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Duke Beats Lamar, Advances

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First things first: like Mississippi Valley State before them, Lamar deserves
enormous credit for playing with heart, passion, and the belief that they could
do it. That got them about 23 minutes into the game, and after that, they were
dead as Duke pulled away and won 82-55. But for 23 minutes they went toe to toe with the #1 seed in the
tournament, and made Duke play up to their level.

Think about that for a second: what a great feeling that would be, even
though Lamar lost the game.

Duke started off somewhat sluggishly, with Battier shooting poorly, and all
of a sudden, before you knew it, Lamar, the worst shooting team in the field of
64, got incredibly hot and started chunking up threes like, well, like Duke.
Only Duke wasn't doing it back.

Duke was scoring off of steals and penetration and hard work, but Lamar
really pushed the Devils.

There were a number of things worth mentioning in the first half, first and
foremost perhaps the play of Nick Horvath.  Everyone knows, or should know
by now, that Nick can shoot, but what was great was watching the rest of his
game. He played a mentally tough game, particularly on defense. At times this
year, he's visibly lacked confidence, but tonight he played with great
confidence, and was sensational in the first half.  He hit his three, and
cut down the lane for a sweet dunk.  All in all, perhaps his best overall
game of the year.

Second, Mike Dunleavy had another highlight play: stuffing a Lamar player on
their end of the court, then taking off and getting a wonderful, loping layup on
the other end - and a three point play.

At halftime, we took a look at Lamar's foul situation and concluded that they
were cooked. Duke could - and did - bully the ball down the lane and generally
push Lamar around and count on foul trouble, if nothing else, to put the game
away. Holden, Rowe, and Jackson all ended up with 4, and Manheimer and Arline
ended with 3.  This is a key factor in any potential lower seed upset: foul
trouble is almost always an issue.  If you see a 16 seed doing well at
halftime but with foul trouble, you can pretty much kiss them goodbye.  The
higher (and usually more talented) seed will turn the pressure up and force them
to match, and it's not easy to do it when you have key players in foul trouble.

We should also mention the superb floor game played by Jason Williams. The
guy is ridiculously talented -that should be clear to everyone by now - but he
periodically tries to do too much, or takes unnecessary risks. Tonight he had no
turnovers, 7 assists,  18 points, and just had a brilliant game any way you
slice it.

After the game, Chris Carrawell said that the team's unity wasn't what it
should have been for this game and pointed out, correctly, that it would have to
be for Kansas.  That's by no means an easy game, and they showed us
something in what we saw of them tonight (not much: UNC was the game for our
region, as it should have been).

Notes - Casey Sanders got some PT tonight and continues to show
improvement.  As Packer noted, he wasn't physically ready to compete this
year but he has grown hugely through the season and made some outstanding
contributions...Dunleavy and Cwell got 8 board apiece....Cwell only scored 7
points...Battier scored 12 but shot 25% from the floor and only hit one 3....Why
did Horvath and Sanders get PT tonight? First of all because they were playing
well...secondly because Sunday comes soon, and rest is needed for everyone..the
game was over when Jason started trashing their perimeter defense...the nicest
thing about this game - Duke was pushed enough to where some teams would crack,
but they held on....