The defending NCAA tournament champion Duke Blue Devils picked up some more hardware today, bringing home the CBE Classic championship with a win over the Kansas State Wildcats. For all the experience Duke has, it was freshman Kyrie Irving leading the charge. Irving was everywhere for the Blue Devils, scoring 17 points while adding five rebounds, five assists and three steals.
The Blue Devils stayed in control for much of the game, keeping themselves just out of Kansas State’s reach with strong defense while answering any runs the Wildcats made. Duke locked down the Kansas State starters, limiting them to just 25 points combined. With Jacob Pullen completely ineffective all night, the Wildcats had no answer for the defending NCAA champions. The Wildcats’ free throw woes didn’t help their cause, with the team combining to hit only 47.8 percent of their free throws, 11 of 23.
While Irving stole the show, he got plenty of help from his friends. Nolan Smith (17 points), Kyle Singler (11) and Mason Plumlee (11) joined the freshman guard in double figures. Smith and Plumlee also added five rebounds for the Blue Devils. Duke shot a combined 50 percent from both the field and from three point range, while holding a 31-23 free throw advantage over the ’Cats.
Pullen’s four points broke a streak of 41 consecutive games in double figures. Curtis Kelly led the Wildcats with 19 points and six rebounds off the bench, nearly matching the starters’ combined production. Rodney McGruder pulled down a game-high six rebounds for Kansas State.
In a battle of early-season top-5 teams, it was No. 1 Duke surviving the early test. The Blue Devils showed they were for real with a convincing 14 point win in the talent-laden CBE Classic field.