Remember what we said before the game about Seton Hall being a scary
opponent? Forget we said that.
Duke came out and really put on a show against Seton Hall, in a game which
seemed certain to be very dangerous.
Led by Chris Duhon, who played 32 minutes with a painful rib injury sustained
in the ACC Tournament Finals, Duke had a magnificent effort and won 90-62.
Where do you start? Duhon is the obvious lead. He played in pain
and his offense suffered (and he's exactly not lining up for charges, either,
not that anyone should blame him for that). Yet he contributed mightily to
shutting down Andre Barrett in the first half, and for much of the second, had
five assists, and six boards, which isn't where you expected to see him.
Aside from the grittiness of his game, his example was inspirational.
You could see his teammates checking up on him constantly, making sure he was
JJ Redick also played a superb game, shooting well. One thing which
occurred to us is that for him, the tournament might be fairly liberating, since
he'll be playing against people he hasn't seen before. They don't
necessarily know what to expect from him, and he can maybe make it through the
rest of the season without getting a new jersey (his old one was stretched out
of shape by other players who were holding him).
Shelden Williams ended up with 13 points and 11 boards and along with Shavlik
Randolph, totally dominated the inside. Between them, and with some
help from Nick Horvath, they held Seton Hall's Kelly Whitney to 14 points and 6
boards - when just the previous game he had destroyed Arizona inside.
Daniel Ewing had a poor shooting night, but played defense well, along with
the rest of the team.
The biggest factor in the game was simple determination: Duke made it
clear early that they were 100% in the game, regardless of injuries or any other
conceivable distractions. This was best illustrated by Duhon's willingness
to put up with considerable pain, as evidenced by his padding, and the periodic
closeups, where he was obviously in pain.
Bottom line: in a game which logic suggested would be close, where Duke
seemed vulnerable, Duke instead came out and absolutely destroyed Seton Hall in
every way imaginable. Now they move on to the Sweet 16 and a date with
either Illinois or Cincinnati. Just as importantly, Chris Duhon gets a few more
days to rest and rehab. Considering the style of ball both teams play,
he'll probably need it.