Santa Clara (11-2) at (1) Duke (11-0)
Saturday, December 29, 12 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Scott Haynes, College Basketball Senior Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Cameron Indoor Stadium (9,314) -- Durham, North Carolina. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: Santa Clara 8-2, Duke 6-0. Away Record: Santa Clara 0-0, Duke 0-0. Neutral Record: Santa Clara 3-0, Duke 5-0. Conference Record: Santa Clara 0-0, Duke 0-0. Series Record: Duke leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: One of just three unbeatens left in the nation, the top-ranked Duke Blue Devils close out the 2012 portion of their schedule as they welcome the surprising Santa Clara Broncos to Durham on Saturday afternoon.
Mike Krzyzewski's Blue Devils are sitting atop the national rankings thanks to 11 straight wins, including three over top-five foes. More recently, Duke kept its unblemished record intact with a 76-54 rout of Elon. The win over the Phoenix was the 100th straight non-conference win at Cameron Indoor Stadium for the Blue Devils.
The Broncos are a perfect 3-0 in true road games this season for the first time since 1993-94. Kerry Keating's squad is an impressive 11-2 overall. The team has won six straight games, including capturing its own Cable Car Classic crown with a 69-45 pasting of Wagner last weekend. Santa Clara is 0-11 against top-ranked foes all-time.
Duke has won both previous meetings with Santa Clara.
A strong offensive teams flexed its defensive muscles against Wagner in the title game of the Cable Car Classic, as Santa Clara held the visitors to 45 points on a mere 30 percent shooting, while forcing 17 turnovers. The Broncos were a little off their game offensively, connecting on just 41.5 percent from the floor and nearly 10 points under their season average. Marc Trasolini led the way with 23 points in the win. Evan Roquemore followed with a double- double consisting of 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Brandon Clark added 13 points off the bench.
On the season, Santa Clara is averaging a solid 78.8 ppg, doing so on .451 shooting. The scoring depth is spearheaded by Kevin Foster, Trasolini and Roquemore. Foster is shooting under 40 percent from the field overall, but leads the team with 18.2 ppg. Trasolini pours in 16.2 ppg and is tops on the team in rebounding at just under eight boards per game (7.8). Roquemore is both a solid scorer at 13.8 ppg and a deft distributor with a team-high 6.5 apg.
The Blue Devils are in their lofty position thanks to stellar play at both ends of the floor. The team is averaging 80.4 ppg, while enjoying a +18.9 scoring margin. Duke has shot the ball well, converting 48.3 percent from the floor overall, including 41 percent from behind the arc. All five starters are averaging double figures, led by the low post dominance of Mason Plumlee. The 6-foot-10 senior is shooting .641 from the field and leads the team in both scoring (19.3 ppg) and rebounding (11.5 rpg). Seth Curry provides the perfect perimeter balance with 15.7 ppg. Freshman Rasheed Sulaimon has made an immediate impact with 12.7 ppg, while Ryan Kelly and Quinn Cook add 12.6 and 10.4 ppg, respectively.
Despite shooting a modest .433 from the floor overall, Duke was an impressive 57.9 percent accurate from 3-point range (11-of-19), leading to a lopsided win over Elon. The Phoenix had no answer for Plumlee, who posted yet another double-double with game-highs of 21 points and 15 boards. Kelly added 14 points, while Sulaimon and Cook chipped in with 13 and 10 points, respectively.
The Broncos have been impressive thus far, but winning in Durham is taking it to a whole different level. The Blue Devils will get tested a bit in this one, but in the end, Plumlee will once again lead them to victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Duke 77, Santa Clara 69
12/29 10:40:41 ET
Powered by The Sports Network.