DURHAM – Duke’s Blue-White scrimmage Friday night was an opportunity for a player to show he wants to lead the team.
Junior point guard Seth Curry did that in spectacular fashion.
Curry scored 16 of his 28 points in the second half and accounted for half the Blue team’s scoring in a 56-53 win at the preseason-opening “Countdown to Craziness” event.
He shot 8-for-13 from the field, and made nine of 10 free throws, rallying his team from a 13-point halftime deficit. After committing a backcourt turnover with 19 seconds remaining and the Blue nursing a one-point lead, Curry stole the ball from Ryan Kelly and made both ends of a one-and-one free throw opportunity.
“Obviously Seth was fantastic,” said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. “Very efficient 28 points. I thought he took really good shots, hit all his free throws, and he made two unbelievable steals. He made two great steals. And I thought he was the difference.”
Krzyzewski has said Curry is quiet by nature and is trying to get him to be more of a vocal leader.
“I just tried to do that tonight,” Curry said. “Our team kind of struggled at first, so we just had to pull out of that hole, and I was trying to be the guy to get that going.”
Miles of improvement. Senior co-captain Miles Plumlee appeared to be a much-improved player over last season.
He led the White team with 15 points and led all players with eight rebounds. He also won the dunk contest with a leap over younger brother Marshall in the finals.
“Miles is playing great,” Krzyzewski said. “He’s so powerful and he’s in such a good place. He’s talking out there. I’m really happy for him. He’s put a lot of work in.”
Krzyzewski said offensive rebounding could be a huge factor for the Blue Devils with Miles and Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly banging on the boards in a three-player rotation for two positions.
Miles Plumlee had six offensive rebounds, and Mason Plumlee and Kelly had three apiece.
“Our big guys are good,” Krzyzewski said. “The two Plumlees and Ryan, they’re very good basketball players.”
Freshmen make impact. All five players in Duke’s highly regarded freshman class made their presence felt in the scrimmage.
As expected, wing Austin Rivers was the leader of his class, as he scored 13 of his 14 points in the first half.
Point guard Quinn Cook scored seven points, shot 3-for-4 from the field and handed out two assists.
“They can all help us,” Krzyzewski said. “There’s no question about that. We’re going to need them to.”
David Scott has been with the Observer for 28 years and has written about ACC, SEC and other college sports in the Charlotte region. He covers Wake Forest, South Carolina and college soccer for the Observer and (Raleigh) News & Observer.
J.P. Giglio covers the ACC for the News & Observer, where he has worked since 1997, and the Observer.
Andrew Carter covers the North Carolina Tar Heels for the Observer and News & Observer.
Laura Keeley covers the Duke Blue Devils for the Observer and News & Observer. Follow her on Twitter.
Chip Alexander covers the Carolina Hurricanes and college football for the News & Observer, where he has worked since 1979, and the Observer.
Luke DeCock has worked for The News & Observer since 2000. He covered the Carolina Hurricanes and the NHL before becoming a sports columnist for the Observer and News & Observer in August 2008.
Tim Crothers is an author and former senior writer at Sports Illustrated who is joining the sports staff to write a regular column during the rest of the college basketball season.