Cook regains shooting touch, leads Duke past Clemson

The SportsXchange

DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke point guard Quinn Cook was on the court Saturday taking shots long after the Blue Devils' game ended.

The fruits of his labor were evident Tuesday night.

Cook pumped in a career-high 27 points as the top-ranked Blue Devils clawed past visiting Clemson 68-40 at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

"Quinn was terrific," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said of the sophomore, who missed all 11 of his shots Saturday in the Blue Devils' win over Wake Forest. "We knew he would still shoot. ... He showed the maturity of trying not to make up for 0-for-11 and to just play his game. Coming off that 0-for-11, I was real proud of that."

In an Atlantic Coast Conference game filled with offensive snafus, the Blue Devils found enough production Tuesday. Cook scored 20 points in the second half in the only regular-season meeting between the teams.

"I took my shots," said Cook, who hit 12 of 16 attempts from the floor, including three of five from 3-point range. "It was a good feeling to knock a couple down. I just saw openings, and I didn't hesitate."

Duke (15-0, 2-0 ACC) played the second half without senior forward Ryan Kelly, who sat on the bench with a right foot injury after scoring 12 first-half points. Kelly led Duke in scoring the previous two games, and he was selected as the ACC Player of the Week on Monday.

Krzyzewski said the extent of the injury wasn't known.

"We thought for precautionary reasons it was good not to play him in the second half," the coach said.

For the short term, Cook provided a necessary spark. He said received plenty of support after his rough game against Wake.

"Just to have my teammates text me and tell me, 'Tuesday you're going to hit everything,' that's a big confidence-builder," Cook said.

Duke's first field goal came from Cook about 5 1/2 minutes into the game.

"He did a good job not letting the last game get to him," teammate Seth Curry said.

Cook's points came despite a revamped lineup for half the game.

"Everything (Cook did) was within what we're doing," said Duke forward Mason Plumlee, who collected 13 rebounds and scored eight points.

Cook's point total was the most for any Clemson opponent this season.

"I don't know what he was averaging, but it wasn't 27," Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. "We did a reasonably good job on Curry. We did a reasonably good job on Plumlee. A good job on (Rasheed) Sulaimon."

Duke is 15-0 for the sixth time in school history, all under Krzyzewski. The Blue Devils were aided against Clemson (8-6, 0-2) by allowing the fewest points in a half of an ACC game in the coach's 33 seasons. The Tigers trailed 25-10 at halftime.

Clemson was held to the lowest point total of the season for a Duke opponent. The Tigers shot 28.3 percent (15-for-53) from the field, including 1-for-11 on 3-point attempts.

"We're a better shooting team than we've shown," Brownell said. "Some of this is Duke's defense. Duke's defense doesn't give you a lot of rhythm and open 3s."

Devin Booker led Clemson with 12 points and 15 rebounds.

The Blue Devils built a 34-14 lead early in the second half before Clemson scored the next eight points. Tyler Thornton's only points of the game -- on a 3-pointer from the right corner -- stopped the spurt.

Curry, a senior guard, eclipsed the 1,000-point for his Duke career early in the second half with a 3-pointer after going scoreless in 14 first-half minutes. Curry reached the plateau in three seasons. He played as a freshman for Liberty before transferring.

Clemson shot 12 percent (3-for-25) in the first half, which was the Tigers' lowest-scoring 20 minutes of the season.

"It was just so difficult to score," Krzyzewski said. "Thank goodness our defense was a little better than theirs."

Kelly outscored Clemson 12-10 in the first half. Only two Clemson players scored before the break, with Booker tallying six of the points.

Despite the offensive shortcomings, the teams combined for only nine first-half turnovers.

Duke went more than five minutes before scoring yet trailed only 2-0.

Clemson, which three days earlier suffered a home loss to Florida State in its ACC opener, failed to take advantage of Duke's offensive woes. The Tigers missed two attempted dunks and threw up an air-ball in the first four minutes.

NOTES: Duke's first true road game comes Saturday afternoon at No. 20 North Carolina State. ... Clemson was playing its 32nd game against a No. 1-ranked team. The Tigers have two wins in those games, including a 1980 victory against Duke. ... Duke had 27 first-half rebounds, nearly as many as Florida State's 33 in the entire game Saturday at Clemson. ... The low-scoring first half was nothing like the football game between the schools in November, when Clemson led 42-17 at halftime en route to a 56-20 win.
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