NC State-Duke Preview
By JEFF MEZYDLO
(AP) -- Back on track after a frustrating home loss more than a week ago, Duke is only focused on moving forward.
The fifth-ranked Blue Devils look for a third consecutive victory while trying to continue their home dominance over North Carolina State at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Thursday night in an ACC contest.
Since suffering a 78-74 overtime home loss to Miami on Feb. 5, Duke (21-4, 8-2) regrouped to stun then-No. 5 North Carolina 85-84 on Austin Rivers' buzzer-beating 3-pointer at Chapel Hill three days later. The Blue Devils then avoided a letdown by winning 73-55 over Maryland at home Saturday.
"They are two big wins," coach Mike Krzyzewski told Duke's official website. "We'll continue to try and use approaches as we go forward. Getting conference wins is the most important thing."
Miles Plumlee had 13 points with a career-high 22 rebounds while younger brother Mason scored 16 and pulled down 10 boards as the Blue Devils overcame a 38.5 percent shooting performance by outscoring Maryland 41-26 in the second half.
"It shows that we're growing," forward Ryan Kelly said. "It's something we can look at moving forward and say we did some really good things."
Though Duke has shot a combined 38.3 percent in the last two home games, it continues to build confidence while playing well in other areas. The Blue Devils held the Terrapins to 1 of 14 shooting from 3-point range and outrebounded them 48-33.
"We played with energy (Saturday), we played hard and when we do that, we're going to play hard on offense and defense," Miles Plumlee said. "It showed up in the little things. We got loose balls, offensive boards and we just put the game away."
Duke has had little problem putting away North Carolina State (18-7, 7-3) during a 13-game home winning streak over the Wolfpack that dates to a 77-60 loss there during the 1994-95 season. The Blue Devils have shot 51.3 percent while winning seven of the last eight meetings at Cameron Indoor by at least 10 points.
Mason Plumlee, who has recorded double-doubles in three of the last six games, had 16 points with 12 rebounds in a 76-52 home win over North Carolina State on Feb. 5, 2011.
Though the Wolfpack have struggled at Cameron Indoor, they are 4-1 on the road in ACC play and one game behind the Blue Devils in the league standings. N.C. State, though, is still lacking a signature win under coach Mark Gottfried, having gone 0-4 against ranked opponents in his first season as it seeks its first NCAA tournament berth since 2006.
C.J. Williams scored 15 points while C.J. Leslie added 13 with 10 rebounds as the Wolfpack held Georgia Tech to 1 for 17 shooting from 3-points range and forced 16 turnovers to win their third straight overall, 61-52 last Thursday. Junior forward Scott Wood had 10 points and finally missed a free throw, snapping his ACC-record streak at 66.
Wood averages a team-leading 13.4 points per game, but was held scoreless in 36 minutes at Duke last season.
North Carolina State, which already lost at North Carolina, is 3-25 at its Tobacco Road rivals since the start of the 1996-97 season.
Updated February 15, 2012