It's been a good week for the Southern Conference.Â Not only did Furman
knock off an ACC team, FSU, but UNC-Greensboro came within a whisker of putting
Herb Sendek's job in serious jeopardy, and the Citadel very nearly took South
Carolina. And Davidson came into Cameron and played with heart, courage, and
discipline. The final score doesn't really reflect the quality of the game
For much of the game, Davidson was the more aggressive team, the better
prepared, and the mentally tougher of the two.Â Neither team shot well in
the first half, but Davidson was consistently more alert and smarter.Â At
one point, quite early we thought, at about 26-19, Krzyzewski took out most of
his starters and put in the reserves - including Reggie Love.Â That was, by
Duke standards a fairly extraordinary move.Â Love just joined the team a
couple of weeks ago, and in the Duke system, you usually have to earn playing
time by excelling in practice. We don't get in there so we don't know, but our
guess at the time was that while Love may have earned time, some other guys may
have had some taken away, too.
Incidentally, Love is obviously a gifted athlete. The weird thing was he
came out in #42, and for a few minutes it seemed as if Brand had just been
shrunk down a few sizes, because Love is big around the shoulders.
Not to say that everyone started poorly.Â Certainly Jason Wiliams
continues to perform brilliantly, and Nate James had a very solid game from
start to finish.Â Duhon came in and as Coach K said in his post-game
comments, he brought a tremendous energy to the floor.Â And while Matt
Christiansen continues to struggle under the basket, he came in and banged and
bodied and really helped the team.
But back to the first half. Davidson really took it to Duke and though Duke
took a lead to the locker room, Davidson probably took more respect.
In the second half, things started more or less the same, but Duke's defense
started to click, and easy points started to add up and before you knew it the
game was out of reach.Â
Duhon was really superb in this stretch, as he was knocking the ball loose,
making smart passes, getting baskets - just really excellent. Nate James also
In the post-game comments, in the press conference, K talked a lot about how
this was a tough game, how much he respected Davidson (you may remember last
year they gave Stanford a very tough game in California), and how academics
affected this game with exams looming but that you had to just put it all aside
when there's a game and just play.Â He talked a lot about how much
emotional energy Shane spent trying to get everyone on a higher plane and said
that he wasn't worried about his shooting at all.
A reporter asked if he was worried about the rebounding, since Davidson was
only outrebounded by three, and he said no, that you have to look at a lot of
stats, that they were interrelated and that you can't look at them in
isolation.Â The funny part was that he called the reporter
"son."Â Maybe he was with the Chronicle, we don't know.
On the radio show afterwards, Johnny Dawkins said much the same thing when he
talked about how it would be dumb to measure Nick Horvath's game by how much he
scored, saying that you have to measure by heart and effort and doing the things
you know you can do.
That could probably go for Casey Sanders as well, who, more or less recovered
from his hamstring now, got 13 minutes, scored 10 points, and showed more
aggressiveness than he has in a while.Â He blocked shots (the box only
credits him with one but we thought there were at least three and two on one
sequence), went after the ball and took it to the hoop.Â Offensively he is
still a work in progress - his mechanics need refinement - but he presents
problems with his quickness and athleticism.Â He got to the line a lot and
probably can do so for the rest of the year by just getting the ball close to
the basket and going up. He's going to be fouled a lot.
And Christensen, as we said, offered some physicality, which was good to
see.Â No one on this team is really capable of throwing their bulk around
the way Christensen does, so we say bully for him.
As for the other starters, Dunleavy was up and down, and Boozer only got
three shots, which is hard to believe but nonetheless true.Â This was not
one of his better games, and when he thinks about the NBA, he should be
dominating opponents like this before he starts looking at Karl Malone, Elton
Brand, Chris Webber, and Marcus Camby.Â
Krzyzewski's point about statistical relevance is born out by the 33
turnovers Duke forced.Â We don't keep track in a serious way, but that's
the highest number we can remember.Â If someone has a lot of time, we're
sure there's a statistical point to be proved: no team with more than X number
of turnovers has ever won a game.
It's unfortunate that the best game of the season was followed by a miserable
first half. But Duke did a nice job of recovering in the second, and really
imposed their will.
One other note - we understand that exams are coming up and we expect that's
why the students didn't fill their section as much as they usually do. However,
we don't understand the upstairs.Â A lot of people who have tickets didn't
bother to show up tonight and that amazes us, since it's hard to get them in the
first place. Why would you go to the trouble of paying a premium to get these
tickets if you don't want to use them?Â And there seem to be a lot of
people coming in late, 7-10 minutes into the game, and disrupting the experience
for others.Â We're at a loss, frankly.Â You have tickets to the #1
team in the country, and you sit outside for a fourth or third of the
game?Â It's baffling. Even Davidson Coach Bob McKillop said something
indirectly about it: "I hope you (Duke) people realize what greatness you have in this
Look, UNC, Kentucky, Indiana, and UCLA are all having to deal with the
reality that just because you have been great doesn't mean you will always be
great (and Kansas almost had to).Â All four are going through adjustments
of some sort.Â There's no guarantee that Duke will always be like this. As a matter of fact, we'd probably argue that Duke's status is more tenuous than the other schools we just mentioned. You should show up and you should cherish it. It's not a birthright, and you should respect it and help to nurture it.Â Be part of it.
Dahntay Jones fashion watch - Dahntay sported a charcoal shirt, black slacks,
loafers, and wire-rimmed glasses for the serious look
Notes - there were a couple of times tonight when the ball movement was
simply superb...Temple II also hinted at that...this team does that as well as
anyone we can remember, when they are on...despite not scoring tons, Horvath
clearly belonged on the floor tonight..he moved in the flow of the offense, he
rebounded, he passed, he made simple, smart plays....Sanders had one outrageous
dunk on an alleyoop...Duhon and Williams are developing a tremendous chemistry
for defense....they can create havoc when they are turned loose....