As ESPN’s Brent Musburger pointed out after No. 2 Duke’s 73-68 win over No. 4 Ohio State in the ACC / Big Ten Challenge, the Blue Devils have now beaten three of last year’s Final Four teams.
And it’s not even December yet.
On Nov. 13, Duke beat defending national champion Kentucky, 75-68, in the Champions Classic and on Nov. 24, the Devils topped Louisville, 76-71, in the Bahamas.
“It sure wasn’t [easy],” senior big man Mason Plumlee, who had 21 points and 17 rebounds, said on ESPN. “Ohio State showed why they’re one of the best teams in the country.”
Playing their fourth game in seven days, the Devils (7-0) looked sluggish and overmatched in falling behind 31-23 in the first half but rebounded after a slow start.
“For having won a big tournament in the Bahamas and to come back and win another big tournament like this it shows maturity,” Plumlee said.
Plumlee gave props to sophomore point guard Quinn Cook (12 points, 8 assists), who fed him a perfect lob pass in transition that Plumlee flushed for a one-handed dunk that cut Ohio State’s lead to 33-27 in the second half.
“Quinn is one heck of a passer,” he said. “That was a great look.”
(For more on Plumlee, read Dan Kelly’s earlier column here.)
Freshman Rasheed Sulaimon added 17 points and senior Ryan Kelly had 15 for Duke.
It’s still very early in the college basketball season, but with no dominant team this year, Duke’s early results over last year’s Final Four teams are certainly impressive.
Photo: Getty Images
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.