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Duke Whips Columbia, 86-43

After a bit of a slow start, not a big surprise for a young team, Duke took
it to Columbia, doubling the score on the Lions, 86-43.

Brian Zoubek hit for 18 to lead the Devils. He started, along with Josh
McRoberts, DeMarcus Nelson, Greg Paulus, and Jon Scheyer.

McRoberts had a quiet offensive game, but Coach K complimented his
performance, saying that he didn't need to score much against Columbia and that
he helped his team by not scoring a lot.

DeMarcus Nelson scored 11; Palus scored two and had seven assists in 19
minutes. Scheyer hit 4-6 for 12 points.

Marty Pocius came off the bench to hit for 9, and Lance Thomas had 12.
Gerald Henderson scored four, Dave McClure hit six, and Jamal Boykin had
four. Everyone got at least 12 minutes.

But while baskets are what catches the eye, the other stats are more
important. Duke held Columbia to 29.4% from the floor, and outrebounded
the visitors 36-21. Duke took away the three poitn shot and Columbia
couldn't drive on the bigger Devils. They gave the ball up 19 times -
eleven of those turnovers were on steals - and after a nice beginning struggled
to do much of anything.

At that point, when dominance is clearly established, what do you learn about
your team?

The first thing is the play of Greg Paulus. Obviously he will have to
catch up a bit, since he has missed a fair amount of time, and basketball
conditioning is a razor's edge. But he played well and passed well, and
that's what his main role is.

The second thing is how cohesive the unit is. So far, so good.
Coach K tried a number of different lineups, including running Dave McClure
inside for a while, and most of them seemed to work.

Another important factor is the continuing recovery of Gerald Henderson. An
extraordinary athlete, Henderson has had some injuries which have set him
back. The sooner he fully recovers, the better.

And Duke watchers know that one key for any K team is communication.
That takes a bit of time, particularly for a young team, and it's not
immediately obvious from the stands. But you know it's a major focus, and
that it is being constantly emphasized. How quickly that improves is going
to be a major factor.

Monday night, Duke takes on Georgia Southern, a 116-73 victor over UC
Davis. Georgia Southern put on a pretty sweet exhibition, but in previous
games, they averaged 81.4 ppg. Not bad at all, but the 116 was a bit deceptive.

Due to the quick turnaround, we won't have a preview of Georgia Southern for
the Monday game.