Ah, life’s little ironies. They help keep us humble, sometimes, don’t they? Earlier today I published an article on Blue vs. Blue, wherein I concluded that Kyle Singler ought to shoot less often from 3. So, of course, he promptly goes out and scores a career high 30 by shooting 8 of 10 from three point range. The coaching staff apparently saw his low percentage from from behind the arc this year as the result of the types of looks he was getting. In his post game comments, Coach K mentioned that Duke had tweaked the offense to have ” more motion” in an effort to get Singler to have “unpredictable” placement, and get more open looks from three. It worked.
The game started (and remained) a foul parade with 19 fouls called in the first 10 minutes. The referees were calling it tight all night, and neither team adjusted, as 52 fouls were called for the game. Wonderfully for Duke, 2 of those first half fouls were called against Gani Lawal before the 19 minute mark .Derrick Favors shortly followed him to the bench by picking up his third foul before the 13 minute mark. Duke was unable to take significant advantage of their absences,however, due in part to the early hot shooting of Zach Peacock, and held only a 6 point lead at the two minute mark. Mason Plumlee then had a huge momentum swinging sequence; he grabbed a defensive rebound, drained a three on the ensuing posession, and then, after a D’andre Bell layup, threw one down on a nice left handed drive. Duke took hold of the momentum completely going into the locker room, as Singler knocked down a three with 0.0 on the clock. Duke finished the half 6-9 from three point range.
The second half began with 4 Tech turnovers complemented by three 3’s from Singler in the first 6 minutes. This pushed the lead to 15 and Duke never looked back.With both teams in the bonus pretty early, it was a steady stream of foul shots for the remainder of the half, with Duke shooting uncharacteristically poorly ( 67%).
But clearly, the story of the game was Singler. Duke shot 12-18 from three on the back of his shooting while Tech managed just 3-12. On any other night, we’d be talking a lot about Scheyer who quietly dropped in 21 and dished out 7 assists. As it was, it was a remarkable night for the Junior, who , up to this point, probably hasn’t had as productive a season as many had hoped.
Odds and Ends
- Singler apeared to hurt his already injured wrist in the first half. He spent a good 3 minutes on the bench and was grimacing quite a bit, but came back in and seemed to suffer no ill effects.
- Ryan Kelly had some really productive minutes in the first half including several good plays on defense. Predictably, he played virtually none in the second half (sigh)
- Andre Dawkins played zero minutes. That’s 2 minutes less than Jordan Davidson (double sigh)
- Lance played his usual great defense and was the game’s leading rebounder with 11. Zoubek chipped in 7 rebounds (4 offensive)
- Mason and Zoubek must have a side bet going as to who can commit the highest number of pointless, silly fouls. Mason took a healthy lead tonight, I think.
- The Big Three played 39, 39, and 37 minutes. That’s a lot.