Dec 082011
 
Authors: Kevin Lytle

Duke University doesn’t need any help winning games.

The Blue Devils score 77 points per game. They have won 40 consecutive home games.

But the CSU (5-4) basketball team provided plenty of help in Wednesday’s 87-64 loss to Duke.

The Rams turned the ball over 14 times, including 10 in the first half.

CSU was down only two points, 13-11, almost halfway through the first half, but the Rams had four key turnovers that allowed Duke (8-1) to turn the lead into 12 points.

“We had some unforced errors,” CSU coach Tim Miles said. “We had some guys that lost their poise, or didn’t play smart enough with the basketball in their hand.You have to be really physically tough and mentally tough in an environment like that, and we just didn’t meet that challenge and they made that run.”

By halftime, Duke had blown the lead up to 17 points and the Rams were left to dig out of a massive hole in a hostile environment.

In the second half, CSU was able to cut the deficit to 13 on a couple of occasions, but Duke shot too well, and held the ball in a way that never allowed the Rams to cut the deficit to a number that allowed them back into the game.

Duke only turned the ball over nine times and shot an impressive 56 percent from the field. And every time CSU looked like it could cut the gap, Duke hit a big three.

“We made a nice run early in the second half, we really got on the attack on offense,” Miles said. “We just couldn’t sustain. We couldn’t get defensive stops. They made some tough shots. They’ve got a lot of weapons. That’s what really good teams do. And Duke is really good.”

In the second half, CSU came out well, but Duke just had too much talent and balance for the Rams to come back.

Duke was led in scoring by freshman Austin Rivers who scored 17 points on 5-9 shooting. And the Rams lack of height inside, CSU didn’t start a player over 6-4, cost them.

The Plumlee brothers, Miles and Mason, both over 6-10, had their way on the inside.

Mason scored 14 points while recording 10 rebounds in 25 minutes of action. His brother, Miles, also scored 14 points in just 19 minutes of action.

“The Plumlee’s were a difficult matchup for us,” Miles said. “They took advantage of that. They went inside in a variety of ways.”

CSU now has a week-and-a-half off during finals before facing Texas Southern on Dec. 19 and the Rams have an opportunity to go on a run before conference play begins.

“We’ve got 12 days off now,” Miles said. “I look at our schedule and I say we’ve put our guys against some high, high quality teams and some really difficult situations and environments. Hopefully that’s prepared us for Mountain West conference play.”

Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Lytle can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

Final: CSU-64 Duke-87
Top scorer: Greg Smith, 18 points
Up next: Dec. 19, vs. Texas Southern University

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