Duke rode a solid defense and outstanding individual performances to a 75-48
win over UNC Greensboro.
Brian Zoubek again flashed his potential as the young big man scored 17
points, going 7-11. Dave McClure had a fabulous game with 11 points, nine
rebounds, and seven steals. Gerald Henderson scored 12 in 22
Josh McRoberts had an interesting game with seven assists and five
blocks. In the absence of Paulus, he's been used as, essentially, a 6 -10
While Lance Thomas and Jon Scheyer didn't have great offensive games, they
were both part of the tremendous defensive effort Duke put out.
That's quickly becoming this team's signature. As Coach K pointed out
after the game, no one has hit 50 points yet against this team, which is
impressive, and they have the athleticism to really hammer people.
Lots of teams have good athletes, but it doesn't' mean they know what to do
with it (Heels).
Oooh, that felt good. But in fairness, it's too early to draw many
lessons, whether we're talking about Duke or UNC.
But it is clear that this team is athletic and unselfish, and once Greg
Paulus is fully up to speed, and once roles are established, the offense is
going to kick up a few notches quickly. It's hard, for instance, for
McRoberts to do much inside while the offense runs around him outside, which
obviously limits his shots (though not his passes). When you have Paulus
zipping it around, and McRoberts zipping it around, the various guys who are
described as cutters and slashers are going to be very, very happy.
That includes DeMarcus Nelson, who took the summer and put himself in
phenomenal condition. J.J. Redick is the recent standard-bearer for
conditioning at Duke, and we understand Paulus took inspiration from Redick this
summer and really overhauled his body. But Nelson's SEAL-based workouts
really pushed him to another level.
As Coach K pointed out after the game, because the games have come so close
together, they haven't had time to really work on offense a lot, and when you're
incorporating four big-time freshmen, that's a big problem. It showed up
in turnovers: Duke took the ball away 24 times but gave it up 21. And free
throw shooting has been somewhat erratic so far. Against Greensboro, Duke
only shot 9-16.
But defense has been Duke's thing for years, and it can overcome a lot of
shortcomings. Over the last few seasons, as Duke had to overcome the early
departure of Luol Deng and the never-arrived Kris Humphries and Shaun
Livingston, the defense wasn't as overwhelming as it has been at times.
With Shelden Williams holding down the middle it was still solid, but it didn't
attack as often or as aggressively as maybe Coach K would have liked.
Looks like that's about over. And if you've watched Duke for any length
of time, you know that that sort of defense can break games wide open.
It's young, but the season is off to a fun start.
Incidentally, the win pushes Duke to 1,799 all-time wins. So the next
win is fairly important, at least symbolically. Also, Coach K is up
to 756 career wins, putting him within hollering distance of Dean Smith's record
879 victories. Of course, that record will fall soon to Bob Knight, unless
Knight has a complete collapse, but it's nice to think of Smith looking up at
Krzyzewski in the record books. It's also nice to think of Kentucky fans
who would probably like to exhume Adolph Rupp and strap him to the bench so he
can catch up again for the glory of the Wildcats.