How would Duke respond after their beat down put to them by Miami this past Wednesday night? That was the question of the day, and boy did Duke respond! Duke responded in stellar fashion. Duke was able to beat the Maryland Terrapins who boasted a much taller front line than Duke 84-64. Right from the opening tip, Duke’s energy was high, and their intensity was through the roof. Cameron was as loud as it has been all season which helped as well.
Rasheed Sulaimon scored a career high 25 points! He has officially shot himself out of his slump that lasted for about a month. He now has scored in double figures in three straight games. Rasheed’s 3 point stroke was on today. He shot an incredible 6-8 from the three point stripe. Duke will need him to score more consistently during the absence of Ryan Kelly.
Mason Plumlee added 19 points for the Blue Devils. Mason threw down some emphatic dunks in this game with the best dunk coming late in the second half when Cook drove the ball down the lane. Cook missed, and Plumlee came in and grabbed it over 2 Maryland defenders, and threw down a monstrous reverse dunk that got Cameron rocking! Mason was awarded a technical foul after the play for taunting, but the dunk would have been enough. It spoke for itself, and could go down as one of the best dunks all time in a Duke uniform.
Duke got up early in the first half, and stayed up comfortably over the Maryland team throughout the rest of the game. The Duke starters played like the game was close though and they broke it open midway through the second half.
Alex Len is Maryland’s leading scorer, and he tallied only 8 points, and 10 rebounds. Dez Wells and Charles Mitchell each added 13 points for the Maryland team.
All 5 of Duke’s starters scored in double figures in what to be appeared as a big game for this Duke Basketball team. Mason Plumlee and company apparently wanted to come out and set the tone with energy early on, and they did. Duke will need to play with this kind of intensity the rest of the way to become ready in March. This Duke team is a mature team, and the way that they responded after the week that they endured was an incredible amount of maturity. The entire team only committed 4 turnovers with none of them coming in the second half. Duke’s ability to take care of the ball and make good decisions is something that Duke Fans should be very happy about going forward. If you can take care of the ball, and make good decisions, you can compete with any team in basketball on most nights!
The only two criticisms that you could give the Duke team today are rebounding, and bench production. Duke only received 5 bench points, and was outrebounded by a good rebounding team in Maryland. If Duke had of rebounded a bit better, the game would not have been close early on. Duke fans though have to be pleased with the way that Amile Jefferson is playing in place of the injured Ryan Kelly. Amile chipped in 11 points, and 9 rebounds. His defense is getting better as well as his timing on blocking shots down low. He needs to continue to get stronger, and this kid could be a special player at Duke University!
Duke has to be pleased with the way that they responded today, but the team will admit that they have a long way to go. Duke will travel to Wake Forest for a game this Wednesday. Let’s hope that Duke continues to build on their Saturday play!
By Josh Evans
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