Duke 84, Boston College 68
By Joedy McCreary
DURHAM ó Seth Curry pulled up in transition, knocked down a 3-pointer and then flashed that familiar, babyfaced grin.
In other words, he looked a lot like his famous big brother.
ěYouíre hitting big shots, youíre having fun out there,î Curry said. ěItís hard not to show it.î
Curry scored a season-high 20 points in his return to Dukeís starting lineup, leading the third-ranked Blue Devils past Boston College 84-68 on Thursday night.
Nolan Smith finished with 28 points while Kyle Singler had 14 for the Blue Devils (19-1, 6-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who shot 50 percent from the field, hit 10 3-pointers and used a huge Curry-led run early in the second half to claim their fourth straight win.
ěWhen I penetrate, defenses canít leave the corner or leave the wings,î Smith said. ěThat basically gives me a one-on-one drive to the basket. (His teammates) are going to continue to hit shots and just make it easy.î
The expected duel between the ACCís top two scorers never materialized. Reggie Jackson, who entered second to Smith in the league scoring race, finished with a season-low seven points ó 13 fewer than his average.
Corey Raji scored 18 points and Joe Trapani added 14 for BC (14-7, 4-3), which has lost two straight and four of seven overall, and fell to 0-6 at Cameron Indoor Stadium, each loss by double figures.
ěWe didnít do anything on the defensive end,î Jackson said. ěWe let them get good looks, and even when we did get stops, we didnít box out and they had too many offensive boards. We have to tighten things up and figure out a way to stop people.î
Ryan Kelly added 14 points for Duke, but his streak of consecutive shots made ended at 18 when he missed a follow-up early in the second half ó his first miss in nearly two weeks, since the first half against Virginia.
On this night, Dukeís hottest hand belonged to Curry.
The younger brother of Golden Stateís Stephen Curry and son of former NBA star Dell Curry sat out last season after transferring from Liberty. Curry made just his fifth start for the Blue Devils and his first since they were upset two weeks ago at Florida State.
It wound up being his best day in a Duke uniform. Curry ó who entered 3 of 18 from 3-point range in ACC games ó finished 6 of 9 from the field, hit a season-best five 3-pointers and scored 11 points during the 26-9 burst that put the Blue Devils in command.
ěEven though he hasnít shot the ball well until tonight in the ACC, his play has gotten better,î Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. ěWeíve seen him growing. The thing that you would expect from him ó to shoot ó he wasnít doing that. Thatís going to come as he gets into that, itís not just physical shape, itís the shape of playing a game like that, what level of concentration you need to have when youíre doing all these other things.î
After Cortney Dunnís layup pulled BC to 43-38 with 17:53 left, Curry found his stroke. He bookended the decisive run with 3s, starting it by connecting from the right corner seconds later, and capping it by hitting from the right wing at the 10-minute mark to stretch the lead to 69-47. In between was Curryís signature shot of the night, a 3 in transition followed by a big smile toward the Cameron Crazies.
ěYou look at his last name and you know his bloodlines,î Jackson said. ěHeís a great shooter. Basically, they have seven guys any night who can go get you 20. Everybody can hurt you. We obviously let him get going, and then everybody else fed off that.î
Smith, who entered averaging 22.5 points and is bidding to become the first player in ACC history to lead the league in both scoring and assists, had eight assists while hitting the 20-point mark for the ACC-best 10th time this season. He helped the Blue Devils win their 31st straight at Cameron, a string that includes 14 ACC games.
With Smith guarding him for much of the game, Jackson couldnít come close to matching him.
BC coach Steve Donahue said he didnít start Jackson and Danny Rubin because Dallas Elmore and Raji earned those spots during practice. Jackson came off the bench about 51/2 minutes in, went roughly 20 minutes between field goals, finished 3 of 11 from the field and missed all four of his 3-point attempts. He declined comment when asked how his game was affected by coming off the bench.
Shutting him down ěwas definitely a team credit,î Smith said. ěHeading into the game, I definitely took it personal because heís been great all year, scoring and assists, and I really just wanted to make it a personal (battle) to try and hold him down. … Everybody who got switched on him, we just had a great team focus to try and stop him.î
Biko Paris scored 11 points and Elmore matched a career high with 10 points for the Eagles.