Duke keeps rolling
With the regular season winding down and all the success Duke basketball has experienced during Mike Krzyzewski’s tenure in mind, it becomes easy to start comparing this year’s Blue Devils with other teams.
Krzyzewski refuses to play that game and, as a result, neither does his team.
That’s why when facing a downtrodden Boston College on Sunday at Cameron Indoor Stadium, the No. 6-ranked Blue Devils took care of the Eagles 89-68 in an efficient manner.
“We are running our own race,” Krzyzewski said after his team shot 53.8 percent to dominate Boston College. “It’s been a good one. We are going to try to keep doing it. But we’re not going to compare it to anyone else’s race, including past Duke teams. This is our race and we’re going to try to be focused on that.”
That focus was quickly evident as Duke (24-3, 11-3 in ACC) overwhelmed the Eagles. The Blue Devils shot 62.1 percent in the first half, tying its best first half of shooting this season, to lead 51-27 at halftime.
Just two weeks earlier, Boston College missed a shot in the final seconds at the Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, Mass., and Duke escaped with a 62-61 win.
The drama on Sunday was gone 13 minutes into the game as Duke built a 26-9 lead.
“It started with our defense,” Duke senior center Mason Plumlee said. “When we pay attention to the scouting report and do a really good job of that, it translates and I thought we did a much better job.”
Boston College endured a six-minute stretch without a field goal. The Eagles turned the ball over 13 times in the first half and had no chance to catch Duke.
“Unfortunately for us,” Boston College coach Steve Donahue said, “I didn’t think we handled the first trip into this building very well for most of our guys.”
Rasheed Sulaimon had the best scoring day of his young Duke career. The 6-4 freshman guard from Houston scored 27 points, making 10 of 15 shots. Sulaimon had a team-best three 3-pointers.
“I thought we did a great job of moving the ball around, setting great screen and just playing with each other,” Sulaimon said. “When I had the open shot, I took it. We did such a great job moving the ball that on my drives, a lot of it was on rotations where guys were running out hard on me. So I just gave them a little fake and it opened up to the lane.”
Sulaimon entered Sunday third in scoring among freshman in the ACC. Boston College’s Olivier Hanlan led the way with a 14.5 scoring average. But Hanlan scored only 12 points against Duke while turning the ball over four times.
Sulaimon, meanwhile, scored in double figures for the sixth time in the last seven games. His scoring average is now 12.4 points per game.
“Early on in the season, I thought I was doing a lot of second-guessing and not wanting to make mistakes,” Sulaimon said. “Now my teammates and the coaching staff have a great deal of confidence in me and I just always want to make them feel proud of me.”
Plumlee made it very clear he feels exactly that way about Sulaimon.
“There’s not another freshman I’d rather have on my team that Rasheed,” Plumlee said. “And that’s easy.”
Plumlee did his part as well, scoring 19 points while grabbing 15 rebounds. Freshman forward Amile Jefferson scored 14 points off the bench. Quinn Cook had 12 and Seth Curry 11 for the Blue Devils, who are now 14-0 at home this season.