7:30 PM ET, December 17, 2003
Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, North Carolina
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) -- Luol Deng wanted the ball. He told Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski as much during one second-half huddle.His teammates obliged and the freshman didn't let No. 3 Duke down, scoring 15 of his 18 points in the second half of a 69-51 win over Princeton on Wednesday night."He is going to be a leader because it means that much to him," Krzyzewski said of the 6-foot-8 Deng.Deng was 1-for-6 with three turnovers in the opening 20 minutes, but responded with a strong final period as the Blue Devils (7-1) extended the nation's longest home winning streak to 32 games.Duke's players came up to Deng at halftime and offered encouragement."The guys told me to let the game come to me," said Deng, who was 6-for-7 in the second half and finished with eight rebounds. "I wasn't going to go out there and try to take every shot. The guys looked for me and I hustled and everything came together."Princeton (4-3), playing its highest ranked team since 1997, trailed by eight points with 7½ minutes left before Deng scored on a driving layup to give Duke a double-digit lead.Two minutes later, Deng hit a 3-pointer and his assist on a three-point play by Shelden Williams put Duke up 61-49 with 3:51 left.Deng's only downer of the second half was a cramp in his left thigh that forced to leave in front of a cheering crowd with 2:38 left."I feel like everybody else, that kid is terrific," Princeton coach John Thompson III said. "He's very similar to a lot of other players that have walked on that court out there."Besides being able to do a lot of things on the basketball court, he's poised. He's talented enough and smart enough and skilled enough to be able to take what's there."J.J. Redick was also key for Duke, scoring 17 points and Daniel Ewing had 15.Andre Logan led the Tigers with 16 points.Duke realized how much it missed a healthy Williams inside. He played just 19 minutes because of a sprained left ankle he reinjured against Portland three days ago, scoring six points.With its offense struggling, Duke's defense was a factor again, forcing Princeton into a jump-shooting team in the second half by cutting off passing lanes."Duke made a conscious effort in the second half to take away a few of our drives was had and a few of the cuts we had," Thompson said. "They were giving up open shots, but you've got to make them."After closing to 41-35 early in the second half, Princeton made just one basket over the next six minutes, missing four 3-pointers and turning it over four more times."We didn't talk in the first half on defense," Duke's Chris Duhon said. "Everybody was worried about their man and being backdoored. In the second half everybody threw themselves into the defense."Princeton finished 2-for-18 from long range, missing all 12 attempts in the second half.The Tigers fell behind by 10 midway through the first half and lost leading scorer Judson Wallace to foul trouble for more than 10 minutes, but used a 14-4 run to pull even with the Blue Devils.Duke went more than seven minutes without a basket, going 0-for-8 from the field with four turnovers during Princeton's rally.Redick's baseline jumper gave him 12 points for the half and Duke a slim 31-27 lead as the Blue Devils shot just 37 percent.
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