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| Box |
| SUN-TIMES | BDC
Thank God for Chris Carrawell. In a game when the lead went back and forth,
and when Duke rebuilt a substantial second half lead, Duke let Illinois get back
in the game. First a turnover by James when the score was 65-56. Then Frank
Williams, gunner extraordinaire, missed a three.Â Then Nate fouled and
Archibald split the free throws.Â On the miss,Â Williams launched
another trey.Â Â Â Â Battier threw one up, which missed, then
it was Nate's turn for a three.Â Bradford missed his three, then
Williams hit another.Â Jason Williams charged with a five point lead, and
shortly thereafter Dunleavy fouled out.Â The Illini made the first and
missed the second, but Marcus Griffin hit one and cut it to two.
Got vertigo yet?
Carrawell went to the line and hit two, followed by another missed
three by Frank Williams, and the miss was rebounded by - you guessed it - Cwell.Â
Nate missed his three, and Shane fouled.Â Bradfor hit his and cut it
back to two.Â After a Battier miss, Williams fouled.Â The Illini got
back to the line and cut it to 1 with 44 seconds left.Â C-well waved the
other guys away, drove, and got fouled - and hit both free throws.Â The
Illini came down and Frank Williams - surprise - launched a three. Jason grabbed
the board and that was game.
In many ways, this was a frustrating game for Duke fans.Â Though the
Devils had stretches where they played brilliantly, they also got tentative when
the game was tight and made a lot of apparently nervous mistakes.Â But in
the end, they got the win, the ACC is up 3-1, and that's the main point.Â
Ugly wins are ok, especially for a young team.Â And with this team being on
the road as much as they have been, they should be ready to get back to Cameron.
In many ways, though,Â the young Devils, particularly, showed some of
their very bright promise.Â Jason Williams had two absolutely gorgeous
assists in the first half, which showed people nationally a hint of what we've
seen in Durham - this kid has a real talent for passing.Â He still doesn't
understand late game siutations very well, and that's something they'll be
working on intensely, but he's starting to show the ernormous gifts he
has.Â Like a lot of freshmen, he has some adjustments to make, but he's
made a number already.Â The end game will come.
Dunleavy didn't play as well as he played this past weekend but in fairness,
very few players ever have a game that, well, that on.Â Still, he shot 5-7,
made some key plays, and generally played very well. Unfortunately he fouled
out. We can pretty much guess he's become one of the Duke players they want on
the floor at the end. His shooting, his passing, and his driving makes him very
valuable - not to mention his general savvy.
Battier didn't shoot very well, but he really hit the boards, and played a
solid game in general.
Boozer fell off sharply.Â Still getting back into game shape after a
broken foot, Dunleavy bounced him from the starting lineup and Boozer only
played eight minutes and contributed minimally.
When you look at the box score, one stat in particular seems to jump out:
free throws. Only three Duke players took free throws. Battier took 6. Wiliams
took 2.Â Carrawell took all the rest, 16.Â With a cursory glance at
the Duke team you'd expect to see Carrawell driving, of course, and Battier, but
certainly Williams, James, and Dunleavy.Â It would be easy to look at that
stat and take it as a lack of aggressiveness. It might not be, but you could
interpret it that way.
All things considered, you'd have to say Duke was fortunate to win.Â
Illinois is a talented team, more physical and taller down low, and they shot
well enough, mostly, to win, and their defense wasn't bad, either.Â The
best thing that happened to Duke was Frank Williams, whose poor judgment and
lack of knowledge basically doomed the Illini.
Nonetheless, a win is a win is a win, and for a young team, a victory when
they were shaky in winning time is doubly helpful.Â A useful comparison is
the Stanford game: Duke basically had that game in the bag but let it go.Â
This time, they played young at times, but fundamentally, they got the job
done.Â At points in this game, like every game, this team showed
brilliance.Â Now the next level is to have confidence in that brilliance,
and to be strong during close situations.Â In our opinion, Duke has grown a
great deal since the New York games.Â They still need Boozer to step in and
play at a high level inside, but aside from that, all they really need is to be
calm in the clutch.Â That will come.Â And also more great passing will
come, too. We like a lot of things about this team, but nothing better than
that.Â We saw some beauties tonight, and we can't wait for DePaul to see
Notes...Elton , who attended, was interviewed during the game and Vitale
asked him if he missed the team and school...Elton said yes but he felt he made
the right decision...what Vitale should have asked him is this: "are you
getting paid well enough to make losing tolerable?" ...Frank Williams has a
very long way to go to be a serious player, but the rest of the Illini looked
pretty promising to us....when Vitale said that had Brand et. al. returned this
year Duke might have had the greatest college team of all time, Brad Daugherty
was quick to lay a claim for his UNC team, but of course, his UNC team won no
championships....who knows if Duke would have had everyone come back...moot
point...emerging move: Horvath's jump hook....Jason had 7 assists and 7
rebounds..unfortunately 6 turnovers too...Battier had 3 steals and took 3
charges....that's a lot of points denied....Frank Williams took 10 3's, made
only 3...Carrawell has made a solid case for himself so far as an All-American
candidate....if Duke takes DePaul on Saturday - no easy task - they go to 5-2...