Duke by a Lot.

facebooktwitterreddit
It wasn’t a tough opponent, but a win is a win, especially when it ends a two-game losing streak.
It wasn’t a tough opponent, but a win is a win, especially when it ends a two-game losing streak. /

After falling behind 9-2 early, Duke took over with a 32-9 run, putting the game out of reach by halftime. By the time the game was over, Duke had a 30-point win in their pockets, and for the first time in over a week, the Blue Devils looked like they were having fun.

Despite the W though, it was still only St. Johns with their nine, count ’em, nine freshmen. I won’t say they’re ‘back’ until they take down an ACC opponent. However, let’s take a look at the quick hits of the game.

QUICK HITS

– Is Henderson back? Don’t know yet, but he looked better today than he has in a few weeks. Coming off the bench, Henderson hit his first three shots; all jump shots. He finished with 13 points, 5-9 from the floor (including two alley-oops in the second half. Coming back from a wrist injury on your shooting hand is tough. First you need the wrist to heal, then you have to regain your confidence. This was a good start. As soon as Henderson appears to be close to 100%, look for coach to get him back in the starting lineup.
– Is Henderson back? Don’t know yet, but he looked better today than he has in a few weeks. Coming off the bench, Henderson hit his first three shots; all jump shots. He finished with 13 points, 5-9 from the floor (including two alley-oops in the second half. Coming back from a wrist injury on your shooting hand is tough. First you need the wrist to heal, then you have to regain your confidence. This was a good start. As soon as Henderson appears to be close to 100%, look for coach to get him back in the starting lineup. /

– Brian Zoebek had his best game of his short career. He had (I believe) his first double-double, 11 points and 13 rebounds. Granted, this was St. Johns, but he gets his props. This should not be too surprising for anyone who pays attention to the Blue Devils. His numbers have never been bad, considering he only played about ten digits per game. We always figured he’d get his stats if he got more playing time. He played 20 for the first time this year and he came through with that double-double. Zoebek is not going start averaging 20 minutes per game, but down the stretch, especially in the ACC tournament and NCAA tournament, there will be plenty of times when Duke will need a big man to step up with some solid post play and most importantly, rebounds. As long as that foot stays strong, Zoebek could be that guy.

– All around team effort for the Blue Devils. Only Singler took double digit shots, yet five players score in double digits.

– The turnovers were not the story tonight, which is a good thing. After turning the ball over 45 times the past two games, Duke only gave the rock away 14 times. Six of those came early, within the first eight minutes. After that they were able to settle down.

– Lance Thomas watch (Scores and Rebounds more than he fouls). Five points, two rebounds and only two fouls. Not bad, not bad at all. He was aggressive the whole game.

– At the point…before I say this, this isn’t based on this one game (Paulus was just in foul trouble), but I have to ask, would Duke be better if Darren Smith started? Granted, it probable doesn’t matter, since Smith does get plenty of playing time (and he’s getting more and more each week). Duke just seems to be a quicker team when Smith is in the lineup. With the exception of three-point percentage, Smith’s numbers are more impressive (when you consider minutes played).

– Smith (in 15.6 minutes) 6.6 points, 1.7 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1 turnover per game. He shoots 48% from the floor.

– Paulus (in 27.2 minutes) gets 10.8 points, 2 rebounds, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.6 turnovers per game. He shoots 43% from the floor.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: The Bench. The boys on the pine came up big and scored 38 points for the game, led by Henderson and Smith’s 13 and Zoebek’s 11.

PROPS GO TO: D.J. Kennedy came through with 16 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists. He had been struggling the past month or so, but he was the only Red Storm to score double digits.

**** Photos Stolen from ESPN ***