Duke-Boston College Preview

The Associated Press

After Duke pulled off its second improbable comeback in a week, freshman Austin Rivers admitted the team cannot continue to rely on late rallies.

While a game against one of the ACC's worst teams may be just what the Blue Devils need to regain their composure, Boston College has been a tough opponent lately - its last game notwithstanding.

Fifth-ranked Duke again looks to regroup as it tries to continue its dominance over the Eagles on Sunday night at Conte Forum.

The Blue Devils (22-4, 9-2) have won three times since a 78-74 overtime loss to Miami on Feb. 5, but easily could have dropped two of those games.

They erased a 10-point deficit in the final 2 1/2 minutes against then-No. 5 North Carolina on Feb. 8, winning 85-84 on Rivers' 3-pointer at the buzzer. They rallied from 20 points down with 11 1/2 minutes left to defeat North Carolina State 78-73 on Thursday. The 16-point halftime deficit in that game was the largest Duke has overcome under Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski.

"Nobody quit. That's the biggest thing," said Seth Curry, averaging 20.5 points in his last four games. "Nobody thought we were going to lose any time in the game. That's the biggest thing about our team."

Curry scored 21 of his season-high 26 points in the second half Thursday, while Rivers added 16.

"I'm tired of doing this, to tell you the truth," said Rivers, averaging 18.8 points in five games this month. "I'm so proud and everybody's so proud, but at the same time, we need to stop doing this."

Sandwiched between these two comeback victories, the Blue Devils easily defeated Maryland 73-55 last Saturday.

That could bode well for Duke because Boston College (8-18, 3-9) is coming off a lopsided loss to the Terrapins.

The Blue Devils also have won four straight in the series since an 80-74 loss at Conte Forum on Feb. 15, 2009, their only defeat in the last 13 meetings. They beat the Eagles 84-68 at Cameron Indoor Stadium in the only matchup last season, as Curry had 20 points and Ryan Kelly scored 14.

Boston College has the worst overall record of any ACC team and struggled mightily at Maryland on Thursday, falling behind by 19 points just over 12 minutes into the game in an 81-65 loss. It was the eighth defeat in nine games for the Eagles, but the lone win came over then-No. 15 Florida State on Feb. 8.

Despite its struggles, Boston College had been competitive prior to facing the Terrapins with its three previous defeats decided by five points or less.

"For the first time in a while we didn't compete as well as we have been," coach Steve Donahue said. "We just didn't have a good body language going."

The Eagles' last four home games against the Blue Devils also have been competitive with the contests decided by a total of seven points and Boston College winning once.

To pull off the upset this time, the Eagles will have find a way to keep up with Duke's powerful offense.

The Blue Devils are second in the ACC in scoring at 79.7 points per game, while Boston College ranks last, averaging 59.9 points.

Rivers averages a team-best 15.0 points, and Curry (13.4 per game), Kelly (12.2) and Mason Plumlee (11.5) all average better than the Eagles' leading scorer, Ryan Anderson (10.4).

Anderson, a 6-foot-8 freshman, had a career-best 22 points against Maryland and has been playing well lately. He is averaging 17.7 points on 54.3 percent shooting in his last three games after averaging 7.3 points on 26.1 percent shooting in his previous three.

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