Monday, February 25, 2013

Blue Devils bludgeon Boston College

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Blog: Aaron McFarling

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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 151/2 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.

Top 25

No. 18 Ohio State 68, No. 4 Michigan State 60

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Aaron Craft slashed through the lane for a career-high 21 points - more than he had scored in the last three games combined - to lead No. 18 Ohio State over fourth-ranked Michigan State.

The loss crippled the Spartans' hopes of catching up with top-ranked Indiana, which now leads the Big Ten race by two full games with four remaining.

Deshaun Thomas added 12 of his 14 points in the second half for the Buckeyes (20-7, 10-5), who stand fifth in the conference. Evan Ravenel added 10 points and a crucial block in the final minute.

Freshman Gary Harris had 14 points and Adreian Payne and Derrick Nix each had 12 for the Spartans (22-6, 11-4), who have dropped two in a row after winning 11 of 12.

No. 7 Michigan 71, Illinois 58

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Trey Burke had 26 points and eight assists to help No. 7 Michigan bounce back from a slow start to beat Illinois.

The Wolverines (23-4, 10-4 Big Ten) shook off a sluggish first half with a strong second half to win consecutive games for the first time in nearly a month.

The Fighting Illini (20-9, 7-8) had won five straight, a streak that started Feb. 7 by beating top-ranked Indiana.

Michigan played for the first time in a week and looked rusty and sloppy early, turning the ball over the missing open shots. Illinois led by as much as eight points in the first half and didn't trail until Tim Hardaway Jr. had a three-point play with 3:30 to go.

Brandon Paul scored all 10 of points in the first half to help the Illini lead 31-28 at halftime. Paul didn't attempt a shot in the second half.

No. 20 Pittsburgh 63, St. John's 47

NEW YORK -- Tray Woodall scored a season-high 25 points, including two huge 3-pointers in the second half, and No. 20 Pittsburgh snapped a two-game losing streak with a victory over St. John's at Madison Square Garden.

The game was basically decided by the teams' leading scorers: Woodall, who came in averaging 10.9 points per game, and finished 8 of 14 from the field, and D'Angelo Harrison of the Red Storm, the Big East's No. 3 scorer with an 18.3 average, who finished with six points on 1-of-12 shooting.

Lamar Patterson had 11 points for the Panthers (21-7, 9-6 Big East).

JaKarr Sampson had 14 points and Phil Greene added 11 for the Red Storm (16-11, 8-7).

No. 25 Notre Dame 62, Cincinnati 41

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Jerian Grant scored 13 points to lead No. 25 Notre Dame over Cincinnati.

Grant shot just 2 of 9 from the field but was perfect from the free-throw line, hitting a season-high nine.

The Irish (22-6, 10-5 Big East) had four players score in double figures. Tom Knight scored 12, followed by Jack Cooley and Eric Atkins with 11.

JaQuon Parker led Cincinnati (19-9, 7-8) with 12 points.


Kansas' Self approaches milestone win No. 500

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Kansas coach Bill Self can reach career win No. 500 on Monday night at Iowa State.

He'll be the first to tell you that the milestone is secondary to everything else the game represents.

The ninth-ranked Jayhawks are 23-4 overall and 11-3 in the Big 12, tied for first place with rival Kansas State. So a win over the Cyclones would ensure they're no worse than neck-and-neck with the Wildcats with three games left in the regular season.

Kansas has won the past eight regular-season conference championships.

Still, Self's players say they have a vested interest in seeing their coach win his 500th game. Center Jeff Withey says "he's done a lot for us, so if we can get that win for him, that means a lot to us and him."

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