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Duke, Redick, Take Down Deacs, 102-92

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The Iroquois called Lacrosse the little brother of war, but for Mike
Krzyzewski, that's probably basketball, and if you want to play on his team,
you'd better approach it accordingly. If you don't, you might find your spot
going to a walk-on.

That happened in the Wake game, with Patrick Johnson, Patrick Davidson, and
Reggie Love all starting, and Daniel Ewing, Sean Dockery, and Shavlik Randolph
all sitting.

Ewing and Dockery ended up playing significant minutes - 28 and 27
respectively - but Randolph moved to the end of the rotation with only three
minutes. Shavlik has some real talent, but for whatever reason, he hasn't
been able to translate it into consistent performance. If he can turn that
key, he'll be a monster.

Until then, he'll be a great kid who hasn't figured it all out yet. It
won't earn you minutes on a top team, but geez, how many kids are as honorable
and nice as Shavlik? We'd love to see him as a great basketball player,
but until he reaches that, we're very proud of him for being a person of
considerable character.

In the last two games, Maryland and Virginia Tech showed something Duke had
been lacking, which is an absolute determination to win.

Walkons and all, Duke came at a deeper, more talented Wake Forest team, and
stuck it to them, and in the process complicated Wake's drive for first place,
improved their own tournament prospects, and put UNC in the driver's seat for
the regular season championship, which, by the way, is pretty much irrelevant

With the round robin gone, and inequitable schedules, the only real way to
crown a champion is, once again, through the ACC Tournament. It'd be tough
for Duke to win that with such a short bench, and would probably favor Wake
Forest, UNC, and maybe Georgia Tech, all of whom could have fresh legs at the
end. But we digress.

For Duke, the unquestioned star was J.J. Redick, who hit for a career high
38. He was spectacular, hitting 6-10 from three point range, and just gutting
the Deacs.

Shelden Williams also had a solid game, and if we remember correctly, he
limited Eric Williams to one second half point.

And newly-minted captain Reggie Love stepped up and had a real impact on this
game, playing with emotion and fire, and not really looking like a guy who is
still recovering from a foot injury. He played 14 minutes and fouled out, but
his hustle and passion had a definite impact on the team.

Also putting in a very solid night's work was Lee Melchionni, who scored 15
points and shot 5-6 before also fouling out.

DeMarcus Nelson got 19 minutes and nine points, and also had a very positive
effect on the game.

After he got in, Daniel Ewing had a solid game, with 5-9 shooting and 13
points in his 28 minutes.

And Sean Dockery played well upon his return, too.

It sounds funny to say that Duke played really good defense when Wake scored
92 points, but a lot of that was at the end, and Duke pushed the lead up to 18
points before the Deacs started to chip away at it.

Duke put them in a significant bind. It sounds funny to say Chris Paul
wasn't dominant when he scored 27 points, and had six boards, and three steals,
but we never got the sense that he controlled the game. Duke basically dictated
the terms of the game throughout.

Nor did Justin Gray, a guy who loves to go for the throat whenever possible.
He was kept under control as well.

We came to basketball before Mike Krzyzewski came to Duke, and we learned to
love a different kind of basketball.

But after he showed up, we came to appreciate some very different
things. Relentless man-to-man defense, for one. A coach who tried
the parts of his team together in different ways for another, sometimes having a
6-5 center, sometimes having a 6-8 point guard. Whatever works.

And what we've really come to admire is what is universally known as Duke
basketball: hard-nosed, passionate, and never a sense of
entitlement. Coach K often talks about his humble origins, and the lessons
he learned from his parents about working hard and never giving up.

Despite the image and reputation of Duke, Duke basketball, as we have come to
know it, has never been about something we're supposed to automatically
have. And don't get us wrong, Duke fans love what we're lucky enough to

But the secret about Duke basketball is that it is really a blue collar
team. It's about defense, it's about finding a way, it's about having the
passion to get up every day and do the best you can do.

The last couple of games, maybe Duke didn't do that as well as they might
have. So it was doubly nice to see that quality return for this one.
As long as they play that way, the record will take care of itself.