Thursday, November 1, 2007

Duke runs circles around Shaw

DURHAM, N.C. — If anything can be gleaned from the Duke University men's basketball team's 134-55 pasting of Shaw in its first exhibition game Thursday night, it's that the 2007-08 Blue Devils love to run.

And run.

And run some more.

Using a rotation of nine players, eight of whom played 16-plus minutes, the Blue Devils ran Shaw out of Cameron Indoor Stadium early and often.

Leading 9-5 with 16 minutes, 23 seconds left in the first half, Duke scored 27 consecutive points to take a 36-5 advantage and send the Cameron Crazies into a frenzy. The Blue Devils added 32 points before halftime to take a 68-17 lead into the locker room.

Freshman forward Kyle Singler led 10 Blue Devils in double figures with 23 points in just 19 minutes. Senior captain DeMarcus Nelson added 17, and sophomores Lance Thomas — who made all six of his field goal attempts — and Gerald Henderson each scored 15.

While Duke was running most of the night, Thomas did the majority of his work in the half-court offense, where he was very effective in the paint. One question entering the season is who will score down low, and Thomas was the answer to that question on Thursday.

But Duke's fullcourt pressure defense, which caused 34 turnovers, was its main ingredient for success. Shaw's miscues resulted in 55 points for Duke.

“I was pleased with our effort," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "We’re trying to install a new system, both offensively and defensively.

"It was good to play 40 minutes like that, get a look at our half-court defense, our press and our running game."

Duke played a fullcourt man-to-man defense for the entire first half, but mixed things up in the second half, occasionally employing a 2-3 zone. Thomas and Jon Scheyer — who scored 11 points, albeit on 3-for-11 shooting — led Duke with five steals apiece. Singler had three of the team's four blocked shots.

The 134 points was more than Duke scored all of last season. And Duke did it despite shooting 8-for-28 (28.6 percent) from 3-point range. The Blue Devils finished 49-for-86 (57 percent) from the field compared to 21-for-65 (32.3 percent) for Shaw, which was outrebounded 56-29.

Jonathan Mudd and Camontae Griffin led Shaw with 11 points apiece.

Duke freshman point guard Nolan Smith scored 10 points and dished out seven assists. Greg Paulus, Brian Zoubek, Martynas Pocius and Taylor King also scored 10. Even Jordan Davidson, Duke's last man off the bench who entered the game in the final 2 minutes, got himself in the box score with a mid-range jumper, which brought forth the biggest cheers of the night from the crowd.

"It’s been a while since we’ve had 10, and when Dave (McClure) comes back, 11 guys who are pretty good basketball players," Krzyzewski said. "You have to coach who you have.

"This (running) system lends itself to having depth and having good players. Hopefully some of them can become outstanding players.”

Singler, who shot 10-for-11 from the field, with his only miss coming from behind the arc, attacked the basket relentlessly. He has now led Duke in scoring in its two games — against Shaw and in the Blue-White scrimmage last Saturday. Singler, Smith and King make up a trio of freshmen that aren't wasting time becoming accustomed to Duke basketball.

“You couldn’t really tell in a game like this but they’re really competitive," Henderson said of the freshmen. "We’ve been practicing for a good three weeks now, and I’ve been impressed with just how competitive they are.

"All three of them are really talented but all three of them have heart and they’re all winners. I love having them on our team and they’re going to contribute a lot this year.”

Krzyzewski's only critique of the freshmen was that they need to set their feet before launching 3-pointers. King was 2-for-7 from behind the arc after lighting up Cameron for five triples in the scrimmage.

The game marked a return to Durham for Shaw coach Robert Brickey, who played for Duke from 1986-1990, helping the Blue Devils to three Final Fours and earning all-Atlantic Coast Conference honors in 1987-88. Brickey also served as Duke's captain in 1990.

1 comment:

J-bo said...

It's interesting how Duke has adopted UNC's run and gun style of play. It is going to make for some really exciting UNC-Duke games!