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Since Mike Krzyzewski and Herb Sendek started competing with each other in the
ACC, Duke-State games have taken on a sometimes odd persona. Duke usually
wins by a reasonable amount, State usually suffers through at least one
significant offensive drought, then put together a late rally which makes Duke
wake up near the end of the game. Wednesday's game didn't follow that script
precisely, but it's close enough for horseshoes, as they say, as Duke won 76-57.
Duke pulled away early, helped by, yes, a lengthy State drought: from the
16:55 mark to the 4:30 mark, State hit only one basket and two free
throws. They scored six more points in the half after that. At the
16:55 mark, the score was 11-11; at the 4:30 mark, it was 32-17, and the game
was basically done.
While Julius Hodge gets a lot of credit for State's success the last two
years, our favorite State player has been Ilian Evtimov. We're revisiting that
somewhat now after watching Engin Atsur play. He's still figuring out the
college game, but that kid has instincts you can't teach. He's a daring
passer and a not-bad shooter. He shot 6-7 and was credited with three assists,
but his teammates dropped a bunch more.
Considering what State needs from him - playing out of position for one -
Evtimov did okay as well. Marcus Melvin, Scooter Sherrill, and Julius
Hodge did not. Hodge let the Crazies get under his skin, and just
before he fouled out lost the pych-ops battle as well: just after the crowd
ragged him, he lost the battle and played to them instead of to his actual
opponents. It's quite a coup to rattle someone that good that thoroughly.
Marcus Melvin was all but invisible, and while Scooter Sherrill was at least
aggressive, he did not shoot very well. The trio combined for 8-19. Ugh.
For Duke, there were some down spots- Shelden Williams got into foul trouble.
He's emerging now as a real force as a rebounders, shot blocker, and scorer, but
obviously that will slow down if he doesn't get as many minutes. Williams only
got 19 minutes in this game. Deng returned to form, making a number of smart
plays offensively. Redick and Duhon shot well, which opens the game up
On the distressing side, State did get a number of easy shots in the
second half, and if that had been a different team (think Louisville) it
would have been a vastly tougher end. Williams and Randolph were out rebounded
by a number of smaller players, which will not go unnoticed. State did manage to
get a number of mismatches on defense, particularly in the second half, which
they took advantage of.
However, for the most part, Duke dominated this game and controlled State,
and that's the most basic pattern n recent Duke-State games of all.