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Some people can't access directories called games at work, so we are republishing the game story on the main page. This is precisely the same story as appears in the Games Past section
While Duke won the game handily, the first half was very competitive, as
Florida State played their hearts out and actually led at the break.
Unfortunately, we can't actually say much about it, because WRAZ, which is
owned by WRAL, declined to cut away from the talking heads on the Post-Game
football show, so we were forced to listen to Jim Brown and Terry Bradshaw for
the first fifteen minutes of the event we cared about. Actually we just watched.
Thank God for Bob Harris, who described the game well enough to make us
anxious.Â WRAZ's abuse of their home audience is really disgraceful, and,
at least around DBR, we'll be watching Channel 11 news probably through the end
of the season, and we certainly won't be buying any Budweiser beer.
After the half, Duke came out very focused and played devastating defense,
outscoring FSU 53-20.Â Gil McGregor, who did the game, made a really sharp
point in the second half when he talked about how defense makes offense
easier.Â It was certainly true for Duke.Â The defense was sensational,
and forced Florida State into shooting futile jumpers from the perimeter.Â
And when they missed, Duke cleaned the boards as well - Cwell had 10
boards,Â Battier had 8, and Boozer had 6.Â Duke outrebounded the 'Noles
32-24, but our impression (we don't have stats by half) was that the Devils
really controlled the boards in the second half.
Something else which this game brings into focus - Boozer's improvement is
such that we are obliged to ask if he is now the best big man in the ACC.Â
Think about it - the other candidates are Baxter, Haywood, Jones, Collier,
Allenspach, and Songaila.Â Travis Watson is playing out of position but
throw him in as well.Â It's pretty clear to us that Boozer is fundamentally
more sound than any of these guys, with the possible exception of Jason Collier,
and he's at least as good a rebounder, and a better defender, than
Collier.Â Collier can go to his left, but the other big men don't, not
really.Â Now that his foot injury is fading, we're seeing a pretty amazing
player - at 6-10, 260, he's agile, skilled, and increasingly aggressive.Â
We really like what we're seeing. The next question will be to compare him to
Elton.Â Elton was a bit of a freak, being so big and yet so fast, but his
fundamentals are not nearly as well rounded as Boozer's.Â He is going to
have a long NBA career, health willing, but Boozer's might be better. Brand may
always be a better rebounder, though.
We were also impressed with Jason's control of the point.Â At times this
year he has gotten careless or out of control, but not tonight (or at least what
we saw tonight).Â He pressured the ball - his defense has gone up a couple
of notches recently - and on offense he was an efficient point guard, moving the
ball around and also scoring well.
And we thought the captains responded well after halftime and provided very,
very solid leadership the rest of the way.Â And Cwell held Ron Hale to two
points for the game Two points! He didn't do it by himself, of course, it's a
team defense, but it's still amazing.Â Another Cwell shutdown.
One of the things which surprised us was how few fouls were called. There
were some block/charge type calls on both ends, but they really let the kids
play, which could be good or bad. For instance, you might want a game with NCSU
to be called tighter, or Clemson, since both play a very rugged defense.
Anyway, WRAZ aside, a win is a win, and the ACC streak continues and is now
at 26.Â NC State comes to town on Wednesday, and the Pack is now in second
place in the ACC. A win over Duke puts them in first, since they would have the
tiebreaker victory.Â You had better believe that this is a big game for the
Pack.Â The last time they were in first place - now that's a trivia
question. It's their chance to stake their claim to be an elite team in the ACC,
and from what we saw today against Wake Forest, they are certainly ready to do
it and very capable of winning.Â Duke will have to bring it, but just as
importantly, you Crazies are going to be needed. No one else on our schedule is
going to be as big and strong and physical as State, and Duke will need
everything they have to prevail.Â UNC and UVa play this week also, and the
two games will probably determine the top four in the conference for at least a
bit, as FSU is still undertalented, and Wake apparently still has some issues to
resolve after being hammered by State today.
Notes...Dunleavy almost got his face removed by a wicked late elbow...no word
so we assume he's ok...watching Casey Sanders and Nigel Dixon square off was
amazing...it was obvious Casey felt he could abuse the (really) big man....we
still can't get Moiso out of our minds...he is such a quick leaper...ok, back to
the Duke game....Cwell has this amazing capacity to step up and dominate....the
second half defense was probably the best we've seen this year....very rugged...