Plumlee’s words about Duke heeded – thus far

lkeeley@newsobserver.comFebruary 23, 2013 

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Duke guard Rasheed Sulaimon (14) goes in against UNC guard/forward Reggie Bullock (35) in the first half of play. Duke and UNC met at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, N.C. Wednesday Feb.13, 2013.

CHUCK LIDDY — cliddy@newsobserver.com Buy Photo

At the beginning of the ACC season, Mason Plumlee spoke about Duke’s need to defend its home court.

“You think Duke, you think about taking care of it at home,” were Plumlee’s exact words on Jan 4. “We have to do a better job of that this year.”

Coming off a season in which the Blue Devils lost three home conference games — the most since the 2006-07 campaign — this year’s team felt the need to reestablish Cameron Indoor Stadium’s home court advantage.

So far, so good, as the Blue Devils are 6-0 in Cameron during ACC play.

Next up on the home slate is Boston College (12-14, 4-9), a team Duke beat 62-61 up in Chestnut Hill, Mass., exactly two weeks ago. While that game featured a blizzard and had “trap,” written all over it, sandwiched between matchups with N.C. State and North Carolina, there are no such hang-ups surrounding Sunday’s rematch.

The No. 6 Blue Devils (23-3, 10-3), are coming off of an 88-56 demolishing at Virginia Tech, their biggest road win since a trip to Florida State in 2005. But unlike last year’s team, which went undefeated on the road, this Duke squad has settled in at home.

Duke has won its six home conference games by an average of 16.7 points, with just one of those wins (against the Tar Heels) coming by fewer than 10 points. The youngest starters — Rasheed Sulaimon and Quinn Cook — both shoot considerably better in Cameron, too. Cook, who averages 12.1 points per game, shoots six percent better at home than on the road. For Sulaimon, the difference is more pronounced — a 48.8 shooting percentage at home, 10 percent higher (38.1) than he shoots on the road.

Sulaimon, who averages 11.9 points per game, has averaged 13 points per in Duke’s ACC home games. His best performance of the year came in the Maryland game, when he scored 25, thanks mainly to a 6-for-8 effort from 3-point range. In Duke’s last home game, a win over North Carolina, Sulaimon contributed 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting.

“He has been pretty good,” Krzyzewski said after that game. “But every once in a while he goes to being a freshman like at Boston College, and I think that is going to happen but tonight he did a great job.”

Duke’s other main scorers — Mason Plumlee and Seth Curry — shoot about the same at home and on the road, not unexpected from two seniors. But for a team that faces another tough week after the Boston College game, with a trip to third-place Virginia and a rematch with Miami on tap, a home date against the Eagles should serve as a welcomed tune-up.

“I think this team has a chance to do something special,” Plumlee said after the North Carolina game. “The season is wide open in the college basketball landscape.”

First things first: take care of business at home.

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