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Duke Romps Past Furman, 92-63

The Paladins were game but didn’t have enough. Game that is.

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NCAA Basketball: Furman at Duke
 Nov 20, 2017; Durham, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils guard Grayson Allen(3) lays the ball up during the first half against the Furman Paladins at Cameron Indoor Stadium. 
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Well, that’s more like it.

Three days after a desultory 78-61 win over Southern, Duke came back with more purpose and poise, defeating Furman 92-63 Monday night to go to 5-0.

Make no mistake. Furman is a step up from Southern. The Paladins were the media pick to win the Southern Conference this season; the coaches picked them third. They won 23 games last season and start five upperclassmen.

“They know how to play,” Mike Krzyzewski said of Furman. “They’re a difficult team to defend and their seniors have played a lot of ball together. Overall, our team followed the game plan very well. I thought we played hard and played well together.”

Duke had two goals, go inside on offense and defend the 3 on defense.

It took some time for the plan to come together. Eight of Duke’s first 10 points came from perimeter players, as Marvin Bagley III missed his first three shots.

On the other end, Furman was getting inside for layups, enough to take several leads, the last one at 15-14.

“We gave up the lane a little bit more because we wanted to stay with their shooters,” Mike Krzyzewski said. [John] Davis did a great job with penetration. They’re more of right-handed driving team and it looked like we were forcing them to drive right. We made some adjustments but still limited their 3s.”

Duke continued to pound the inside and eventually it started working. Wendell Carter, Jr. scored eight straight for Duke, putting the home team up for good and then Bagley turned it on, scoring nine points and assisting on another field goal in a 2:25 stretch.

“it is one of our first options,” Carter said of Duke’s high-low big-man game. “We see a lot of mismatches on the court, so whenever I catch it up top or he catches it up top, our first look is down low to see what’s there.”

A 14-2 run put Duke up 29-18 and the lead never again dipped below nine.

Carter ended the first half with 10 points and four rebounds in only eight minutes, sitting long stretches with two fouls.

The freshman says he’s learning from the refs what he can and cannot do. “Just communicating with the referees. I do commit fouls just learning how to move my feet quicker. Lateral movement is where I get my fouls from.”

He ended the game with only those two fouls.

Grayson Allen sat out both of Duke’s practices since the Southern game. Nothing major, just bumps and bruises and it’s a long season.

He scored only five points but lead Duke with six assists, consistently passing up open shots in search of better shots.

“I think we can get great shots every possession because of our talent on offense,” Allen said. “I might not take a quick 3 because I see Wendell or Marvin inside—I mean their bigs were 6-5 and 6-8—so when I see a size advantage, it’s better to get them the ball then to launch a long 3.”

Trevon Duval also showed a different part of his game, hunting his shot more aggressively than we’ve seen him so far, 18 points on 9-12 shooting.”

Duval said it was “just how the game played out.” But he sure looked more assertive to me.

` It was 49-31 at intermission. The Blue Devils scored the first four points of the second half and spent the rest of the game with a lead in the 20-30-point range.

Furman made on 2 of 11 from beyond the arc in the opening half. They connected on some 3s late in the game but only after Duke had put in the reserves and gone zone.

Carter said Duke needed to put away the bad taste of the Southern game.

“We had to bounce back. We had a great practice yesterday, a great shoot-around today. It all trickled down to this game. It was definitely a statement game to let them know Friday wasn’t us.”

Duval agreed.

“We all knew we didn’t play well Friday. But both practices got us in the groove and back to playing Duke basketball.”

Krzyzewski took a longer view.

“I don’t know if it’s a statement game. They’re freshmen and don’t know what the hell a statement game is. A statement is what they make to the media. It’s more like play-like-we’re-supposed-to-play. We were good tonight. We can be better.”


Technically the game was part of the PK-80 Tournament. Duke goes west while Furman next goes to Nashville as part of that event, playing New Hampshire and Northeastern.

Bagley led everyone with 24 points, adding eight rebounds to the mix. If we exclude his injury-shortened Michigan State game, Bagley is averaging 23 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.

Perhaps best of all, he went 5-for-6 from the foul line.

Carter added 14 points and nine rebounds, while Duval had a career-high 18 points. Javin DeLaurier had a career-high four blocks off the bench, while freshman Alex O’Connell hit a couple of 3s in his first double-digit Duke game, 10 points in 12 minutes.

Duke was 9-for-13 from the foul line, with all the attempts coming from post players.

Davis led Furman with 15 points. Duke held 2017 SC Player of the Year Devin Sibley to a season-low 10 points.

He came into the contest averaging 19 per game.

Duke had a 40-27 edge on the boards, with 18 assists,11 turnovers, eight blocks, nine steals (Allen had three), 12 players seeing action.

The game started late because of a false fire-alarm that emptied the building.

A first for me.

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