Score | Quotes
Gallery | Augusta
| H-S | H-S
Fayetteville | Fayetteville
First things first: you've heard by now that Coach K "collapsed"
during the game. We didn't see him go down, but we saw Johnny Dawkins
stand over him and wave intensely to the trainer or the team doctor to get over
there. We were scared it was something like a heart attack, but happily,
it appears to be just a case of light-headedness. He's fine, and so is his team,
after brushing off Tech, 82-65, and remaining in a tie for second place,
although Wake Forest gets the nod in any tiebreaker.
We felt, but didn't want to come out and say it directly, that Tech's
offensive woes would make it just about impossible for them to win if Duke
avoided foul trouble and played hard defense, and they did both - plus scored
Without B.J. Elder, Tech's best offensive threat, still sidelined by a
hamstring injury, Tech is lost offensively. Their best two threats
currently are probably point guard Jarrett Jack, and Luke Schenscher, who
combined for 29 points. Will Bynum should be a serious threat, but he hasn't
really taken advantage of his opportunity, although he did hit 10 points in this
game. He could have done a lot more during Elder's absence, though.
After those guys, it gets down to Isma'il Muhammad, who after four years
still is not a polished performer, and Anthony McHenry, who is a solid defender,
but a reluctant shooter.
We have a lot of admiration for Schenscher and Jack. Schenscher is the
furthest thing from a great athlete, but despite his lack of speed, his
basketball skills are light years beyond Muhammad's. Among big men we've
seen in recent years, we can't recall a single one who is better about not
bringing the ball down. At one point, Schenscher caught a ball up high and
just immediately went into a hook shot, which he hit. You could seriously
make a highlight film for all big, gawky centers out of his shots, because
almost all of them start up high, and it's not like he gets much more than 12
inches off the floor. Imagine how effective the following characters could
have been had they mastered the same basic principle: Marty Nessley, that
7-4 guy who played at UVa when Elton Brand was at Duke, Warren Martin, Chuck
Nevitt, Tom Wideman, and literally dozens of others, including just about every
big man John Chaney has had over 6-10.
Schenscher has just absolutely mastered that skill, and he'll be able to make
a living at basketball for years as a result. It's not like he's going to slow
down a lot. Paul Hewitt says out of all his players, Schenscher has gotten
the most out of his athletic ability, which is kind of like saying that yeah, we
thought he sucked too, but he really surprised us.
If Muhammad had a fraction of Schenscher's willingness to learn the game,
he'd be a lottery pick, because he's that talented.
Unfortunately, and we aren't really thrilled to say this, he's pretty much
proven to be a total jerk. We've watched him over the years, and if he's
not a dirty player, he certainly provokes a lot of people. He's settled all too
often for the path of least resistance, which is why he can do spectacular dunks
but can't hit a simple three point jump shot to save his life. We'd like
to find something nice to say about him, but aside from the fact that he's religiously
observant, we can't think of a single thing.
We really do like Jarrett Jack. As a point guard, he's in a tough spot,
since no one can really shoot, which kind of limits you, but he's a very crafty
player. Where Muhammad likes to bull right on through, Jack is a master at
the cat and mouse game. He's really a subtle player.
For Duke, we were tremendously impressed with Shavlik Randolph, who continues
to recuperate from mono, but who is now getting about 20 minutes a game.
In essentially a half, Randolph had nine boards, eight of them offensive, five
blocks, seven points, and some really good basketball plays. He showed us
more quickness than we've seen in awhile from him, and a lot of tenacity.
Shelden Williams at this point is by far the better big man, but if you could
combine the two of them, you'd have a great, great basketball player.
J.J. Redick didn't shoot that well - 7-21 overall - but part of that was
intense defense, and despite everything, he lit Tech up in the first half for 17
Daniel Ewing also had some struggles, picking up three first half fouls and
not shooting particularly well (5-13), but again, Tech is a defense-oriented
team, and they had a lot of guys to throw at Redick and Ewing.
Shelden Williams had another solid game, and faced more double teams.
He ended up with 15 points, 12 boards, and six blocks, which is a great
performance when you consider how much focus he drew. And the flipside of
Schenscher's offense is his defense: he's usually in good position, his
hands are straight up, and he contests the shots. Nothing fancy, just basic
basketball skills, but he does it well enough to overcome the fact that he's a
Sean Dockery also had a really good game, and at a critical point in the
game, called for the ball and hit a huge three. Tech had cut it to nine
and was making a move. Dockery put a cork in that.
There was an unnerving stretch at the end of the game when Tech was pressing
successfully, and looked as if they might erase a 12 point lead with a couple of
minutes left. Fortunately, Duke got it back together and ended up winning by 17.
Next up is UNC, and the ancient war between the ACC tribes. Things are
back to normal, with Duke and UNC 1 and tied for 2. If Duke wins, then
Duke, UNC, and Wake are in a three-way tie, with all tie breakers pointing
towards Wake Forest.