Published November 29, 2012
| Sports Network
Durham, NC – Rasheed Sulaimon wasn't around for almost any of Duke's 96 straight victories over non-conference opponents at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
After 20 listless minutes, it was the freshman who made sure he wouldn't be a part of the streak-breaking loss against No. 4 Ohio State.
Sulaimon scored all 17 of his points in the second half, and second-ranked Duke went into attack mode in the final 20 minutes to rally past the Buckeyes, 73-68, as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
"I let my teammates down in the beginning, not playing as well as I could be, and (head coach Mike Krzyzewski) really got on me at halftime," Sulaimon said.
Mason Plumlee led the way with 21 points and 17 rebounds, Ryan Kelly added 15 points and Quinn Cook filled the stat sheet with 12 points, eight assists and six rebounds for Duke (7-0), which rebounded from a lethargic first half to take control down the stretch and record its 97th straight non-conference victory at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Duke has had a November to remember, winning the Battle 4 Atlantis championship, downing Virginia Commonwealth and three members of last season's Final Four (Kentucky, Louisville and Ohio State). The Blue Devils also racked up 50 second-half points despite Seth Curry struggling to just four points overall on 1-of-6 shooting.
Deshaun Thomas battled first-half foul trouble but still scored 16 points, while Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith, Jr. each recorded 11 for the Buckeyes (4-1).
"We just didn't do a good job of staying together, and they started going on a run," Craft said. "We couldn't weather it."
Kelly's three-pointer with just over six minutes to go brought the Blue Devils all of the way back even at 53-53 after a 10-point, first-half deficit. Kelly then gave the Blue Devils their first lead since early in the first half at 9-7 with another triple about 30 seconds later.
Plumlee's emphatic slam followed a Craft free throw for a four-point game, 58-54. Craft then slipped into the lane and connected on a mid-range jumper, but Plumlee responded with a pair of free throws to make the score 60-56.
Craft made 1-of-2 free throws, but Cook got lost off the dribble and he found space to the basket for a layup and a 62-57 lead with just over 1 1/2 minutes to play. After a Buckeyes miscue, the freshman Sulaimon raced to the basket and his layup was swatted on the way down for a goal tend and a seven-point margin.
Moments later, Sulaimon's slam made it 66-58, but Ohio State made six straight free throws while Duke missed the front end of two foul shooting opportunities. Shannon Scott's free throws with 28.9 seconds to go cut the deficit to 68-66.
Cook made two free throws for a two-possession game, and a Buckeye turnover all but locked down the outcome. Cook made two more for good measure to cap the Blue Devils' rally.
Thomas picked up his second foul with just over 10 minutes to go in the first half, and Buckeyes head coach Thad Matta decided to keep him on the bench for the remainder of the half. Thomas left with an 18-11 lead, and the Buckeyes kept that margin and even extended it to 31-21 late in the half on two Amir Williams free throws.
Ohio State took a 31-23 edge into the locker room, but Duke immediately looked like a different team in the second half.
Plumlee now has the most dunks in Duke basketball history ... Craft finished 3-of-15 shooting and finished with just one assist ... Duke leads the all-time series, 4-3.