The last meeting came down to the final minutes, this one was over within the first five, and the high flying Boston College Eagles quickly came back down to reality.
Freshman Rasheed Sulaimon scored a career high 27 points, and Mason Plumlee scored 19 and added 15 rebounds to lead the Devils. past BC 89-68.
The win marks the Blue Devils sudden offensive resurgence following last weekend’s loss. Duke is averaging 89 points in their last two victories.
Duke was a little slow coming out of the gate offensively, but the defensive intensity was there all game long, which helped Duke force 16 Boston College turnovers. Duke took off after a quick early timeout and they never looked back. After a few threes fell and a Plumlee dunk, this one felt like a preseason exhibition.
Duke was up 51-27 at the half, and there was really no doubt about the outcome with the exception of the score. Sulaimon and fellow freshman Amile Jefferson had career nights in the scoring column. Jefferson’s 14, Quinn Cook’s 12, and Seth Curry’s 11 gave the Blue Devils five players with double figure stats, which was common with Ryan Kelly in the lineup.
Duke seems to be meshing with this group, and with a variety of players filling Kelly’s role, Duke has the look again of a potential number 1 seed, but the talk following the Blue Devils victory today centered around a possible return for the injured senior captain.
The hopes of getting Kelly back by tournament time sounds quite inviting, but beware, as there were growing pains with his injury, and they will resurface with his return.
We can only hope that this Duke team is capable of incorporating Kelly back into the lineup without any disruption. With Kelly’s return only a possibility Duke needs to focus on a tough Virginia team who has been extremely tough at home this season. And Duke can’t look past them as they anticipate their rematch with current ACC leader Miami on the horizon.
For now Duke has to be encouraged by their performance in the last two games, especially on the defensive end, an area where they hadn’t been executing very well.
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