Archive for Monday, January 13, 2003

Blue Devils dump Deacons in battle of unbeatens

No. 1 Duke 74, No. 17 Wake Forest 55

January 13, 2003

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— Mike Krzyzewski keeps saying he has a very different Duke team than in years past.

The results sure look strikingly similar.

Dahntay Jones shook off a miserable start to score 15 of his 16 points in the opening 8 1/2 minutes of the second half as the top-ranked Blue Devils rolled over No. 17 Wake Forest, 74-55, in a matchup of the last two Division I unbeatens Sunday night.

"It's very different because it's not predictable," Krzyzewski said of his young team. "You try to do things and then you react to where your guys are at at a specific time. We've tried not to put limitations on them. We're still trying to find out about our team and our guys understand that.

"With the competition we're now facing, you have to get better," Krzyzewski added. "You can practice and plan and do all that stuff, but really the game itself makes you better and the competition in our league makes you better. We have to get better or we'll get tossed aside."

This just in: Duke is good again -- very good.

"Duke is excellent here. Heck, they're excellent every place," Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser said after watching his previously undefeated team dismantled in hostile Cameron Indoor Stadium. "They guarded us much better than we executed offensively. You don't have to be Dr. Naismith to realize that."

Duke (11-0, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) won its 20th straight in Cameron and 14th in a row against the Demon Deacons (10-1, 0-1). Wake Forest's last win here came in January 1997 with Tim Duncan as its center.

And Wake Forest's streak of outshooting and outrebounding all of its opponents was stopped in embarrassing fashion after the Demon Deacons shot 34 percent in their ACC opener and turned it over 18 times.

"Two months ago, this probably wasn't viewed as a very big game," Prosser said. "I give our kids credit for making it a big game. Now, Duke responded to the big game better than we did and we'll learn from this and get better. You don't have a whole lot of choices in this league."

Chris Duhon also was key for Duke, which has finished No. 1 in the last four Associated Press season-ending polls. The junior point guard scored 14 points and added nine assists in helping Duke to a 10-point halftime lead.

Duhon was 2-for-22 from 3-point range in his last six games, but sank three long-range shots in the opening 17 minutes as Jones was struggling to find his game.

And after struggling since getting off to a great start, freshman Shavlik Randolph came to play in this one against prep rival Eric Williams. Randolph had 15 points and seven rebounds, while the 280-pound Williams was a non-factor on both ends of the floor for the Demon Deacons, who were held 32 points under their scoring average.

"I went out in practice this week like I had something to prove and I had one of my best weeks of practice," Randolph said. "That carried over to the game. We play like we practice."

Meanwhile, Jones started 0-for-6 from the field, but the senior didn't stop firing.

He sank an 18-footer 30 seconds into the second period, and after missing his next two shots, went on a tear that gave the Blue Devils a 24-point lead with 11:37 left.

Jones started his 5-for-6 stretch with a spinning move in the lane and ended it five minutes later with a 3-pointer as he scored 13 of Duke's 18 points during one stretch.

"In the first half I was taking shots that were available, I don't think I was pressing," Jones said. "I was just trying to get my teammates rolling. In the second half, I took the same shots and things started going down."

Prosser had the first change in his lineup this season when Jamaal Levy started in place of point guard Justin Gray, who was late for a team function earlier in the week.

And Wake Forest got off to a fast start, but Duke closed the first half with a 10-0 run to take control.

Duhon had quite a final six minutes of the period. He nailed three 3-pointers in a span of 2:50 to get Duke's struggling offense jumpstarted. After displaying his range, Duhon then fed Casey Sanders and Randolph for dunks as the Blue Devils went on top 37-27 at the break.

Wake Forest star Josh Howard, who missed one of his trips to Cameron and fouled out of the other two, struggled on offense, going 2-for-8 in the opening 20 minutes as the Demon Deacons shot 31.4 percent.

Howard finished with 13 points and 14 rebounds.

"We took bad shots and then they were switching everything on defense," Howard said. "Our decision-making was bad and we didn't get the ball down low. Those things hurt us real bad."

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