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January 12, 2013

Top two ACC teams collide in Raleigh



Duke is off to an impressive start, but has done so without playing a true road game.

To improve to 16-0 for the first time in seven seasons, the Blue Devils not only need a road win — they'll need one with their third-leading scorer sidelined.

The nation's No. 1 team will be without Ryan Kelly today when it visits No. 20 North Carolina State.

Kelly is out indefinitely with a right foot injury he sustained in the first half of a 68-40 win against Clemson on Tuesday, and there's no timetable for his return. Coach Mike Krzyzewski said he aggravated the same foot that he sprained last March, which kept him out of the conference and NCAA tournaments.

The senior forward is averaging 13.4 points and 5.4 rebounds for the Blue Devils (15-0, 2-0 ACC), and is the team's leading 3-point shooter at 52.1 percent. He was shooting particularly well from distance over his last nine games, going 21 of 31.

"He is playing the best basketball of his career and this is a tough setback for him," Krzyzewski said. "We're hoping for a good recovery and we are optimistic about his return."

After Kelly left Tuesday, Quinn Cook (11.4 ppg) helped pick up the slack, scoring 20 of his career-high 27 points in the second half. Cook was shut out on 0-for-11 shooting three days earlier in an 80-62 win against Wake Forest, but was 12 of 16 against Clemson.

"You obviously think about it but you know, the next time you're at practice, you've got to move on," Cook said. "Great shooters always move on to the next shot. Just to have my teammates text me and tell me, 'Tuesday, you're going to hit everything,' That's a great confidence builder."

It was another big second-half performance that boosted Duke the last time these teams met. Seth Curry scored 21 of his 26 points after the break Feb. 16 at Cameron Indoor Stadium as the Blue Devils rallied from 20 points down with 11 1/2 minutes left to beat the Wolfpack 78-73.

Duke will become the last team in the country to play its first true road game, but it has reason to be confident. The Blue Devils were perfect away from Cameron in conference last season, going 8-0.

NC State (13-2, 2-0) is 9-0 at home and has won nine in a row overall since dropping two of three in November. ACC assist leader Lorenzo Brown (6.7 per game) had game highs of 21 points and 10 assists in an 83-70 victory against Georgia Tech on Wednesday.

"The best thing he does is in transition — he can really make plays in transition," Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory said. "He made some risky plays, too, but he's just got a flair in the open court to be able to kind of dissect a defense. I said last year as a sophomore that he was one of the premier point guards in the country, and there's no doubt about it. He's proving it night in and night out here."

NC State's 53.0 percent shooting leads the country, and each starter averages at least 10.0 points. T.J. Warren also contributes 12.5 per game off the bench.

Warren was scoreless against the Yellow Jackets and Richard Howell (12.7 ppg) only had six, but the Wolfpack's depth helped them outscore Georgia Tech 46-32 after halftime.

"I think the sign of having a really good team is when you can have different guys step up and score for your team," coach Mark Gottfried said. "A lot of teams don't have those multiple scorers like we do."




Duke preview

NC State 2011-12 roster

NC State schedule/results

NC State season stats

Duke roster

Duke schedule/results

Duke season stats

Game facts

No. 1 Duke (15-0, 2-0 ACC) at No. 20 NC State (13-2, 2-0)

Game time: Saturday, Jan. 12, Noon — PNC Arena, Raleigh, N.C.

Television: ESPN

Probable starters

NC State
PG — 2 Lorenzo Brown (6-5, 186, Jr., 13.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 6.7 apg, 2.2 spg)
SG — 0 Rodney Purvis (6-3, 195, Fr., 10.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.9 apg)
SF — 15 Scott Wood (6-6, 169, Sr., 12.1 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.2 apg)
PF — 5 C.J. Leslie (6-9, 200, Jr., 15.6 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 1.5 apg, 1.1 spg, 1.1 bpg)
C — 1 Richard Howell (6-8, 257, Sr., 12.7 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 1.7 apg, 1.0 bpg)

Duke
PG — 2 Quinn Cook (6-1, 175, Soph., 11.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 6.1 apg, 1.9 spg)
SG — 30 Seth Curry (6-2, 185, R-Sr., 16.0 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 1.4 apg)
SG — 14 Rasheed Sulaimon (6-4, 185, Fr., 11.2 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.3 apg, 1.0 spg)
PF — 15 Josh Hairston (6-7, 240, Jr., 1.7 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 0.2 apg)
C — 5 Mason Plumlee (6-10, 235, Sr., 17.7 ppg, 11.4 rpg, 1.9 apg, 1.6 bpg)

Duke

Location: Durham, N.C.

Nickname: Blue Devils

2011-12 record: 27-7, 13-3 ACC

2012 postseason: Lost 75-70 to Lehigh in first game of NCAA Tournament

Coach: Mike Krzyzewski, 33rd season at Duke (869-232) and 38th overall (942-291)

Series: Duke leads 138-97

Last meeting: Duke won 78-73 on Feb. 16, 2012, in Durham

Notes

Duke: Senior center Mason Plumlee has enjoyed a breakthrough season. He averaged 11.1 points and 9.2 rebounds last year, while shooting 52.8 percent from the free throw line. He's improved across the board and is shooting a career-high 65.8 percent from the line. Plumlee has nine double-doubles for points and rebounds, and he has scored in double figures in every game but the 68-40 win over Clemson on Tuesday. Plumlee scored a season-high 28 points in an 88-67 win over Florida Gulf Coast Nov. 18, and had 20 points and 17 rebounds in an 89-71 victory over Minnesota Nov. 22 … Senior power forward Ryan Kelly re-injured his foot against Clemson after scoring 12 points in 19 minutes, and will miss the NC State game. Kelly was coming off a season-best 22 points and 5-of-7 shooting from three-point land in a 80-62 victory over Wake Forest Jan. 5. Freshman Amile Jefferson (who picked the Blue Devils over the Wolfpack last May), junior Josh Hairston and perhaps redshirt freshman Marshall Plumlee (Mason's brother) will try and fill the void … Four guards have become interchangeable on the perimeter in sophomore point guard Quinn Cook, freshman wing Rasheed Sulaimon, fifth-year senior wing Seth Curry and junior point guard Tyler Thornton. Curry is averaging 16.0 points and shooting 41.3 percent from three-point land while playing through a nagging leg injury. Curry had 31 points in a 90-77 win over Santa Clara Dec. 29, and added 25 versus Minnesota. The former Liberty standout has hit at least two three-pointers in 10 games … Top recruit Sulaimon has been steady in averaging 11.2 points and shooting 37.5 percent from beyond the arc. He had a career-high 19 points against Florida Gulf Coast … Cook bounced back from going 0 of 11 from the field (but with a season-high 14 assists) against Wake Forest, to score a career-high 27 points and go 3 of 5 from three-point land against Clemson. Cook, who has scored in double figures in eight games, has improved across the board. He averaged 4.4 points and 1.9 assists per game last year, and shot 25.0 percent on three-pointers. He has improved to 11.4 points and 6.1 assists, and is shooting an impressive 45.8 percent from three-point land this season … Thornton is averaging 3.8 points and 2.6 assists in 21.9 minutes per game, and had a season-high 13 points in the opener against Georgia State Nov. 9 … Duke has a pair of players sitting out as redshirts — senior shooting guard Andre Dawkins and sophomore small forward Rodney Hood, a transfer from Mississippi State.


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