New York Greg Paulus had five stitches in his chin and a wide smile on his face.
The sophomore guard scored a career-high 20 points and combined with Josh McRoberts on three big plays in the second half to help No. 6 Duke beat No. 22 Gonzaga, 61-54, Thursday in the Aeropostale Classic at Madison Square Garden.
Suddenly the foot injury that kept him out of the preseason and limited his movement once the games began was old news. So was the illness that cost him more time. The stitches that came after a dive into a courtside table chasing a loose ball Thursday were an afterthought. The 6-foot-1 point guard had one thing on his mind.
"We got the win," he said with a smile, asked if this was his best game of the season. "No. It's up there,"
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski told Paulus he had to forget what had happened so far in his sophomore year.
"Right after exams I said, 'OK. The season starts now. Don't take anything you've had with you forward,"' Krzyzewski said of his talk with Paulus last weekend. "He was terrific. I told him the stitches made him better looking."
Paulus and fellow sophomore McRoberts came up big for the Blue Devils (11-1) on the offensive end in a defensive game that saw plenty of missed shots and almost as many bodies on the floor.
"When Greg and I are on the same page, it's going to be good for our team," McRoberts said. "Obviously he played great and when he does he's one of one of the big parts of our playing well."
No. 20 Notre Dame 88, Army 47
South Bend, Ind. - Colin Falls scored 24 points, and Notre Dame made 15 three-pointers, both season highs, to help the Irish win their ninth straight. Russell Carter added 12 points, and Luke Harangody had 10 points and 12 rebounds.