Duke played a very game Colorado State team Thursday and saw the Rams push Duke all the
way to the edge before the Devils finally pulled it out. It was a very impressive
performance by CSU, and they deserve a lot of credit for the heart and passion they
brought to the court.
With a bit of St. John's deja vu, Dahntay Jones fouled out with 5:51 to go, and the
rally began in earnest. After he fouled out, Casey Sanders followed him to the bench
with 3:07 left.
Unlike the St. John's game, though, Duke found ways to fend off the challengers.
After Jones fouled out, Ewing hit a three pointer and made a layup. Shelden
Williams got a key rebound with 1:20 left and hit the shot to give Duke a four point lead.
Then it was free throws, with Duke hitting six to lock the game up.
During the same stretch, from Williams' follow shot, CSU got a foul on Bryan Greene, a
missed shot and another foul by Greene, a missed layup, another foul, and a missed three
point jumper. This team showed the heart of a champion, but it doesn't yet know how
to put a game away.
Not that it was all seashells and balloons for Duke, either. After some
impressive first-half defense, when Duke totally dominated CSU, they had trouble
capitalizing offensively, and when they seemed to have a chance to blow the game open,
Apparently terrified by the ACC championship tape, the Rams gave JJ Redick a very
physical game, and whether it was a physical defense or whatever, Daniel Ewing was
invisible for most of the game. There weren't many assists to be had, either.
Still, Redick managed to penetrate, and Ewing got going late, with five key points, and
also had a great play, bouncing the ball off the defender's butt when Duke was trying just
to get the ball in. Self-pass!
For Duke, this game was probably very valuable. They got to experience and
overcome a fair amount of adversity, half the team got their tournament feet wet, and they
pulled the game out with Jones and Sanders unavailable at the end. All great
Now it's on to Central Michigan, and lest you take them lightly, remember a few years
ago another directional Michigan school (Eastern) knocked Duke out of the NCAA tournament.
It's a sure bet that Coach K hasn't forgotten.