Sulaimon putting up winning numbers for Duke; BC hits town today

Feb. 23, 2013 @ 08:19 PM

A freshman starting on a team with legitimate Final Four hopes, Rasheed Sulaimon has been playing so well lately solid performances are becoming commonplace.

Last Thursday night, the 6-4 guard from Houston made 7 of 11 shots, including three 3-pointers, to score 17 points as Duke romped to an 88-56 win at Virginia Tech.

In his post-game comments, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski analyzed his team’s performance, which was led by Seth Curry’s 22 points and a 13-point, 12-rebound, five-assist night from Mason Plumlee.

Suddenly, Krzyzewski glanced at the statistic sheet and said “Rasheed really had a very quiet 17 points.”

And that speaks to how well Suliamon is playing as No. 6 Duke (23-3, 10-3 ACC ) faces Boston College today (2 p.m., WRAL).

Over Duke’s last six games, Sulaimon has scored in double figures in five of them. He hasn’t missed a free throw in any of them, going 14 for 14. That included three clutch free throws with 16 seconds to play to tie the score at Maryland on Feb. 16.

Duke lost that game 83-81 but Sulaimon’s 16-point, four-rebound performance was a highlight for the Blue Devils.

Nights like that have Sulaimon at the forefront of the conversation around who will be ACC rookie of the year.

Sulaimon is averaging 11.9 points while making 42.7 percent of his shots. He’s made 40.6 percent of his 3-pointers, which gives Duke’s opponents someone on the perimeter to worry about in addition to Curry.

Sulaimon has scored in double figures in 18 of Duke’s 26 games. Two of the games he failed to produce were in early January, when he was a combined 1 of 15 from the field in games against Clemson and N.C. State.

He quickly recovered, though, scoring 15, 16 and a season-best 25 points over his next three games.

At Virginia Tech on Thursday night, Sulaimon benefited from Duke’s strong ball movement on offense. Plumlee’s five assists from the post are evidence that the Blue Devils were looking inside and out for points.

“We scored as a team,” Sulaimon said.

Sulaimon was a factor in that and that has him No. 3 in the ACC in the freshman scoring race. The 41 3-pointers he has made are the most among ACC freshmen.