Semis Sweet Sweep

Duke has no inside game. Duke relies on the three too much. Duke can’t guard the perimeter. Duke can’t rebound with the best. Duke will run out of gas in the tournament. I can go on and on. There are plenty of reasons to not like this year’s Blue Devils squad. However, there’s one thing you can like. There’s one reason Duke keeps pulling out these games. There’s one thing that can propel Duke to the next level…maturity. /

Over the last eight games (except for the UNC game), Duke’s experience has handed them big wins. In each game, the Devils played neck-and-neck for thirty minutes, only to pull away in the final ten.


– How about this stat…Duke shot 40% (9-22) from behind the three, and only 33% (11-33) from inside the arc.

– Is the Elliot Williams experience over? Yes, I’m being a litte quick to the trigger. However, with Maryland’s D collapsing into the paint, Duke benched the gun-shy Elliot, inserting Nolan Smith, who played 30 minutes to Elliot’s 15. While neither got hot (Smith 3-8, Williams 1-4), Maryland respected Smith’s shot more and were forced to actually guard him. Look for Elliot to keep starting for the remainder of the season, but if he can’t step up, Nolan will get the majority of the minutes.

– While Henderson struggled again from the floor (3-14 today, 5-12 yesterday), Scheyer stepped up again big time, leading all scorers with 22. Think about how good he was. Singler and Henderson went a combined 6-26 today, yet Duke still beat Maryland.

– Is Duke the Vasquez killer? Three times Duke has shut down the solid Terps guard. For the season, Vasquez is 13-38 from the floor (1-7 from three), only 11 assists to 10 turnovers.

– Not sure about the refs in this game. For whatever reason, they decided to swallow their whistles, letting a lot of things slide (on both sides). With under three to play, neither team was in the bonus yet. In fact, prior to when Maryland just started to foul on purpose at the 1:30 mark, the two teams had taken a combined 19 free throws (Duke 10, Maryland 9).

– Could the game be any more even? The two teams each pulled down 28 rebounds, 11 asssists, and four blocks. However, for the second straight game, Duke fumbled defensive rebounds out of bounds. This explains why Maryland got eight more shots than Duke.

– David McClure had a scoring outbreak. He tripled his scoring output against Maryland. Of course he averages less than two a game, but today he produced six points, including four in a row midway through the second half.

– STAT OF THE DAY: Kyle Singler grabbed 11 boards, including an incredible eight offensive rebounds.

NEXT UP: The ACC Finals against Florida State. Duke will try to go 3-0 against a second straight team, but the Seminoles won’t be easy. They match up better against Duke than Maryland does. Duke may have two wins against FSU, but both games were tight.

Game One: It was a defensive fight (to say the least). Duke lead 19-14 at the half, before a second half spurt that gave Duke a 25-point lead with under 13 to play. The Seminoles chipped away, but in reality the game never got close (within six with seconds to go).

Game Two: The Seminoles jumped early and led the way against Duke on Senior Night, taking an 8-point late in the first half. Duke would rally in half number two, pulling out a late three-point win to complete the sweep of the Seminoles.