DURHAM, N.C. — Duke junior point guard Quinn Cook exploded for 24 second-half points to help the Blue Devils pull away from Michigan 79-69 on Tuesday at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Michigan wanted somebody other than Duke star freshman forward Jabari Parker or redshirt sophomore forward Rodney Hood to hurt them offensively in the annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Cook stepped up to score all of his points in the second half, plus he added nine assists in the victory for the No. 10-ranked Blue Devils (7-2).
Michigan fell to 5-3 overall on the young season, but hopes it came away with some valuable learning lessons that will help out down the road. The No. 22-ranked Wolverines host Houston Baptist on Saturday.
"We weren't going to give them [Parker, Hood] a lot of space," Beilein said. "We loaded up on them as much as we could. We paid for it. Cook hit some big jump shots and [Andre] Dawkins obviously did, and those were big plays for us. We weren't going to let those two gets 26 and 28 and beat us."
Parker finished with 15 points and six rebounds, and Hood added 14 points and five boards, but the Duke guards proved to be the difference in the second half.
Michigan trailed 46-40 with 9:01 left in the game, but the one-two perimeter punch of Cook and fifth-year senior shooting guard Andre Dawkins opened up the game. Duke struggled some with its shooting during the first half — the Blue Devils went 13 of 31 for 41.9 percent — but shot lights out in the second (60 percent) thanks in part to Cook and Dawkins.
Dawkins came off the bench and promptly hit back-to-back three-pointers and eventually added a drive, which Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski called "huge." Cook also added a three-pointer to help Duke go on a 11-2 run to take a commanding 57-42 least with 6:43 left in the game. The Wolverines never got closer than 10 points the rest of the way, which proved to be the final margin.
"Quinn was magnificent the whole game," Krzyzewski said. "We told him to be very aggressive in the second half, and he was. Then he hit 10 of 10 at the free-throw line, which sowed up the game."
The game could have gotten out of hand for the Wolverines if not for the impressive effort by sophomore shooting guard Caris LeVert. Whether slashing to the rim for dunk or hitting the occasional jumper, LeVert scored 20 of his team-high 24 points in the second half to help Michigan hang around as long as possible.
"We saw openings with ball screens to get down hill a little bit, and we did that," LeVert said.
LeVert had two big dunks, with the second off a nice backdoor cut, and he also added a three-pointer, but all it could do was keep Michigan within striking distance 64-50 with 3:26 left.
"He was terrific and instead of just shooting the ball from outside, he drove the ball," Krzyzewski said. "I thought he gave them a huge lift. They were having a hard time scoring and LeVert just put them on his back."
Beilein knew he could exploit Duke's defense with LeVert, and decided to run his offense through the bouncy wing, who matched his previous season-high against South Carolina State on Nov. 12.
"In the second half we got it going and changed the game plan by playing through Caris more," Beilein said. "That is how we got those 47 points (in second half)."
LeVert's scoring prowess wasn't enough to make up for the combined 12 points from sophomores Glenn Robinson III and Nik Stauskas. The latter was coming off an ankle injury, but Beilein wasn't sure how much it affected him. The gunslinger from Canada played 34 minutes, but never was engaged offensively, and went 0 of 2 from the field.
"They really tried to keep Stauskas' touches low and not let him get in a rhythm," Beilein said. "We were missing Nik's normal game and we had trouble scoring points without him.
"Duke's defense was really good. Nik hasn't been able to practice, but he did practice a little bit yesterday. We'll find out [how hurt he was]."
Krzyzewski zeroed in on stopping Stauskas, who entered the game with five games with at least 20 points this season, while shooting 47.4 percent from three-point land. Duke guards Tyler Thornton and Matt Jones were in charge of picking up Stauskas all over the court.
"We played so hard on the defensive end and beat an outstanding team," Krzyzewski said. "John's teams are terrific. They give you so many looks offensively and defensively.
"Our defensive was outstanding. One of the keys for us was to try and limit Stauskas. We felt coming into this game, he was the best two guard we have faced so far this season. The huge thing was that we didn't give up any threes in transition."
Duke's balance overcame the one-two punch of Michigan's LeVert and sophomore center Mitch McGary, who worked hard until the final whistle to finish with 15 points and 14 rebounds.
Michigan has played road games at Iowa State Nov. 17 and Duke, two of the toughest places to play in college basketball this season.
"The Cameron Crazies create a great atmosphere here at Cameron Indoor," McGary said. "It was a pleasure playing here, but it didn't turn out how we wanted it to.
"We can show much we've learned from playing in these hostile environments. We need to play with a lot more poise, but I think down the road it can help."
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