Rasheed Sulaimon's First Half Performance Carries Duke to Bounce-Back Win

By Brian Swanson
Mark Dolejs – USA TODAY Sports

Duke freshman Rasheed Sulaimon had the hot hand early and led all scorers with 25 points in the 20-point victory over Maryland on Jan. 26.

In a post game interview with Clark Kellogg and Ian Eagle, Sulaimon gave credit to his teammates for setting him up with good looks.

“This was just a big game for us and we just wanted to come out with a lot of energy, and it started on the defensive end. Our seniors, Mason and Seth, they really stepped up and found me in great spots and I just took the shots with confidence, and I’m just really grateful they were going in tonight.”

Even following his career high scoring night, this young guard deflected the praise onto his teammates, and more specifically the star seniors, Mason Plumlee and Seth Curry.

Sulaimon went 6-for-8 from downtown converting on his first six attempts. During a pivotal stretch in the first half he hit four 3-pointers in just over two and a half minutes. This streak of hot shooting from Sulaimon boosted Duke into a lead that they never lost.

This was a statement game for head coach Mike Krzyzewski and the Blue Devils following a demoralizing loss to Miami on Jan. 23.

Although Sulaimon stole the show offensively in the Maryland win, all five starters ended the contest scoring in double digits. Plumlee, who was a non-factor in the first half really kicked it into gear to help seal the victory in the second.  He scored 15 of his 19 points in the final 20 minutes.

Duke won’t be challenged in their next two games, but on Feb. 7 North Carolina State will come to Cameron Indoor Stadium. N.C. State will test Duke in every facet, and if forward Ryan Kelly isn’t back on the court expect Duke to be handed their third loss of the season.

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