No. 5 Duke takes down MinnesotaMinnesota put up some impressive defensive numbers in its first four games. Then the schedule got tougher, a lot tougher.
PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas (AP) — Minnesota put up some impressive defensive numbers in its first four games. Then the schedule got tougher, a lot tougher.
The Golden Gophers couldn’t get over a second-half hump against No. 5 Duke and lost 89-71 on Thursday in the opening round of the Battle 4 Atlantis.
Minnesota had held its first four opponents to 28.6 shooting from the field and 19.1 percent on 3s while giving up 48.0 points per game.
Duke blew those numbers out of the water.
The Blue Devils (4-0) finished 30 of 55 (54.5 percent) from the field. Seth Curry, who finished with 25 points was 8 of 11 from the field and made all three of his 3-point attempts as the Blue Devils were 8 of 10 from beyond the arc.
Duke center Mason Plumlee had 20 points and a career high-tying 17 rebounds for the Blue Devils.
“We felt we could try and get physical with our three big guys but he’s just a real talented player,” Minnesota coach Tubby Smith said of Plumlee. “Game plans are meant to work but it didn’t today.”
Rodney Williams had 16 points for the Golden Gophers (4-1), who just couldn’t cut into the Blue Devils’ lead in the second half.
“I think we had a couple of lapses on defense,” Williams said. “Duke hit some big shots in the second half when we were playing good defense.”
Williams was moved to the 3 spot for a while in the second half, a switch Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said was effective because it made Minnesota a bigger team.
“I just go out and play whatever Coach tells me to,” Williams said. “I’ll play wherever.”