After suffering a blow out loss to Miami Wednesday, Duke needed to respond.
And boy, did they.
Freshman Rasheed Sulaimon poured in a career-high 25 points on 9-for-13 shooting, including 6-for-8 from beyond the arc, in just 29 minutes of play as the Blue Devils (17-2, 4-2) crushed the Terrapins (15-5, 3-4), 84-64. Duke shot over 50% from the field as a team and knocked down half of their three-point attempts. They also dominated the turnover battle, causing 14 Maryland turnovers while giving the ball up just four times themselves.
Sulaimon showed the ability to create space for his shots in addition to penetrating and knocking down jumpers from all over the floor. He did a nice job of using picks and made nearly 70% of his shots, a career-best. Foul trouble limited Sulaimon to less than 30 minutes of play, but his 29 minutes of scoring and leading the Blue Devils’ offense is what separated Duke from Maryland.
Mason Plumlee, who played with a torn ligament in his left thumb he suffered in the Miami loss, had a nice bounce-back game as he neared a double-double by posting 19 points and seven rebounds. He shot 9-for-12 from the floor and even dished out a few assists but could’ve done more on the glass where Maryland out-rebounded Duke, 42-31. Freshman Amile Jefferson, who again got the start for an injured Ryan Kelly, put together a nice 11-point, nine-rebound effort in just 24 minutes. He led Duke on the glass and blocked a career-high three shots.
Quinn Cook was the iron Blue Devil of the game as he played all 40 minutes. Cook did a nice job of running the offense and scored 11 points while dishing out nine assists. He even added in five rebounds but was the only Blue Devil to struggle from beyond the arc as he was 1-for-5 from the three-point line. Cook has played an underrated role this season and has helped fuel guys like Sulaimon and Seth Curry to big scoring nights.
Curry chipped in 13 points and four rebounds himself as he shot 5-for-14 from the field and 3-for-8 from beyond the arc. As he continues to play through his leg injury, it will be interesting to see how effective he’ll be in running around the floor in half-court sets and weaving in and out to get open looks. As Duke delves farther into ACC play and gets closer to the NCAA Tournament, time management and how much he practices (or doesn’t practice) will play an important role in their fate.
The Blue Devils beat the Terrapins in nearly every aspect of the game as they held Maryland, one of the better teams in the country in field goal percentage, to just over 40% shooting from the field. Duke also dished out nearly twice the amount of assists but struggled from the free-throw line, shooting just 7-for-17 from the charity stripe.
In their next match-up, the Blue Devils look to pick up their first road win of the season as they travel to Winston-Salem and take on Wake Forest (10-8, 3-3) at 8pm Wednesday on the ACC Network.