Curry leads No. 3 Blue Devils past Jackets

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DURHAM, N.C. — No. 3 Duke figured the best way to win without Ryan Kelly was to play to its other strengths. That meant Seth Curry hitting from long range and Mason Plumlee converting from much closer.

Curry scored 24 points and matched a career high with six 3-pointers in the Blue Devils' 73-57 win over Georgia Tech on Thursday night.

Plumlee finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds after going just 2 for 12 during an awful first half, and Duke (16-1, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) shot 53 percent from the field over the final 20 minutes to bounce back from its only loss and snap a three-game losing streak when playing without the injured Kelly.

"The biggest thing is, we have to find a new identity because we are a different team" without Kelly, Plumlee said. "Whatever that is, we have to find it. We have to play to our strengths, and we're not the same team that was (15-0)."

Freshman Chris Bolden's 20 points were the most scored by a Georgia Tech player this season.

But the Yellow Jackets (10-6, 0-4) had 21 turnovers in losing their fourth straight, remaining the only team winless in ACC play and falling to 5-32 at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

"They have two of the premier players not only in the league but in the country," coach Brian Gregory said, referring to Curry and Plumlee, "and we couldn't stop them in the second half."

Freshman Rasheed Sulaimon broke out of a slump with 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting after coming off the bench for the first time in his Duke career.

"It's all about how you come back," Plumlee said of Sulaimon. "I don't know of any player who started every game ever at Duke. I mean, he sat Elton Brand and those guys. We just told him it's part of the process."

He was a combined 7 for 32 in his previous four games and missed all 10 of his shots in the 84-76 loss to then-No. 20 North Carolina State that knocked the Blue Devils from No. 1.

A second consecutive loss looked like a real possibility until Duke produced a 27-6 run that started late in the first half, ended early in the second and swung the lead its way to stay.

Curry - who has scored at least 22 points in three of his last four games - had 11 points during the burst.

He ended his team's 5-minute field goal drought by swishing a deep 3-pointer that started the run with 2 minutes left in the half. Then, he added two more 3s shortly after halftime before his putback of a miss by Plumlee put Duke up 46-32 with just under 15 minutes to play.

That came two possessions after the signature snapshot of the night: After Plumlee got Cameron rocking with a dunk with 14 minutes left and Georgia Tech called a timeout, a fired-up coach Mike Krzyzewski charged off the bench to jump on and embrace his senior center.

"I think I've given emotion a lot during 33 years here at Duke, so I'm going to do whatever I think my team needs," Krzyzewski said. "I did that in 1980 and I should do it in 2013. So I thought that's what my team needed, and that's what I gave."

Tech cut the Duke lead to 10 points twice, the final time coming when Mfon Udofia's three-point play with 6:48 left made it 57-47.

Sulaimon countered with a three-point play 39 seconds later, Curry hit another 3 and Sulaimon followed with a dunk to make it 65-49 with just under 5 minutes to go.

Freshman Amile Jefferson finished with 10 rebounds for the Blue Devils, who played their second straight game without Kelly, a captain who's out indefinitely with an injured right foot. He was on the bench in street clothes using crutches, his foot in a boot.

They ended a streak that dated to the 2012 postseason, having lost their previous three games without the 6-foot-11 senior whose outside touch commands opponents' attention and respect.

"We're used to having certain driving lanes and certain places we know we're going to kick to with Ryan, but it's totally different with Josh (Hairston) and Amile out there," Curry said. "We're still working on that, and some lanes close up quicker than others."

With Duke still learning to play without him, Georgia Tech led for all but about a minute of the half and four times pushed its lead to seven points while clamping down on Plumlee and the Blue Devils in the opening 20 minutes.

"I thought we were hesitant to shoot," Krzyzewski said, "and no team of mine should be that way."

NO. 5 MICHIGAN 83,

MINNESOTA 75

In Minneapolis, Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 21 points to help Michigan (17-1, 4-1 Big Ten) stave off Minnesota
(15-3, 3-2).

NO. 10 FLORIDA 68,

TEXAS A&M 47

In College Station, Texas, Mike Rosario scored 19 points as Florida (13-2, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) cruised over Texas A&M
(12-4, 2-1).

NORTHWESTERN 68,

NO. 23 ILLINOIS 54

In Champaign, Ill., Reggie Hearn scored 20 points and Northwestern (11-7, 2-3 Big Ten) handed Illinois (14-5, 1-4) its third loss in a row.

WOMEN

NO. 5 KENTUCKY 100,

MISSISSIPPI STATE 47

In Lexington, Ky., DeNesha Stallworth scored 25 points and Kentucky (17-1,
5-0 SEC) moved to its best start in history with a rout of Mississippi State (8-10, 0-5).

NO. 8 PENN STATE 84,

WISCONSIN 40

In State College, Pa., Nikki Greene scored a season-high 23 points to lead Penn State (14-2, 4-0 Big Ten) to a rout of Wisconsin (8-10, 0-5).

NO. 9 TENNESSEE 75,

AUBURN 66

In Auburn, Ala., Meighan Simmons scored 29 points and Tennessee (14-3, 5-0 SEC) rallied from a 12-point deficit to beat Auburn (13-5, 2-3).

NO. 10 MARYLAND 82,

NORTH CAROLINA STATE 62

In College Park, Md., Tianna Hawkins had 26 to lead Maryland (14-3, 5-1) past N.C. State (8-10, 0-6).

NO. 11 NORTH CAROLINA 71,

VIRGINIA 60

In Chapel Hill, N.C., Xylina McDaniel had 15 points as North Carolina (18-1, 6-0 ACC) cruised past Virginia (11-6, 3-3).

NO. 12 PURDUE 75,

MINNESOTA 67

In West Lafayette, Ind., Sam Ostarello had 19 points and 14 rebounds as Purdue (15-2, 4-0 Big Ten) defeated Minnesota (13-5, 2-2).

NO. 13 GEORGIA 57,

ARKANSAS 53

In Fayetteville, Ark., Shacobia Barbee scored 15 points, Jasmine James added 13 and Jasmine Hassell had 12 as Georgia (16-2, 4-1 SEC) beat Arkansas (13-5, 1-4).

NO. 19 SOUTH CAROLINA 66,

LOUISIANA STATE 59

In Columbia, Ieasia Walker scored 24 points to reach the 1,000-point plateau and lead South Carolina (15-3,
3-2 SEC) past Louisiana State University (11-7, 2-3).

NO. 22 FLORIDA STATE 67,

BOSTON COLLEGE 57

In Chestnut Hill, Mass., Chastity Clayton’s 14 points paced Florida State (14-3, 4-2 ACC) in a row over Boston College (8-8, 2-3).

NO. 25 MICHIGAN 67, NORTHWESTERN 53

In Evanston, Ill., Kate Thompson scored 23 points to lead Michigan (15-2, 4-0 Big Ten) over Northwestern (8-9, 0-4).

CLEMSON 74,

WAKE FOREST 64

In Winston-Salem, N.C., Nikki Dixon scored 21 points to lead Clemson (5-12, 1-5 ACC) past Wake Forest (9-8, 2-3).

MIAMI 71, GEORGIA TECH 65

In Coral Gables, Fla., Shawnice Wilson scored 21 points to lead Miami (13-4, 4-2 ACC) past Georgia Tech (8-9, 1-5).

Georgia Tech’s Brittany Jackson led all scorers with 23 points.


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