Duke vs VCU

Duke withstands 'havoc,' tops VCU


PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas -- Duke turned to a couple of big men to handle VCU's pressure defense, and Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski couldn't be prouder.

Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly, the two biggest players in No. 5 Duke's rotation at 6-foot-10 and 6-11, became the valves to make sure things didn't get to be too much for the guards in facing the Rams' "havoc" defense.

"These guys played with so much poise, two turnovers total between them," Krzyzewski said. "I am most proud of how they handled players who were quicker and again, they showed that poise."

Plumlee had 17 points and 10 rebounds to lead Duke to a 67-58 victory over the Rams on Friday night In the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis.

Plumlee, who had 20 points and 17 rebounds in the opening-round win over Minnesota, brought the ball across midcourt several times in each half. Kelly inbounded the ball whenever the VCU scored, the only time they set up the fullcourt pressure.

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"I felt I was holding my own," Kelly said.

"More than that," Krzyzewski added.

Both teams played good defense and made it tough to score. Both teams combined four field goals over the final eight minutes and half of those came in the final 17 seconds.

"They're really good, not good, really good," Krzyzewski said about VCU. "They play tough defense full court and in the halfcourt. They have a lot of pieces. We were strong with the ball. 'There were no possessions off for any team."

The Blue Devils (5-0) will play No. 2 Louisville in the championship game Saturday night.

All five Duke starters scored at least nine points and they accounted for all but three of the Blue Devils' total. On Thursday the starters accounted for all but two points.

Seth Curry had 15 points for Duke and was 9 of 10 from the free throw line, where the Blue Devils finished 24 for 27.

The Rams (3-2), who beat No. 19 Memphis 78-65 in the first round, hurt themselves at the line, going 12 for 19. The seven misses all came in a row from the 7:55 mark until there was 2:23 remaining. Two of the misses were the front end of 1-and-1s.

"We had the guys we wanted at the free throw line, our best free throw shooters," Rams coach Shaka Smart said. "This game wasn't lost with missed free throws. We weren't disciplined enough with our pressure.

"Plumlee and Kelly were good breaking the pressure. They came back and handled the ball. Give Duke credit for preparing for the pressure and executing."

Juvonte Reddic had 16 points and 13 rebounds for VCU while Treveon Graham scored 16 points. The Rams finished 4 for 18 from 3-point range, just better than Duke's 3-for-15 effort from beyond the arc.

Both Reddic and Graham said it was a physical game.

"We knew that coming in that it was going to be that type of game," Reddic said.

Duke held a 44-32 lead with 15:45 remaining but Graham and Reddic combined for 14 points to get the Rams within 54-50 with 9:20 to play.

Both teams struggled to score the rest of the way but Duke closed the game by making all eight free throws and adding Plumlee's power dunk with 17 seconds to play.

Rasheed Sulaimon had 12 points for Duke, while Ryan Kelly added 11 and Quinn Cook had nine points and nine assists.

"I thought Quinn has played two terrific games here," Krzyzewski said.

Duke withstood VCU's pressure, committing just eight turnovers and the Blue Devils outrebounded the Rams 41-34.

"Our pressure was good in spurts," VCU's Darius Theus said. "But against a great team you have to do it for 40 minutes."

Copyright 2018 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Duke forward Ryan Kelly scraps for a loose ball with VCU's Treveon Graham on Friday in the Bahamas. (AP)
Duke forward Ryan Kelly scraps for a loose ball with VCU's Treveon Graham on Friday in the Bahamas. (AP)
Duke #5 (5-0) «293867
Virginia Commonwealth (3-2)283058
DUKE:M. Plumlee 17 Pts
DUKE:M. Plumlee 10 Reb
DUKE:Q. Cook 9 Ast
VCU:J. Reddic 16 Pts
VCU:J. Reddic 13 Reb
VCU:D. Theus 2 Ast

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Mason Plumlee
Juvonte Reddic
Duke Blue Devils
Q. Cook, G393-73-43929
R. Kelly, F384-93-342311
M. Plumlee, F365-97-8101317
R. Sulaimon, G344-122-270112
S. Curry, G313-99-1060315
T. Thornton, G141-20-00143
J. Hairston, F60-00-01120
A. Jefferson, F20-00-00000
T. Zafirovski, FDid Not Play
A. Murphy, FDid Not Play
M. Plumlee, FDid Not Play
Totals 20-4824-2731141867
VCU Rams
J. Reddic, F368-150-3130116
D. Theus, G343-130-20247
T. Graham, G335-125-680116
T. Daniels, G272-72-36038
D. Haley, C51-10-01032
R. Brandenberg, G262-95-55119
B. Weber, G170-20-02140
M. Johnson, G90-10-00010
J. Guest, F50-10-00020
T. Okereafor, G50-10-00000
D. Hinton, F30-10-02010
J. Tuoyo, F10-00-00000
M. Alie-Cox, FDid Not Play
J. Burgess, GDid Not Play
Totals 21-6312-193742158
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Georgia Tech3-110-7137
N. Carolina4-215-42
Boston College3-313-664
Notre Dame3-313-657
Miami (Fla.)2-313-425
Va. Tech2-313-579
NC State2-312-675
Florida St.2-413-545
Wake Forest1-48-9124

Atlantic 10
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Rhode Island5-013-313
George Mason3-29-9194
St. Bona.2-312-542
Saint Josephs2-37-9189
Geo. Wash.1-48-10212
Saint Louis1-48-10202
La Salle1-47-11164
Other games
MINN 84 Final
UCF 66 Final
FLA 79
KSU 57 Final
UMKC 45 Final
IAST 70 Final
LIU 75 Final
UK 104
NCASH 80 Final
OKLA 47 Final
OAK 52 Final
ORE 83 Final
MIZZ 61 Final
LOU 84
WISC 74 Final