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Duke eases past Boston College

The SportsXchange

DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke had no interest in being part of any more upheaval in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The sixth-ranked Blue Devils rode a season-high 27 points from freshman guard Rasheed Sulaimon in cruising past Boston College 89-68 on Sunday afternoon at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

"We've been trying to survive, which no one believes," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "We're running our own race, which has been a good one."

The second-place Blue Devils (24-3, 11-3 ACC), who've won eight of their last nine games, remain within striking distance of the top spot in the league.

Duke trails first-place Miami by two games in the ACC standings with four games remaining for each team. They meet Saturday night in Durham.

Krzyzewski said injured senior forward Ryan Kelly is working toward a return to action though he hasn't played since early January. No timetable has been set.

In the meantime, the Blue Devils have showcased an array of offensive weapons.

"We're a team with a lot of scorers so you can't just focus on one guy," said Mason Plumlee, whose 19 points and 15 rebounds translated into his 16th double-double of the season.

Duke's Amile Jefferson racked up 14 points, Quinn Cook added 12 and Seth Curry finished with 11. Sulaimon posted 15 first-half points.

The emergence of Jefferson, a freshman forward, in Kelly's absence has been crucial for the Blue Devils.

"I like the way my two freshmen really finished," Krzyzewski said of Sulaimon and Jefferson scoring around the basket. "It's a sign of growth."

Sulaimon and Jefferson combined to shoot 15 for 22 from the field.

Boston College (12-15, 4-10), which lost its sixth consecutive road outing, was trying for back-to-back wins -- something it hasn't had since the end of December.

"For the first time this year, we did not play with poise on both ends of the ball," Boston College coach Steve Donahue said. "Not that I want to get (trounced), but I want to see how we respond."

Ryan Anderson led the Eagles with 23 points, bouncing back from a season-low two points Tuesday against Maryland. Patrick Heckmann notched 15 points.

The Blue Devils bolted to a 29-point first-half lead. Duke shot 62.1 percent (18 of 29) in the opening half, when Boston College committed 13 turnovers.

That was more giveaways for the Eagles than in any of their five previous games.

The tone of the game was far different than two weeks earlier when Duke escaped 62-61 in Boston.

"We got the crowd in the game," Curry said. "Got up and down and got easy shots."

Duke built a 15-5 lead this time in less than 8 minutes. The Blue Devils continued to break free in transition for a 24-9 edge in what became a 22-point advantage in the first 15 1/2 minutes.

"That first four minutes, coach was a little angry with us," Plumlee said. "Then we picked it up. It started with our defense."

Notes: Mike Krzyzewski has won 878 games as Duke's coach, one short of the 879 won by Dean Smith as North Carolina's coach. They rank second and third all-time among Division I men's coaches for victories at one school behind Syracuse's Jim Boeheim (911). ... Boston College's Olivier Hanlan is the ACC's top scoring freshman, averaging 14.5 points per game entering the weekend. He didn't score in the first 14 minutes, finishing with 12 points. ... Plumlee's first rebound Sunday gave the senior forward 1,000 for his career. He's the ninth player in school history with at least 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds. ... It had been more than two years since Boston College visited Duke, losing 84-68 on Jan. 27, 2011.
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