NCAA BK

Sat, Dec 1, 2012 - 2:00 PM ET
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Delaware-Duke Preview

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Duke has had an answer for everything three top-5 opponents have thrown its way.

Things aren't likely to be as tough for the second-ranked Blue Devils on Saturday when they host a Delaware team riding a four-game losing streak.

Duke (7-0) has won 97 straight games against non-conference opponents at Cameron Indoor Stadium, keeping that streak alive Wednesday night with a come-from-behind 73-68 victory over No. 4 Ohio State in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

It was the Blue Devils' third win over a top-5 team after also taking down then-No. 3 Kentucky in Atlanta on Nov. 13 and then-No. 2 Louisville in the Bahamas last Saturday. It's the first time in school history that Duke has beaten three top-5 opponents before the start of conference play.

With five players averaging in double figures, the Blue Devils have had different players step up at different times during their historic start.

Freshman guard Rasheed Sulaimon, third on the team with 12.7 points per game, took his turn by scoring all 17 of his points in the second half Wednesday to lead Duke's comeback from an eight-point halftime deficit.

Sulaimon was 7 for 10 from the field in the final 20 minutes for the Blue Devils, who shot 58 percent in the second half.

"He just played three games (in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament), get back Sunday afternoon and go out and play these guys on Wednesday - that's an effort," coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "That's a hell of an effort, and for a freshman, he got knocked back, and at halftime, I thought he responded ... and gave us a verve."

Mason Plumlee finished with 21 points and a career high-tying 17 rebounds. He leads the team with an average of 19.1 points, ranks 10th in the nation in field-goal percentage at 65.3 and 11th with 11.0 rebounds per game.

Ryan Kelly added a season-high 15 points and Quinn Cook had 12, including six clutch free throws in the final 27.3 seconds.

Seth Curry, though, will try to bust out of a 7-for-26 shooting slump (26.9 percent) after finishing with four points and going 1 of 6 from the field.

Duke continued to play tough defense, holding an opponent under 34.0 percent shooting for the second time in three games.

That could make things difficult for Delaware (2-5), which shot a season-worst 36.2 percent - including 8 for 27 from 3-point range - in a 63-60 loss at Lafayette on Wednesday.

Senior forward Jamelle Hagins, however, could be a tough matchup for the Blue Devils after finishing with 18 points and a career-high 23 rebounds. Hagins is second in the nation with 13.4 boards per game, while Duke has been outrebounded in each of its last four contests.

Devon Saddler, Delaware's leading scorer with 21.4 points per game, will try to rebound after finishing with 17 on 6-of-19 shooting against Lafayette. The junior guard had averaged 28.3 over his previous three games.

"We just dug ourselves too deep a hole," coach Monte Ross said after his team trailed 37-21 at the half.

The Blue Hens already have one victory over an ACC team this season, beating Virginia 59-53 in the NIT Season Tip-Off on Nov. 13.

Duke won its only previous meeting with Delaware, 79-73 on Dec. 19, 1995, at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Tagged: Duke, Delaware

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