Nassau, Bahamas (4E Sports) – Mason Plumlee scored 16 points to lead four other starters in double figures as No. 5 Duke defeated No. 2 Louisville, 76-71, to capture the Battle 4 Atlantis crown Saturday at Imperial Arena.
Quinn Cook added 15 points while Ryan Kelly, Seth Curry and Rasheed Sulaimon scored 14 points apiece as the Blue Devils started 6-0 for the sixth straight season and for the 10th time in the last 12 years.
Duke also won its 23rd consecutive regular-season tournament game, dating back to the 2006 CBE Classic.
Cook was later adjudged as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, after averaging 13.7 points, 6.3 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game in Duke’s three victories.
For the tournament, Cook shot 50.0 percent (4-of-8) from the three-point line and 91.7 percent (11-of-12) from the free throw line.
The starters combined for 73 of Duke’s 76 points, or 96 percent of the team’s total output. This season, the five have combined to average 71.2 points per game, or 91.0 percent of Duke’s total scoring.
The Blue Devils’ output was the most points that Louisville has allowed in its last 18 games dating back to a 90-82 overtime win over DePaul Feb. 18, 2012. It was the most points Louisville has allowed in a regulation game since Dec. 17, 2011.
Guard Peyton Siva scored 19 points and six steals while Russ Smith added 17 for the Cardinals, who tasted their first defeat in six games.
Duke led most of the way while Louisville held the upperhand for just 80 seconds, carrying a 2-0 lead for 49 seconds in the first half and a 59-58 advantage for 31 seconds in the second half.
Cook then put Duke ahead for good, 61-59, with a three-pointer at the 7:48 mark. Cook also scored Duke’s final six points with 13 seconds remaining to stave off a late Louisville comeback.
The Cardinals came within three points three times in the final minute before Cook responded with buckets each time to make it a two-possession game.