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Sulaimon's 25 points lead Duke to victory

The SportsXchange

DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke turned to a couple of freshmen to get back on track.

Rasheed Sulaimon scored 25 points, making his first six 3-point attempts, as the No. 1-ranked Blue Devils recovered from a stunning setback to defeat Maryland 84-64 Saturday afternoon at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Duke, coming off Wednesday night's 90-63 blowout loss at Miami and bound to lose its top ranking in the national polls, produced its largest scoring output in an Atlantic Coast Conference game this season.

"We showed what our character is like," Sulaimon said. "Are we going to fold after a big loss or stand up and be men?"

Classmate Amile Jefferson scored 11 points, reaching double figures in back-to-back games for the first time.

Mason Plumlee's 19 points, Seth Curry's 13 and Quinn Cook's 11 points also gave the Blue Devils (17-2, 4-2 ACC) a lift. They shot 52.4 percent from the field.

"Our guys were taking Duke shots," coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "They were playing with a real good spirit."

Dez Wells' 13 points led Maryland (15-5, 3-4), which is winless in three ACC road outings after suffering its first loss by more than a 10-point margin this season.

Sulaimon, a freshman guard, racked up 13 points -- four 3-pointers and a free throw -- in less than a 3-minute stretch as Duke built a 27-18 lead. That included a four-point play.

Right before that, Krzyzewski took him out of the game because of lapse in defensive rebounding. Upon returning to the court, Sulaimon was sizzling.

"He gave us a huge lift there," Krzyzewski said. "That was a great performance especially after he started out that way."

Sulaimon, who led the team in scoring for the first time in the loss at Miami, was within a point of his previous season high of 19 points with more than 5 minutes left in the first half. He made all five of his first-half 3-point attempts.

"Everybody out there put me in great position to shoot the ball," Sulaimon said. "Everything kept falling in."

Sulaimon and Jefferson accounted for 27 of Duke's first-half points as the Blue Devils staked a 43-35 edge. That was the Blue Devils' first halftime lead in four games.

The Blue Devils made nearly as many 3-point baskets (seven) than 2-pointers (eight) in the first half.

Maryland used 12 offensive rebounds in the first half to help stay within range.

"We couldn't sustain it," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. "One step forward, two steps back. Every time it seemed like we'd get close, they'd drain a 3."

After Duke's initial surge, Maryland held a brief lead at 13-12 before Sulaimon's jump-shooting took center stage.

"He was feeling it," Turgeon said. "He's a good shooter."

Turgeon said he was pleased with first-half defense that limited Plumlee to three shots. But the senior forward ended up 9 for 12 from the field.

The Blue Devils were charged with a season-low four turnovers. The entire performance was a massive turnaround from Duke's doldrums a few nights earlier.

"We got shots we wanted and they went in," Curry said. "That's what it was."

Notes: Duke is 13-3 in games following a loss by 15 or more points the past 30 seasons. ... Wells averaged 20.7 points per game in the team's previous three road games. ... Duke is 11-0 at home, but three of its next four games are on the road. ... Maryland held its first six ACC opponents to less than 38 percent shooting from the field. ... Freshman swingman Jake Layman was in Maryland's starting lineup for consecutive games for the first time. ... Maryland guard Seth Allen, an occasional starter, didn't play in the first half as part of what Turgeon called an internal punishment for being late for a meeting. He scored two points in 10 second-half minutes.
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