BC's young players struggle in loss at No. 6 Duke
- Article by: JOEDY McCREARY
- Associated Press
- February 24, 2013 - 4:30 PM
DURHAM, N.C. - At least Boston College didn't have to endure the agony of losing another close conference game.
One of the Atlantic Coast Conference's youngest lineups struggled through a tough first visit to Cameron Indoor Stadium, with No. 6 Duke routing the Eagles 89-68 on Sunday.
Sophomore Ryan Anderson scored 23 points to lead the Eagles (12-15, 4-10), who entered 1-6 in ACC games decided by five or fewer points — including a one-point loss to Duke two weeks ago.
But with a starting lineup that consisted entirely of freshmen and sophomores, they had 16 turnovers and were held to one field goal during a 10-minute stretch that coincided a dominating early burst by Duke.
The Eagles lost their fourth in six games while the program dropped to 0-7 at Cameron.
"I didn't think we handled our first trip to this building very well for most of the guys," BC coach Steve Donahue said. "For the first time this year, we just didn't play with poise on both sides of the ball."
Sophomore Patrick Heckmann had 15 points and freshman Olivier Hanlan finished with 12 on 5-of-13 shooting for the Eagles.
"It was a new experience for all of us to come play here. I think everyone was just a little nervous, maybe," Heckmann said. "We were intimidated by their defense. They didn't play the same defense here that they played at BC. They were getting on our butts, and we were just dribbling a little too much. That was the game, basically."
Two of the youngest players on the Duke team wound up putting up season-best scoring totals: Rasheed Sulaimon had a season-high 27 points and fellow freshman Amile Jefferson added 14.
Mason Plumlee had 19 points and 15 rebounds for the Blue Devils (24-3, 11-3), who shot nearly 54 percent — 62 percent during the first half — and outscored BC 48-17 during the 15 1/2 minute span that put this one out of reach by halftime.
"We're a team with a lot of scorers," Plumlee said. "So when you have a team with multiple scorers, you can't just focus in on one guy."
Quinn Cook had 12 and Seth Curry finished with 11 for Duke, which had five double-figure scorers for the fifth time.
"We have great shooters. We have great inside presence. We have people who are tough, who can rebound," Sulaimon said. "When we add that dimension of driving and finishing, it just forces the defense to play honest. Now you have to pick your poison."
Indeed, 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.
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.
"Really, I just had to catch the ball and shoot," Sulaimon said. "My teammates found me in some open spots, and they put me in some very successful positions."
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.
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.
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