No. 7 Duke beats Penn 85-55By AARON BEARD, AP Basketball Writer Sunday, Jan 1, 2012
DURHAM, N.C. (AP)—Duke looks like it’s trying to get a little tougher on the boards heading into Atlantic Coast Conference play.
Ryan Kelly had 18 points and 12 rebounds to help the seventh-ranked Blue Devils beat Pennsylvania 85-55 on Sunday, their fifth straight victory.
Seth Curry added 15 points for the Blue Devils (12-1), who scored 20 of the game’s first 24 points to run out to a big early lead. Duke led by 18 points at halftime and by as many as 34 points after the break, sending the Blue Devils to their 43rd straight win at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Much of that success started on the glass, where Duke took a 47-29 advantage to outrebound its opponent for the fourth straight game. While the Blue Devils have had a significant size advantage in their recent matchups, coach Mike Krzyzewski sounded pleased with how active Kelly and Mason Plumlee (10 points, 14 rebounds) were up front against the Quakers (6-8).
“The thing about rebounding is you can’t just go sometimes,” Plumlee said. “You get more if you go every time. You can anticipate where it’s going to come off and kind of play the ball, but you get more the more you go. … It can’t be a thing where maybe we’ll do it and maybe we won’t. We’re going to need that for our team to be good.”
Duke was outrebounded by Michigan, Kansas and Ohio State in consecutive games to close November. But the Blue Devils have done a better job of attacking the glass since, outrebounding Washington, UNC Greensboro, Western Michigan and now Penn by an average of 16 per game.
“You have to keep adding as a team,” Kelly said. “You can’t be the same team at the beginning of the year that you are at the end. We’ve been adding every day and every week, and that’s making us a better team.”
Duke grabbed as many offensive boards (8) as Penn had total rebounds in the first 12 minutes. Duke had a 14-2 edge in second-chance points by then, starting when Kelly scored the game’s first basket in fitting fashion with a hook shot following a missed 3 from Curry.
Kelly followed that with a 3 during that opening spurt, which ended with Plumlee’s layup off a feed from Quinn Cook to make it 20-4 at the 13:50 mark. The Blue Devils scored on nine of 10 possessions, with four of those baskets coming off offensive rebounds.
The Quakers played the Blue Devils almost even for the rest of the opening half, though they never recovered.
“I just think they imposed their will,” Penn coach Jerome Allen said. “We didn’t come out with the same intensity, the same level of enthusiasm or aggressiveness. It’s tough to win on the road anywhere if you don’t get stops defensively. When we did get stops, we didn’t come up with the defensive rebound. When you don’t finish possessions, you put yourself in a hole.”
Duke shot 49 percent, including 9 for 20 from 3-point range. Kelly hit all four of his tries and Curry knocked down three more.
Making matters worse, Duke’s perimeter defense came out intent on making guards Zack Rosen and Tyler Bernardini work for every look. Rosen came in averaging nearly 20 points, but finished with 11 on 5-for-13 shooting. Bernardini, who came in averaging nearly 16 points, finished with seven on 2-for-5 shooting.
Penn shot 36 percent, including 2 for 13 from behind the arc.
Penn had a fleeting chance to put some pressure on Duke midway through the second half, but Miles Cartwright missed a wide-open 3 from the corner that would have cut the deficit to 15. The Blue Devils responded with a 3 from Andre Dawkins, followed by a jumper from Curry and finally a 3 from Curry off a feed from Dawkins to make it 60-34 with 12 minutes left.
“I was really proud of our guys in their preparation for this, because I think they’re a good team,” Krzyzewski said, “and they were not able to run offense the way they normally do.”