Mason Plumlee owned the first month of the season.
As the Blue Devils beat Kentucky, VCU, Minnesota, Louisville and Ohio State, Plumlee averaged 19.9 points and 11.0 boards played his way to the top of everyone’s Player of the Year list while leading the Blue Devils to a No. 1 ranking.
But the biggest difference between this season Mason Plumlee and last season Mason Plumlee? He was getting to the foul line more often, and he was actually making those free throws. In his first three seasons, Plumlee shot 50.5% from the free throw line. In his first seven games this season, however, Plumlee was 45-57 from the free throw line, a brisk 78.9% clip while averaging a career-high 8.1 attempts per game.
Since then, however, it has been a different story for Plumlee.
In his last seven games, Plumlee’s shooting just 32-59 from the charity stripe, which is just 54.2%. That includes a 3-9 performance against Wake Forest on Saturday afternoon. His numbers on the season have dropped all the way down to 66.4%.
The good thing for the Blue Devils is that the only time they have played a team that game them a serious upset threat — Santa Clara this past week — Plumlee was 10-15 from the line. And given the weakness of the ACC this season, it may be a while before the Blue Devils actually do face someone that gives them a serious threat.
But it’s worth noting. In a close game, might Plumlee’s free throw struggles cost Duke a win?
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.