Top-ranked Duke plays host to Cornell

Published December 19, 2012

| Sports Network

The Duke Blue Devils put a couple of lengthy win streaks on the line on Wednesday, as they play host to the Cornell Big Red at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

The Blue Devils have ascended the top-25 and come into this week as the number one team in the nation, thanks to Indiana's loss to Butler this past weekend. Mike Krzyzewski's squad has knocked off three top-five teams already this year, and moved to 9-0 on the season with a 90-67 win over Temple on Dec. 8. Duke has won 98 straight non-conference games in Durham, the longest such streak in the country. Under Coach K, Duke has played more games as the top team in the country (209) than as an unranked team (141).

The Big Red will be fighting an uphill battle in this one, as the team is still in search of its first road win on the season. Colgate is 4-6 overall and 0-3 in true road games this season, following a 66-55 setback at Vanderbilt on Monday.

This is the fifth all-time meeting between these two teams. Duke has won all four previous matchups with Cornell and owns a +28.3 scoring margin in the four games.

The Big Red nearly overcame a 19-point first-half deficit at Vanderbilt on Monday, pulling within two points in the second half, but couldn't complete the feat, falling by 11 points to the Commodores in Nashville. Shonn Miller posted his second straight double-double with 13 points and a career-high 15 rebounds, but it wasn't enough. Eitan Chemerinski added 10 points as the only other player to net double digits in the loss for Cornell.

Efficient play at the offensive end has plagued the Big Red this season, as Cornell enters this contest averaging a mere 63.9 ppg, while being held just under 40 percent shooting (.394). Miller leads the team in scoring (10.3 ppg), rebounding (8.2 rpg), steals (20) and blocks (19). Nolan Cressler (8.3 ppg), Chemerinski (8.1 ppg), Devin Cherry (7.9 ppg) and Johnathan Gray (7.3 ppg) provide limited scoring depth for the Big Red.

Seth Curry has been nursing a leg injury, but gutted one out against Temple in East Rutherford, netting a game-high 23 points in Duke's lopsided win over the Owls. Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly dominated in the paint, as both recorded double-doubles in the win. Plumlee finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds, while Kelly added 14 points and 10 boards of his own. Quinn Cook aided Curry from the perimeter, with 14 points in the impressive victory.

A +16.1 scoring margin has been a huge factor in Duke's ascension in the national rankings. The Blue Devils have been ultra-efficient at the offensive end, rolling up 80.0 ppg, on .480 shooting, which has been bolstered by a .400 clip from behind the arc. There are certainly no shortage of scoring options on the Duke roster, but Plumlee has been the driving force. One of the nation's premier big men this season, the 6-foot-10 senior is shooting .611 from the field, while averaging 19.2 points and 11.3 rebounds per game. Curry fills up the basket from the perimeter at 16.1 ppg, while Kelly (13.1 ppg), Rasheed Sulaimon (12.3 ppg) and Cook (10.9 ppg) provide unmatched depth.

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