Sulaimon leads Duke past BC; Kelly eyes return
Freshman Rasheed Sulaimon scored a season-high 27 points and No. 6 Duke routed Boston College 89-68 on Sunday.
Mason Plumlee added 19 points and 15 rebounds for the Blue Devils (24-3, 11-3 Atlantic Coast Conference). They shot nearly 54 percent — 62 percent during the first half — and outscored BC 48-17 during the 15½ minute span that put this one out of reach by halftime.
Freshman Amile Jefferson added a season-high 14 points, Quinn Cook had 12 and Seth Curry finished with 11 for Duke, which had five double-figure scorers for the fifth time.
Ryan Anderson scored 23 points to lead the Eagles (12-15, 4-10). They had 16 turnovers, were held to one field goal during a 10-minute stretch that coincided with Duke's dominating early burst and lost their fourth in six games while dropping to 0-7 at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
The Blue Devils faced little resistance in going up 51-27 at the break — their largest halftime lead of the season — and didn't let BC get closer than 21 in the second half while making up some valuable ground in the chase for the top seed in the ACC tournament.
In winning their eighth in nine games, they moved two games behind No. 2 Miami. The first-place Hurricanes were upset by Wake Forest one day earlier and come to Cameron on Saturday — where Duke has been dominant.
Sulaimon was 10 of 15 while surpassing his previous best of 25 points set last month against Maryland. Jefferson bested his 13-point performance in last month's loss at Miami.
And Plumlee, a 56 percent free-throw shooter for his career, was 11 of 15 from the line while becoming the 31st player in ACC history to reach 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.
They helped Duke improve to 14-0 at home with only two games decided by single digits. In their previous six ACC home games, the Blue Devils' average margin of victory was nearly 17 points.
They entered as the ACC's best 3-point shooting team, and were 7 of 15 from long range against the league's worst team at defending the arc.
Patrick Heckmann had 15 points and freshman Olivier Hanlan finished with 12 on 5-of-13 shooting for the young Eagles. Their starting lineup consists solely of freshmen and sophomores, and they entered 1-6 in ACC games decided by five or fewer points.
One of those was a 62-61 loss to Duke two weeks earlier in Boston, where BC let a late five-point lead slip away.
The rematch was never in danger of coming down to the wire.
Duke controlled this one almost from the tip, putting three players — all underclassmen — in double figures in the opening 20 minutes.
Sulaimon scored 15 while Cook and Jefferson each had 10, with Jefferson converting three-point plays on consecutive trips downcourt late in the half. Sulaimon then tacked on a three-point play with 47.7 seconds left to give Duke its largest lead of the half at 51-22.
Meanwhile, the Eagles finished the half with more turnovers (13) than field goals (10).
Duke's Kelly wants to return for Senior Night
Injured Duke forward Ryan Kelly says he wants to return for the Blue Devils' home finale March 5.
Kelly spoke to reporters for the first time since injuring his right foot Jan. 8. He missed his 12th straight game Sunday and watched Duke's 89-68 rout of Boston College from the bench in dress clothes and a boot on the foot.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski says Kelly is "going to be back soon," but he doesn't know what "soon" means.
The power forward with perimeter touch says he'd "love to play Senior Night" against Virginia Tech but is listening to the team's medical staff.
He says he has yet to practice, so "some amazing things would have to happen" for a return either Thursday at Virginia or Saturday against No. 2 Miami.