DUKE GETS BACK ON TRACK
After suffering a one-sided 90-63 loss on the road at the hands of No. 25 Miami on Wednesday, No. 1 Duke bounced back to take down Maryland 84-64 at home to improve to 17-2 on the season. The Blue Devils returned to form in the win, shooting 50.0 percent from three-point range (11-of-22) while racking up 18 assists and committing just four turnovers. Freshman Rasheed Sulaimon extended his hot shooting streak by scoring a career-high 25 points on a Duke freshman record-tying six three-point field goals and 9-of-13 shooting from the field. Maryland had no answer for Sulaimon early as he hit his first six three-pointers of the game and at one point in the first half scored 14 points over a span of 3:29 to push Duke into the lead for good.
Sulaimon wasn't the only one that got hot, however, as all five Duke starters scored in double figures, Quinn Cook dished out nine assists and Mason Plumlee went for 19 points in a matchup against Maryland center Alex Len that was billed as the showdown between the top two big men in the ACC. Freshman Amile Jefferson, who started his second straight game, notched 11 points and a team-high nine rebounds, while Seth Curry hit some big three-pointers and finished with 13 points.
The Maryland win pushed Duke's ACC record to 4-2 and bumped the Blue Devils into a temporary tie for second place in the league. The ACC schedule only gets tougher for Duke, however, as road games at Wake Forest and Florida State await the Blue Devils this week followed by a rematch with ACC preseason favorite N.C. State in Cameron the following week.
DENG & IRVING NAMED NBA ALL-STARS
The NBA Announced its 2013 All-Star Teams last week, and the Eastern Conference squad includes two former Blue Devils in Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng and Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving. It is the second straight All-Star selection for the nine-year veteran Deng and the first for Irving, who is in his second year in the league. The All-Star selections give Duke 20 total NBA All-Star nods and eight total players who have been chosen to play in the game. Irving becomes the sixth-youngest player in NBA history to earn an All-Star nod, while Deng is the sixth Blue Devil to earn multiple All-Star citations.
Said Deng of the honor, "Consistency is a big part of what I want to be and what I do. I'm just glad I've had the chance to do it again. The way we've been playing and the coaching staff we've had the last three years, the teammates, it says a lot. I don't think I would get it if we don't have the record we have. It says a lot about our team."
Said Irving of his reaction after learning he was voted an All-Star, "I did jump around. I didn't do any backflips and cartwheels. I didn't want to get hurt."
IRVING AND HENDERSON HIT GAME-WINNERS
Saturday was a great day for Blue Devils young and old, and not just because of Duke's 84-64 win over Maryland. In the NBA, Blue Devil alumni Kyrie Irving and Gerald Herald hit game-winning three-pointers in the final seconds to propel their respective Cavaliers and Bobcats to victories. Irving's game-winner came with 0.7 seconds left on the clock to give Cleveland a 99-98 win over Toronto, while Henderson's fell with 4.5 seconds remaining as Charlotte topped Minnesota 102-101. Watch the highlights at the link below.
PLUMLEE ON SPORTSCENTER TOP 10 Mason Plumlee has thrown down a lot of dunks during his Duke career - a school-record 176, in fact - but the reverse putback he broke out against Maryland on Saturday was among his best. The dunk was so good that Plumlee was trending on Twitter for the duration of the game, and SportsCenter picked the slam as its top play of the night. Quinn Cook started the play by driving to the hoop and missing a layup in traffic, but Plumlee trailed Cook from the three-point line, grabbed the offensive rebound and - without looking - threw it down behind his head before hitting the ground. If you missed it, the ACC Digital Network supplied the footage at the link below.
Duke also had two of the top three plays on SportsCenter's top 10, as Kyrie Irving's game-winning three-pointer for the Cleveland Cavaliers came in at number three. Surprisingly, former Blue Devil and current Charlotte Bobcat Gerald Henderson's game-winning three-pointer didn't crack the top 10.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK "We have to show up. We can't just have a couple of guys show up. Tonight, no one showed up. We have to get better. We have to come each day. We can't have a bad practice or a bad game. We have to practice better each day. That will translate if we do that."
-Senior captain Mason Plumlee following the 90-63 loss at Miami. Duke went on to beat Maryland 84-64 three days later with five players scoring in double figures and just four total turnovers.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Kyrie Irving, at age 20, was selected to his first NBA All-Star Game last week. Irving is just the seventh player to become an NBA All-Star before turning 21, joining a list that includes, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Garnett, Shaquille O'Neal, Isiah Thomas and Magic Johnson.