Plumlees lead No. 8 Duke past Wake Forest 90-70
DURHAM, N.C. (AP)—Mason Plumlee tumbled to the floor, too shaken up to try his free throws. So big brother Miles stepped in and knocked them down.
Duke’s pair of Plumlees sure must’ve seemed interchangeable to Wake Forest.
Miles Plumlee had career highs of 19 points and 14 rebounds, Mason Plumlee added 11 points and the eighth-ranked Blue Devils pulled away late to beat the Demon Deacons 90-70 on Sunday night.
“That makes us a complete team,” Miles Plumlee said. “Our perimeter’s been there, and they’re always going to be there for us. Now that we’ve got that real strong inside game, there’s not many people that can stop that.”
Kyle Singler added 21 points and 15 rebounds and Nolan Smith had 20 points for the Blue Devils (15-2, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference). They overcame a defense determined to stop leading scorer Jon Scheyer, broke the game open with 13 straight points midway through the second half and rolled to their 13th straight win at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Al-Farouq Aminu had 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Demon Deacons (12-4, 2-2), who lost their 12th straight at Cameron and haven’t won here since 1997, when Tim Duncan was still in school.
“We knew we had to concentrate on their ‘Big Three,”’ said guard Ishmael Smith, referring to Duke’s trio of Singler, Scheyer and Smith. “But the Plumlee brothers got some offensive rebounds, and we got in trouble.”
The Plumlees combined for 23 points and 17 rebounds in the first half, and it was the first time they scored in double figures in the same game for the Blue Devils, who have won nine of 10. They remained perfect at home and 10 of their 11 victories here have come by at least 20 points.
“I thought (Wake Forest) played winning basketball,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “So when you win a game where the other team was in position to be deserving to win, it makes it a better win.”
Chas McFarland added 17 points and 10 rebounds for Wake Forest, which rallied from 12 points down early in the second half with a 17-5 run and tied it at 55 on Aminu’s dunk with 14:07 left.
Singler hit a 3-pointer 7 seconds later—“the biggest shot of the game,” Krzyzewski said—and Scheyer followed that with a three-point play.
Then came the sequence that put Duke squarely in charge: Mason Plumlee soared in for a dunk and Smith collided with him in mid-air, knocking to the floor the Blue Devils’ freshman who said he didn’t even remember drawing contact because “I was looking at the rim.”
“I hate seeing people fall like that—especially when it’s my brother,” Miles Plumlee said. “I was hurting on the inside.”
Official Ray Natili called it an intentional foul, despite the Demon Deacons’ protests.
“I felt like I made the play, but the refs made the call,” Smith said. “I would never try to intentionally hurt anybody. Hey, I came down pretty hard, too. But that wasn’t the turning point of the game.”
Miles Plumlee stepped in for his baby brother and hit both free throws, Lance Thomas added a jumper and Smith capped the burst with a 3 to make it 68-55 with 11:47 left.
The traditionally guard-oriented Blue Devils knew 3-pointers were going to be hard to come by against the ACC’s best defense against the 3, and they finished 4 for 13 from long range.
In a bruising game in which the teams combined for 47 fouls and three players fouled out, the Demon Deacons made it their mission to slow Scheyer. He scored nine points—nearly 11 fewer than his average—on 3-of-11 shooting and was held to single-digit scoring for the first time this season.
“Obviously, I didn’t play as well as I could to help the team, but that just shows us a lot,” Scheyer said. “I didn’t play that well, and so many guys stepped up.”
His backcourt mate, Smith, was 6 for 17 from the field. Still, it was more than enough to help the Blue Devils win their 42nd straight at Cameron against opponents other than North Carolina—a string that dates back to 2007.
Ari Stewart added 14 points for Wake Forest, which took its only lead midway through the first half after Aminu’s free throw capped an 11-2 spurt that put the Demon Deacons up 32-28 with 6:14 left. The Blue Devils then closed the half by outscoring Wake Forest 18-6, a run that included three follow-up baskets from point-blank range by Mason Plumlee—including a nifty reverse dunk off Singler’s missed jumper.
Scheyer’s 3 from the corner—the only points of the first half for the ACC’s second-leading scorer—with 7 seconds left made it 46-38 at the break. Thomas’ jumper 19 seconds into the second half made it 48-38—the first double-figure lead by either team.