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Friday, November 23, 2012 - Page updated at 09:00 p.m.
No. 5 Duke hands Minnesota its first loss
By The Associated Press
PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas — 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 threes 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 three-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).
Plumlee, a 6-foot-10 senior, had four solid games this season before putting on an impressive performance against a team known for being physical and playing defense.
"Maturity is what you need to be this good," Krzyzewski said. "Most kids don't figure that out. He has. And it wasn't a case of him being immature before, he has just matured."
Plumlee was coming off a career-high 28 points on 9-for-11 shooting from the field, 10 of 11 from the free throw line and had nine rebounds in the Blue Devils' previous game, an 88-67 win over Florida Gulf Coast.
"I'm in a role that I love and feel like I am in control and confident in myself and my team," Plumlee said.
Sophomore point guard Quinn Cook had a career-high 17 points for the Blue Devils.
Other Top-10 game
No. 2 Louisville 51,
Northern Iowa 46
Russ Smith scored 16 points and No. 2 Louisville overcame a terrible offensive effort for a 51-46 victory over Northern Iowa in the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis.
The Cardinals had a bad first half, looked as if they straightened things out, but then stumbled to the finish. The Cardinals somehow held a 26-20 halftime lead despite shooting 27.0 percent from the field (10 of 37) and committing 10 turnovers.
They held Northern Iowa (3-1) to one field goal over the opening 10:47 of the second half and that cut Louisville's lead 40-24. It was far from an easy ride to the finish as the Cardinals went 5:12 without scoring, and suddenly the Panthers were chipping away.
No. 13 Missouri 78,
Laurence Bowers scored 19 points (as usual, most were in the second half) and grabbed 10 rebounds as the Tigers beat the Cardinal in the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis.
Bowers, who had 13 points in the second half, has scored more after halftime in every game this season for the Tigers (4-0). He came in averaging 15.5 points per game, and 14.0 in the second half.
Phil Pressey had 18 points and eight assists for Missouri, which had three field goals over the final 9:10 — all in a 1:57 span starting with 2:12 to play. It didn't matter as the Tigers were 10 of 11 from the free-throw line in that stretch. They were 22 for 25 for the game.
Chasson Randle had 22 points for the Cardinal (3-2). Dwight Powell added 18 points and 10 rebounds, and former Vashon Island High School standout John Gage scored 10.
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