NEW YORK (AP) -- It might be time to make it the "Big Four" for
The Blue Devils (No. 10 ESPN/USA Today; No. 7 AP) didn't get the usual offensive
performances from the players known as their "Big Three" in
Saturday's 58-47 victory over St. John's.
But for the third straight game, Lee Melchionni stepped up.
The junior forward had 14 of his 16 points in the first half to
lead the Blue Devils (21-4), who won their third straight game
after losing two in a row. He matched his career high and was the
leading scorer in Duke's worst offensive performance of the season.
He had a career-high nine rebounds, just missing his first
"Lee Melchionni had an incredible week for us," Duke coach
Mike Krzyzewski said. "He had his best game against Wake Forest,
played well against Georgia Tech and was our best player today. It
wasn't just his points and rebounds. He played good defense and he
played with an enthusiasm and smartness that really helped."
Duke's trio of J.J. Redick, Shelden Williams and Daniel Ewing
scored a total of four points on 0-for-12 shooting in the first
half. They supplied almost all of Duke's offense in the second
half, combining for all but four of the Blue Devils' points. Still,
they didn't look like themselves.
"He really stepped up for us on a day when the 'Big Three' as
you all call us didn't have great games," Redick said of
Melchionni. "I kind of expect that from him now. I know we have
confidence in him."
Melchionni, who entered the game averaging 7.2 points and 2.7
rebounds, downplayed his biggest game.
"The shots presented themselves and I took them," said
Melchionni, who was 4-for-9 from 3-point range one game after
hitting two big 3s late in the win over Georgia Tech on Wednesday.
He had 15 points in the win over Wake Forest last Sunday. "This
was the end of a long week for us but that's no excuse. I was given
an opportunity to step up and I knocked some shots down."
Lamont Hamilton had 15 points for the Red Storm (9-16), who have
lost six of seven. They were trying to recreate the magic of two
years ago at Madison Square Garden when an unranked St. John's beat
then-No. 6 Duke 72-71.
"I told our guys before the game to enjoy every minute of it
and have fun," first-year St. John's coach Norm Roberts said of
playing a top team in front of a crowd of 16,290. "Hopefully in
the future it will be predominantly St. John's and not the other
The Red Storm closed within 41-37 with 7:54 left on a reverse
layup by Hamilton, but Redick, one of the best shooters in the
nation, hit his first 3 of the game 17 seconds later to give the
Blue Devils a 44-37 lead. St. John's didn't get closer than five
points the rest of the way.
Redick, Ewing and Melchionni went a combined 6-for-6 from the
free throw line over the final 52 seconds for Duke.
Redick had 13 points on 2-for-11 shooting, including 1-for-7
from 3-point range, Ewing had nine points and Williams finished
with eight points and 10 rebounds.
"It was just one of those games," Redick said. "We just
couldn't get into any kind of rhythm."
Duke shot just 31.4 percent for the game (16-for-51) and turned
the ball over 23 times, one more than St. John's.
"It was an offensive struggle for both teams," Melchionni
Duke led 28-17 at halftime -- the second-lowest scoring half for
both teams this season -- with the Blue Devils outshooting the Red
Storm 27.6 percent to 20.8 percent.
Daryll Hill, whose 20.5 average leads St. John's and is second
in the Big East, finished with 10 points on 4-for-19 shooting. He
was coming off a career-high 33 points against Syracuse on
Roberts talked about Hill's defense on Redick.
"I don't think anybody can play him tougher than Daryll played
him today," Roberts said. "Daryll has done that all year. He can
take the other team's best player out of the game."
Duke came into the game averaging 81.6 points. The Blue Devils'
previous low this season came in a 59-46 win over Princeton on Jan.
"I thought their kids played their hearts out," Krzyzewski
said of St. John's. "They are a scrappy basketball team trying to
muck anything out."
This was Duke's first game without guard Sean Dockery. He
injured his knee against Georgia Tech this week and is out
"The dynamic that is created in not having Sean is a huge one.
It's a huge loss for us," Krzyzewski said. "It changes Daniel's
role. It's tough for him to score because he's defending their best
player and bringing the ball up. It's not easy. He did a great job
on Hill and played every minute."
Duke improved to 2-0 in Madison Square Garden this season,
having beaten Oklahoma 78-67 on Dec. 18.
St. John's dropped to 2-1 against the Atlantic Coast Conference
this season. The Red Storm beat Virginia Tech and North Carolina