Greensboro, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - Second-ranked Duke avenged one of its three in-season losses in most convincing fashion, dominating North Carolina State in all facets during its ACC Tournament opener in rolling to a 77-53 victory in Thursday's quarterfinal round.
The Wolfpack dealt Duke its first defeat of 2014-15 with an 87-75 win in Raleigh on Jan. 11. N.C. State shot 55 percent from the field while rendering the Blue Devils to a season-low 36.9 percent output that night, but the results couldn't have been any different in the rematch.
Duke (29-3) hit on 56.6 percent of its attempts and received contributions throughout the roster, with Quinn Cook topping six Blue Devils in double figures with 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting. Marshall Plumlee went 6-of-6 from the floor for a career-high 12 points, with Justise Winslow, Grayson Allen and Matt Jones all chipping in 11 in the rout.
"I thought our guys were unbelievably ready," said Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski. "They played outstanding defense, and we shared the ball well. To have six guys in double figures and 14 assists and only five turnovers, it's just an outstanding game."
The second-seeded Blue Devils put the game away midway through the first half, allowing Mike Krzyzewski to rest ACC Player of the Year Jahlil Okafor for most of the second half in preparation for Friday's semifinal. The star freshman played just 19 minutes, scoring 10 points.
Duke will now put a 12-game win streak on the line in Friday's semifinal showdown with 11th-ranked Notre Dame, which handed the Blue Devils their most recent loss on Jan. 28.
Seventh-seeded N.C. State (20-13), meanwhile, struggled on both ends in its most lopsided defeat of the season. Point guard Anthony Barber, coming off a career-best 34-point effort in Wednesday's second-round win over Pittsburgh, was held scoreless on 0-of-7 shooting before exiting with 13:26 remaining in the second half following a collision with Duke's Amile Jefferson.
"(We) just wanted to make him work and not leave him because he's been shooting the ball (well)," Cook said of Barber.
Ralston Turner was the Wolfpack's lone bright spot, finishing with 16 points.
N.C. State appeared sluggish out of the gates in its second game in as many nights, while the rested Blue Devils were firing on all cylinders.
Duke roared out to a 13-3 lead just over four minutes in and never allowed the Wolfpack to get back in it, burying shot after shot as N.C. State's offense failed to get untracked.
A 7-0 run shortly afterward increased the Blue Devils' margin to 22-9 with 12:29 left in the first half. The Wolfpack's Trevor Lacey temporarily stopped the momentum by hitting a jumper, but Duke proceeded to score on its next nine possessions to turn the contest into an all-out blowout.
The Blue Devils recorded 13 of the next 15 points, highlighted by a pair of alley-oop stuffs from Plumlee, to stretch the margin to 35-13 with 6:15 left in the period. Another Plumlee dunk, followed by an Allen 3-pointer, had Duke owning a virtually insurmountable 49-20 lead before the Wolfpack's Lennard Freeman hit two free throws to finish out the stanza.
"They played sensational in the first half," Wolfpack head coach Mark Gottfried said of Duke. "They moved the ball quick. They were quicker than we were. We had a hard time defending them, and it was just one of those days where they had everything going, and we struggled to get something going."
N.C. State never threatened after the break either as Duke continued to keep its foot on the gas. A 3-point play from Cook 2 1/2 minutes into the second half made it a 30-point game at 54-24, and the Wolfpack never got within 24 points the rest of the way.
Duke outscored the Wolfpack by a 46-22 margin in the paint ... N.C. State's previous worst loss this season was 16 points, a 76-60 setback to Cincinnati on Dec. 30 and a 79-63 defeat at Boston College on Feb. 28 ... Plumlee entered Thursday's clash averaging just 2.0 points on the season and hadn't scored in double figures in any game ... The Blue Devils improved to 16-0 this season when shooting 50 percent or better ... Malik-Abdul Abu finished with 10 points for the Wolfpack.