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Purdue 78 Duke 68

You could probably have seen this coming, since Duke has not put together two
really solid halves so far this season. Until Purdue, though, the bad halves had
come at the beginning of the game rather than the end. Duke had a really solid
first half, but whether they ran out of steam or just got pushed aside by a
tougher team, the second half was a very different story.

After the half, Purdue picked it up sharply, and Duke couldn't keep
pace. And while the first half was largely free of mental errors, Duke
made quite a few in the second half, and it cost the Devils. Aside from
Purdue's usually solid defense, they were shooting well, and tougher, and Duke
made numerous mistakes, and that was the game, in a nutshell.

For Duke, the good news was as follows: first, Duke was competitive
despite weak games from Luol Deng, JJ Redick, and Daniel Ewing. Second, in
the first half, at least, Shelden Williams was a serious force down low.
And third, Chris Duhon is putting together long stretches of very, very fine
play. When he said he had put last year behind him, it's increasingly
obvious he was sincere about it.

The other possible mitigating factor was the injuries Redick and Ewing took
to Alaska. But you can only go with what you have, and it's not an excuse
or anything.

The other good news is that you could see Duhon, Redick, Deng, Ewing, and
Williams all trying to make something happen. It's not like they weren't busting
a gut trying to find a way to win it.

That'll have to wait. Next up is Michigan State, another program famed
for tough teams. Duke will have their hands full, but great opportunity is
there. Will they learn what they needed to from this game? Or will
it take some more toughening up?

Okay, everybody, get some sleep.