Score: #5 Duke 67, VCU 58
Record: VCU (3-2), Duke (5-0)
Location: Imperial Arena - Atlantis Resorts - Nassau, Bahamas
The Short Story: The Rams showed the country that it could battle with the best of them, taking fifth-ranked Duke to the wire, but ultimately dropped a 67-58 decision in the second round of the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament. Leading the charge was junior forward Juvonte Reddic, who posted his second double-double of the year with 16 points and 13 rebounds while facing off against one of nation's best big man in Duke's Mason Plumlee.
DUKE STARTERS: #2 Quinn Cook, #5 Mason Plumlee, #14 Rasheed Sulaimon, #30 Seth Curry, #34 Ryan Kelly
How It Happened
- VCU jumped all over the Blue Devils with the game's first six poitns and after an offensive putback from Reddic, Coach K was forced to call the game's first timeout.
- Duke would respond and cut eventually took a five-point lead on a layup from Rasheed Sulaimon with 2:35 to play in the first half.
- However, the resilient Rams connected on back-to-back three-pointers from sophomore Treveon Graham and senior Darius Theus, to take a one-point lead, 28-27 with just over a minute left before the break.
- Duke's Quinn Cook got a layup to fall with just under 10 seconds to send the Blue Devils into halftime with a 29-28 advantage.
- The Blue Devils came out of the break aggressive, pushing their lead to as many as 12 after Seth Curry connected on a jumper with 14:27 remaining
- However, the Rams would respond once again, cutting the lead to just four after Reddic hit back-to-back buckets to make the score 54-50 with 9:20 left on the clock.
- The teams would trade buckets, but Duke would go a perfect six-for-six from the charity stripe over the final four minutes to seal the 67-58 victory.
Beyond the Box Score
- Reddic's 16-point, 13-rebound outing was his second double-double of the year and eighth of his career.
- The eight forced turnovers by the Rams were the fewest forced for VCU since their 94-76 win over Purdue in the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
- The Rams have yet to be outrebounded this season, winning the rebounding battle against the Blue Devils by a tally of 41-34.
- Reddic (13) and Graham (8) both posted career-highs in rebounding.
Head Coach Shaka Smart:
- "It was a great game by Duke. They were the better team. They played with more discipline. They made more shots and free throws. I give our guys a lot of credit. Our guys fought and never gave up. But obviously didn't play well enough to win."
- "The guys at the line are good free throw shooters. I feel good about having those guys at the foul line. We just have to get back to work, shooting free throws and getting better in pressured situation. I don't think the game came down to free throws alone – we fouled them too much. In our offense end, we missed more than free throws. We shot a low percentage from the field."
Senior Darius Theus
- "We just have to play harder. We had spurts when our press was good, but against Duke or any great team, we have to do it for all 40 minutes and we just weren't able to do that tonight."
Junior Juvonte Reddic
- "It was a real physical game. They had two great guys - it was a lot of physical and we knew that coming into the game. Coach made a big emphasis on it and we were prepared, but didn't go our way tonight."
Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski
- "It was a great basketball game. I think that is the best game played this season so far everywhere. It was no possession off for any team. They are a terrific basketball team. Shaka is a terrific coach. It was a terrific game. "
- "Graham is a really good player and I think he is their best player. And he is an amazing match-up problem.
COMING UP NEXT:
- VCU takes on 13th-ranked Missouri in the third-place game on Saturday night. Game time on NBC Sports Network is set for 7 p.m.