What an odd game to say the very least. The game came down to one run after another. Duke had a couple runs to open up a 20-point lead, but Tech had their own 10-0 run to cut that lead in half. Duke produced another run in the second half to get the lead back to 19 before a 19-2 spirt got the Yellow Jackets back within two…before Duke finally pulled away at the end. Let’s go Quick Hitting.
- After thirteen minutes of action and Duke up 36-16, I declared it was the best basketball Duke has played all season. They were dominating with stout defense and patient offense. They had zero turnovers and were killing Tech on the boards…all this with (arguable) their best player, Singler, sitting on the bench with foul trouble.
– DeMarcus Nelson did his best Oscar Robinson impression by scoring (17), grabbing rebounds (9), and handing off assists (7). Unlike the UNC game, he looked calm and in control.
- Coach K went with an odd, but seemingly effective way to rotate the players tonight. For a minute, I thought I was watching line changes at a hockey game. In the first half, unhappy with the team’s performance, Krzyzewski brought in four bench players (Zoubek was already on the floor). It was the first time that I can recall all five starters sitting on the bench (excluding early season blow outs). It worked, as Duke turned a sluggish 9-8 lead into a 20-10 lead.
In the second, he did it again when the Yellow Jackets started to make their run, but this time it did nothing. Tech was able to continue with their comeback. Oddly enough, after putting all five starters back in during the second half, Coach K locked down to just a six-man rotation in the final 14 or so. This is important, considering Duke could end up playing three games in three days.
- Taylor King made a three! Only his sixth in thirteen games.
- Scheyer came off the bench and took over in the first half, leading the first Duke run. He was effective all game, especially at the line. After missing his first free throw, he would make his final ten.
- Duke didn’t turn the ball over in the first half until around the 6-7 mark, but then they proceeded to give it up four out of five possessions.
- Singler went to the bench quickly, after picking up two fouls in the first thirty seconds, and he never really was able to get back into the flow in the second half. This was the first time in twelve games he didn’t break double digits in scoring. I would not be surprised if he blows up against Clemson on Saturday. I’m giving you a ballsy prediction now: Singler scores 23 Saturday.
- Is it my imagination or can Gerald Henderson stay up in the air for at least five seconds? He is seriously going to be the next Grant Hill.
- Lance Thomas watch (more points and rebounds than personal fouls): Lance had his best game since the first UNC game: 10 points, 5 rebounds, with only two personal fouls. He’s gone six games without fouling out (only reaching four fouls once). Most importantly, he scored a couple times on legit offensive moves, something we keep waiting for.
- As for the bench, a good solid game. Zoubek played a strong 13, while McClure had five solid rebounds. Nolan Smith did continue to struggle; zero points, three personal fouls. Have you noticed that when he’s on the floor, he’s playing as a shooting guard? Every time Smith was in, Scheyer was running the point.
- Six blocks tonight, not bad. Best of all, five different players participated in the block party (only Singler had two).
- Greg Paulus had a good game, although a quiet game. He did a great job running the offense and twice nailed down important 3s.
- Is it me, or is the ‘graphic chart’ on ESPN, the most useless graphic ever? A close second would be CNNSI’s ‘In Game’ Comments Section.
- Next up is Clemson at 3:30. The Tigers whipped up on BC, which goes to show that I know next to nothing when it comes to predicting (I only got two right yesterday). If Duke can get by Clemson (which won’t be a gimme), it will set up another game against UNC (sorry Hokies, didn’t Carolina already beat you silly this year?). For any Blue Devil fan still hoping for the #1 seed in the East, this is the match up you want. If Duke can beat Carolina for the second time this season, then the committee could award Duke that top seed.
STAT OF THE GAME: This was Duke’s 18 straight win in Charlotte. Their last loss was to Providence in the 1997 Tournament.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: DeMarcus Nelson nearly got a triple double.
PROPS GO TO: (PG) Maurice Miller knocked out 16-5-5 (with only one turnover). He produced eight points during Tech’s 19-2 second half run.