Three's, Fouls, and Nelson, Oh My

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If only the Devils could just skip to the second half.

For the third straight game, the Duke Blue Devils ran up over 50 points in the 2nd period, handing the Miami Hurricanes an 88-73 defeat, their sixth loss in eight games. While Duke did struggle in the first half, they actually led by seven at the break, after spotting both Maryland and NC State nine points the previous two games.
For the third straight game, the Duke Blue Devils ran up over 50 points in the 2nd period, handing the Miami Hurricanes an 88-73 defeat, their sixth loss in eight games. While Duke did struggle in the first half, they actually led by seven at the break, after spotting both Maryland and NC State nine points the previous two games. /

The game was rough from the start (Paulus’ bruised nose, Nelson’s cut cheek) and the whistles were blowing early and often. 54 fouls were called, giving the teams 61 total free throws (40 for Duke, 21 for Miami). The Blue Devils struggled to penetrate Miami’s 2-3 zone and couldn’t find ways to score from inside the paint. In fact, the Devils didn’t make a single 2-pt shot until the 3:45 mark in the first half. They also fell apart at the charity strip, missing 11 out of 21 free throws in the first half.

Luckily for them, Miami could never really take advantage of it. McClinton, who came in averaging a solid 16ppg, was held to just four at the break, thanks to blanketing coverage by Nelson, who himself struggled to score (only two points in the first half). Like the past three games though, all Duke needed was a little break.
Luckily for them, Miami could never really take advantage of it. McClinton, who came in averaging a solid 16ppg, was held to just four at the break, thanks to blanketing coverage by Nelson, who himself struggled to score (only two points in the first half). Like the past three games though, all Duke needed was a little break. /

The Devils came out firing in the second half, extending a 7-point lead into a 18-point margin with just over 13 minutes to play. During the run, it was Nelson who got aggressive, putting in 10 of the Devils 17 points. From then on, the Hurricanes were never able to get closer than 10. McClinton finished with 10 points, his lowest total in thirteen games. While Miami actually made more baskets than Duke (29-25), Duke out did the Canes at the three-line (12-3) and the free throw line (26-12).

RANDON RANTS

Henderson had his worst game of the year, finishing with 8 points. He shot an awful 1-10 from the floor. However, he did manage to pull down six boards. Henderson simply never found a groove and for some reason, he wasn’t taking his signature drive/pull up jumper. I could only remember him trying it three times, making one at the six-minute mark in the second half. I;m not too worried about it though, everyone gets a bad game.
Henderson had his worst game of the year, finishing with 8 points. He shot an awful 1-10 from the floor. However, he did manage to pull down six boards. Henderson simply never found a groove and for some reason, he wasn’t taking his signature drive/pull up jumper. I could only remember him trying it three times, making one at the six-minute mark in the second half. I;m not too worried about it though, everyone gets a bad game. /

What is Scheyer doing on the three-line? I counted a half dozen times when he got the ball with an open look behind the arc, and instead of taking the shot, he decided to head fake and drive. For the game, he took two 3’s and made one. Now granted, doing this a couple times makes sense when you got defenders flying out at you, however, he’s a shooter and he needs to throw some up there. He nails down 41% from behind the arc. All six times he faked the shot and drove, nothing happened, he passed the ball out.

Another typical line from Lance Thomas; 5-4-5 (five points, four rebounds and five fouls). He’s got the heart and he has the skills, but he’s a starter and he’s needs to contribute more than a body. No, I’m not expecting 15-10 each night. He’s not that kind of player, but he’s got to score more points and get more rebounds than fouls. Too often he gets in trouble playing defense with his hands down low (rather than his feet and body), forcing the refs to blow the whistle. Psycho T is going to make him his bitch on Wednesday if he doesn’t make sudden improvement.

What can you say about DeMarcus Nelson? He’s clearly the second best player right now in the ACC (behind only Hansborough). In the second half, he took over, taking it right into the middle of Cane’s zone. Two things really struck me; first, he’s making his free throws. It’s a must, simply because his style of game gets him to the line. He could still turn out to be a decent pro, but if he was 3-inches taller, he’d be a top five pick next year. More importantly though was his defense. He shut down McClinton (giving him zero 3’s). If Duke has any shot at taking down UNC, it will be his defense against Ty Law.

Paulus is a homer, having another solid game in Cameron. With the offense struggling in the first half (especially Henderson and Nelson), he kept Duke ahead with his 3’s. He needs to bring these abilities onto the road.

Does anyone realize how easy it is to forget about Singler? He had a solid 14 points, five rebounds and a couple assists, but outside of a couple of big 3’s, he barely registers. He’s clearly the best freshman that Duke has had since Deng.

I can’t recall the last time I’ve seen a Duke team so battered and bruised. First Paulus got Owen Wilson’d early in the first half. At first, I thought Paulus flopped a little bit, until I saw the bruise on the base of his nose. Nelson got banged below the eye in the first half and needed a cut man. Let’s not forget Singler looks like he’s been in a few prison fights.

Heard on ABC that Brian Zoubek practiced this week. I would love to see him log a few minutes against Carolina.

Quick thought, I read this on the game comments on cnnsi.com; “Miami’s black thugs beating up Duke’s white guys — a sad snapshot of today’s basketball both college and pro.” I can only hope this wasn’t a Duke fan writing that crap (I personally don’t think it was). The Canes are good kids and a good team. Calling every black kid from Miami (basketball or football) a thug is ignorant…its the same kind of crap when everyone wants to label Duke kids assholes or gay. It’s low class.

That’s it, bring on Carolina!

*** Be sure the check out it from a Canes’ perspective.