Blue Devils Open Battle 4 Atlantis with an Emphatic Win

Jon ReidCorrespondent IINovember 23, 2012

Nov 22, 2012; Paradise Island, BAHAMAS; Duke Blue Devils guard Seth Curry (30) drives to the basket as Minnesota Golden Gophers guard Austin Hollins (20) defends in the second half during the 2012 Battle 4 Atlantis in the Imperial Arena at the Atlantis Resort.  Duke won 89-71.  Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-US PRESSWIRE

Well, Blue Devils fans, add a Duke win Thursday afternoon to your list of things to be thankful for this holiday weekend.

Duke opened up its Thanksgiving weekend tournament in Nassau with a big win over the 4-0 Minnesota Golden Gophers.

After forcing ten turnovers in the first half and allowing Minnesota to score just 33 points on 40 percent shooting, the Blue Devils took a comfortable seven point edge into the locker room.

It was the second half, however, where the Devils exploded and buried the Golden Gophers—scoring 49 points, shooting 15-for-25 from the floor (they shot 15-for-30 in the first half), and finished the game shooting 54 percent from the field.


Duke Players of the Game

Duke's players of the game were undoubtedly its leaders—Seth Curry and Mason Plumlee.

When it comes to Mason Plumlee, he was absolutely dominant down low, hauling in 17 rebounds, including 11 in the first half alone. Minnesota simply did not have an answer for Duke's senior center.

Plumlee also put up 20 points in the contest, spreading them over both halves, with 11 coming in the first half and another nine points in the second half.

Perhaps the most impressive stat of the day from Plumlee though was his 8-for-10 shooting from the free-throw line, staying true to his mark of 77 percent on the season.

As for Seth Curry, he was lights out. He finished the game with 25 points on 8-for-11 shooting from the field and 6-for-7 from the charity stripe.

Curry also added three assists. He only turned the ball over once and committed just one personal foul the entire game.


Minnesota Player of the Game

Minnesota's top player from yesterday's game was Rodney Williams Jr.

After a sluggish first half, where Williams Jr. only managed four points, one rebound and one assist, he had a much more successful second half, finishing the game with 16 points and seven rebounds.

Billed as Minnesota's best player coming into the 2012-13 season, Williams showed signs of why in the second half.

If he could've been better at the free-throw line (where he shot 3-for-6) he may have had an even more impressive point total.

Stat of the Game


That was Duke's final number for three-point shooting.

The Blue Devils finished up hitting an extraordinary 80 percent of their three-pointers against the Golden Gophers.

That is by far their best result on the season, and the encouraging part of that number? The fact that they didn't rely on the long shots, only attempting 10 shots from three-point land.

It was Seth Curry and Quinn Cook who helped the team reach that mark, hitting a combined 6-for-7 of their shots from beyond the arc—including a last second dagger from Cook that helped Duke avoid heading into the half allowing a Minnesota 9-2 run.


What Duke Needs to Work On for Its Game Against VCU

Despite scoring 89 points and holding Minnesota to just 40 percent shooting from the field, there were still some things Duke can work on before its semi-final matchup with the VCU Rams.

Duke needs to cut down on the turnovers. Duke coughed up the ball an astounding ten times in the first half (though the Blue Devils only turned it over four times in the second).

The Blue Devils also need to close out the half in a more impressive fashion, as they were a missed three-pointer away from ending the half yesterday allowing a 9-2 run, which would have cut their lead to just four points heading into the second half.