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Duke Blazes Past UAB, 85-64

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Duke keeps a pad in front of the scorer's table which players step on before taking the court, presumably to make sure their shoes are in the best condition possible.  Just before the jump ball, UAB's kids made a confrontational point of stepping on it before Duke did.  That was probably a mistake.

Duke shot out to a 26-4 lead, and the game was basically over.

We haven't heard anyone say anything about that punk move, but after UAB hit a three, here's what happened:

basket, steal, 3 pointer, steal, three pointer, steal.

UAB didn't hit another basket until the 12:44 mark.

For Duke, Nolan Smith had a tremendous game, hitting for 33.  His play lately has elevated tremendously and we were trying to think of who he reminds us of, then someone put their finger on it at halftime:  Johnny Dawkins.  He's really playing a great deal now like his "Uncle Johnny."

Mike Davis was certainly impressed. After the game he said this:

"He's excellent. And the thing I like about him is his endurance. You watch him, his stamina is just second to none. Because I mean I watched films on him and you guys can watch a game and you see a guy make eight points in a row and he's got to come out of the game. He'll make a couple of hard plays and he's tired. This guy is unbelievable from this standpoint. He plays the same way the whole night against Miami for 40 minutes. Forty minutes and you never could tell he was tired at all. He kept playing, and he just takes advantage of it. He's really, his basketball IQ is just off the charts. He's making shots, he's almost impossible to guard. What makes him so good is that he's just able to play at his level and it never drops. It like never drops. You'll never see him grab his shorts, well I haven't seen it, and I've watched a lot of games on him, and he's on the same level all the time. And most guys, now there's probably a lot of guys, even [Kyle] Singler is the same way. You'll never see those two guys fatigued.

For his part, Kyle Singler didn't shoot well (5-18), but that was partly because of UAB's defense, which was very physical, particularly for Singler.

Ryan Kelly continues to emerge and improve:  he is becoming a key player for Duke.  His rebounding, defense, shotblocking, passing and overall smart game is proving a real asset.

The one thing he doesn't do very well now is score down low, and that's something Duke clearly tried to address in this game since it's potentially a problem down the road.

Duke also tried to push the ball in to the Plumlees on a regular basis, and they were a combined 8-13 for 18 points.  They also grabbed 10 boards.  Miles got the lesser part of it with four points and two boards, but foul trouble limited him to 11 minutes.

Andre Dawkins added eight points and six boards, while Seth Curry tossed in five.

Impressively, Smith grabbed seven boards while Dawkins pulled down six.

This is an interesting team to play before Maryland, because while UAB has a strong perimeter game without a real center, Maryland has a really good center but shaky guard play.

Jordan Williams is likely to give Duke - and everyone else - fits.  On the other hand, Smith spends parts of his summers playing pickup ball with various Terps, so he can give a scouting report on a number of them.

Notes - Singler crossed over the 2,000 point plateau in this game. At his current pace, he'll be close to passing Mike Gminski's career scoring mark of 2,323 by the first game of the ACC Tournament, which is the last guaranteed game of the season. If Duke makes it back to the title game, he has a chance of passing Christian Laettner as the #3 scorer of all time for Duke.  All five of the top five scorers have their jerseys retired...since moving back to Alabama, Davis has gone with a shaved head look...if he maintains his current rate (43.9%), Andre Dawkins will become Duke's second-best three point shooter, trailing only Laettner...

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