Durham, NC (Sports Network) - Seeking the 48th 20-win season in school
history, the fourth-ranked Duke Blue Devils play host to the NC State Wolfpack
in Atlantic Coast Conference action at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Thursday.
Mike Krzyzewski's Blue Devils are an impressive 19-2 on the season and have
won three straight games since a loss on the road at league-leading Miami-
Florida. Duke is two and a half games behind the Hurricanes (9-0) in the
league standings, moving to 6-2 in league play with last weekend's 79-60 romp
over Florida State in Tallahassee. Duke is a perfect 11-0 in Durham this
season and has won 20 or more games in 16 straight seasons.
Mark Gottfried's Wolfpack were considered the team to beat in the ACC this
season and certainly have shown flashes of that dominant play, including and
84-76 win over this same Duke club back on Jan. 12. However, since that
victory NC State has dropped four of its last six games, including two
straight heading into this contest. The Wolfpack fell to 5-4 in league play
with last weekend's heart-breaking 79-78 loss at home to Miami.
Duke holds a 138-98 advantage in its series with NC State. The Blue Devils
have won 14 straight against the Wolfpack in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
NC State poses a problem for any adversary due to the team's explosive play
and overall scoring depth. The Wolfpack are one of the top shooting teams in
the nation at a healthy 50.4 percent clip, ranking fifth nationally. That has
led to a healthy 78.5 ppg (11th nationally). Five players come into this game
averaging double figures, led by C.J. Leslie's 15.7 ppg. Richard Howell has
been a beast in the paint, averaging a double-double with 12.8 points and 10.9
rebounds per game. The team also boasts of a real All-American candidate at
the point in Lorenzo Brown (12.7 ppg, 6.9 apg). T.J. Warren (11.9 ppg) is a
dangerous asset off the bench, while Scott Wood (11.5 ppg - 56 3-pointers) is
the team's resident sniper.
The Wolfpack suffered their first home loss of the season when Miami's Reggie
Johnson tipped in a ball with under a second to play to provide the Hurricanes
with a one-point win. Leslie posted 18 points and 12 rebounds in the loss.
Howell and Tyler Lewis finished with 15 points each, while Rodney Purvis
chipped in with 13.
The Blue Devils shot a scorching 11-of-18 from behind the arc, distancing
themselves from the Seminoles and earning a 19-point win over FSU. Seth Curry
netted 21 points for the second straight game, finishing with five 3-pointers.
Quinn Cook poured in 18 points and dished out six assists. Rasheed Sulaimon
and Amile Jefferson finished with 14 and 11 points, respectively. All-American
candidate Mason Plumlee though, was held in check, posting just eight points
and five rebounds in the win.
Plumlee has been much more explosive on the season. He has shot .604 from the
floor, ranking sixth nationally in field-goal percentage, while leading the
team with 17.6 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. Curry is the perfect
complement with his long-range acumen. The senior guard is averaging 16.3 ppg
and is shooting .432 from behind the arc (51-of-118). Sulaimon (11.8 ppg) and
Cook (11.5 ppg) have picked up the pace at the offensive end with the
absence of Ryan Kelly (13.4 ppg), who is still sidelined with a foot injury.
The Sports Network