In a game which bore the unmistakable aura of a Final Four matchup, Duke
turned back a tremendous effort by the Kansas Jayhawks. All Duke fans, we hope,
will recognize a championship effort when they see one, and both teams gave one today. Kansas came out and just
knocked Duke back on their heels. For the first few minutes, Duke was almost
helpless, and was shooting, at one point, 15%.
Not to single anyone out in particular, but Kirk Hinrich was sensational
early for the Jayhawks. He consistently beat Williams off the dribble.Â He
scored 11 points early for Kansas before picking up his third foul.Â
Collison got 3 early also. Kansas harassed Duke into turnover after turnover,
but after the fouls, things calmed down and Duke crept back in, and the teams went to the locker rooms tied.
In the second half, Duke came out and played defense with a vengeance, making
life as miserable for Kansas as Kansas did for Duke early. They had a 9 point
lead for a good bit before the Jayhawks had a sensational rally, ripping off 9
But this was Shane Battier's day. Can enough be said about his
performance?Â The man blocked shots, rebounded, was aggressive, getting to
the foul line 11 times - he was, in a word, incredible.
Good thing, too, because Duke's two starting freshmen, Jason Williams and
Carlos Boozer, combined for 14 turnovers - 8 by Williams alone. And Williams
tanked from the field, shooting only 2-15.Â Boozer, however, got 15 points
and 13 boards, largely negating his turnovers, and his go ahead basket and huge
steal at the end negated any mistakes at all.Â As for Williams, he hit 2
key free throws near the end.
This wasn't Duke's best game. In fact, it was the second sub-par game in a
row. However, they fought back from a terrible start, and in spite of a terrible
start, in spite of subpar shooting, in spite of only hitting 2-17 from thee
point range, they managed to put it away.
In particular, Battier was superb, and James was also excellent. Carrawell
had a solid game, and so did Boozer, turnovers aside.Â Next week, Florida
will attempt to come after Duke - and especially Jason Williams - the same way
Kansas did. How Duke responds will determine whether or not they play for what
Krzyzewski calls a tournament championship - another Regional banner to hang in
Notes - a very physical game - Williams got a knee banged, Cwell went down in
the second half and got up limping...Kansas did a better job penetrating than K
would like, yet only managed to hit .363 from the field...Coach K and Williams
got into it in the first half and had to be separated...we're not positive, but
we don't think Roy Williams has ever beaten Duke...Jason had a tough game, but
he still stepped up and hit the free throws...if Carlos had held on to the ball,
he would have had a great game...as it was he had a very good game....Battier -
what is there to be said? We'd just like to remind any potential early entries
who might read this - there is no salary cap on endorsements...Shane will make a
great deal more on endorsements than he will in salary....on to the Gators!