No. 4 Duke uses early blitz to beat NC State
Durham, NC (Sports Network) - Mason Plumlee totaled a game-high 30 points to go with nine rebounds as No. 4 Duke used a strong first half to subdue North Carolina State, 98-85, at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Seth Curry had 26 points and Quinn Cook added 21 with four assists for the Blue Devils (20-2, 7-2 ACC), who have won four straight and avenged an 84-76 defeat in Raleigh on Jan. 12 which knocked the program from the top ranking in the country.
Richard Howell posted 23 points and nine boards for the Wolfpack (16-7, 5-5), who have lost three in a row and five of seven. C.J. Leslie poured in 16 points and Scott Wood contributed 14 points on 4-of-7 shooting beyond the arc in a losing effort.
The Wolfpack threw a bit of a scare into the Blue Devils, climbing to within 84-75 with 4:36 remaining on a Howell jumper, but Cook drained a jumper and Plumlee sank two free throws for a 13-point edge just over a minute later.
It was a nine-point margin once more, 91-82, after Rodney Purvis connected on a lay-in with 1:41 remaining. After Cook's two from the line, a Wood triple shrank the deficit to 93-85.
That proved to be the final points for the visitors, as Duke salted away the victory on two from the line by Curry and a three-point play from Plumlee.
"When you lose, you never feel really good, but our guys battled hard and never quit," NC State head coach Mark Gottfried said. "We just couldn't get one or two more stops and scores at the same time right when we needed to."
Duke led 8-2 early on, then stretched its advantage to 16-5 with 4 1/2 minutes played thanks to a Rasheed Sulaimon triple.
It was 22-6 for the hosts after a Plumlee slam just after the seven-minute mark, and Cook made consecutive treys around a Wood 3-pointer for a 28-9 score one minute later.
"Shots were falling," Plumlee said of the first half.
NC State finally awoke, and managed to pull within 41-29 on a T.J. Warren layup inside of five minutes left in the half, but the hosts surged once more and led 58-37 at the break after a Curry bucket capped a 10-2 run.
Duke maintained a healthy double-digit lead throughout the early portion of the second half until NC State's 8-2 burst, beginning on a Purvis layup with 7:11 left in the contest, reducing its deficit below double digits.
Duke won its 15th straight over NC State on its home floor ... The Blue Devils also came away with their 48th 20-win season in program history, and the 17th in a row since an 18-13 campaign in 1995-96 ... Sulaimon ended with 11 points and five rebounds, while Warren totaled 12 points and seven rebounds.
02/08 00:22:50 ET