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James Brown has had the same guy introduce him since the 1950s, and his
routine goes something like this: "ladies and gentlemen, it's star time!
Are you ready for star time? Thank you, and thank you very kindly. It's my
pleasure to introduce to you at this particular time the man internationally
known as the hardest workin' man in show business who wrote such great
hits as..." and then he lists the songs as the band punctuates it with
single, ascending chords. Wednesday night, it was star time for Jason
Williams and Mike Dunleavy and, in a different way, for Lynn Greer.
Jason Williams shook off his early-season funk and put together an excellent
all around game, scoring 26 points, getting 10 boards, and three assists.
Dunleavy hit for 24 points, 10 boards, and just 1 assist, though he made some
very sharp passes. Frankly, it's a mystery, because he usually does the right
thing but it rarely translates into assists.
About the worst thing you could say about his game was he made a couple of
careless passes, and the worst you could say about Williams is that he shot
8-20. But shots are in the context of the game and he hit several which
really hurt Temple, and we can't remember any which hurt Duke, so it's all good.
Overall, this was probably Duke's best performance of the season. The
most impressive part was the sustained defensive intensity. Temple was only
credited with 16 turnovers, but it seemed much worse. Greer was under
constant pressure from Duhon and Jones, and often was picked up full court and
covered the entire way up the court.
Not suprisingly, the matchup zone, the East Coast corruption of the game
(just kidding) largely neutralized Boozer, who was held to 10 points. What
was a surprise was the play of Rollerson. This guy is unbelievably
huge. He made Boozer look small, and Carlos is 6-10 and 270. He
didn't run much, and he wasn't quick, but he leaned on everyone, and blocked 5
shots. If you'd told us before the game that a man that big and slow could block
5 shots, we'd have called you delusional. But he did a great job.
So did Greer, in a different way.
Temple, it strikes us, is kind of lacking offensively, or maybe one should
say athletically. Greer hit 22 and Polk hit 20, but the rest of the team was
almost shut out. Rollerson hit 4 and Murry hit 5. Duke taunted Greer with chants
of "ballhog!" but when have you ever known John Chaney to
indulge piggishness of any kind? The reason he is shooting so much is
simple: no one else can, so Chaney has told him to fire at will. Another
way to look at it: where would they have been without him?
Overall, Duke played well, but there were some ups and downs, as there are in
any sport and with any team. Duhon didn't shoot much, and with Boozer shut out,
it would have been a good time for him to shoot. Jones didn't shoot well,
hitting just 1-7. Yet the two of them are forming a formidable defensive duo,
and Duke will build on that.
At the end of the game, Williams upped his defensive pressure markedly and
was enormously effective.
Daniel Ewing, who for our money is the best ACC rookie we've seen so far, had
a bit of an education tonight, dealing with a sticky zone and a stubborn
opponent. The first half was a wash, but he was much better in the second.
Horvath played, but not outstandingly. We were, however, very impressed
with Casey Sanders, specifically for three plays. First, he had a power
dunk. Casey and power are not words you normally put together. But he
stuck it in someone's face. Secondly, he had two blocks of drives which
were really impressive. These were all plays by a basketball player, as
opposed to an athlete playing basketball. All three were intimidating and macho,
There were certainly deficiencies in this game - offensive imbalance for one
- but all things considered, it was a great game for this team to grow on.
Even in a weak year, Temple is a demanding opponent, and we respect Chaney's
Notes - Dunleavy seems to be emerging as a Gary Cooper, quiet sort of leader,
doing more by example...on a couple of occasions, K jumped up and was as
animated as we have seen him in years....Williams picked up on his actions
almost immediately and transmitted them to the team...Duhon's shot continues to
be strangely erratic, but his passing is increasingly a potent weapon...Duke
outrebounded Temple 37-31