7:30 PM ET, November 27, 2004
Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham, North Carolina
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) -- Duke got the tuneup it needed before facing Michigan State.Shelden Williams had 16 points and 11 rebounds Saturday night, one of six Blue Devils in double figures in a 98-44 rout of North Carolina-Greensboro. Daniel Ewing and J.J. Redick also scored 16 points for the Blue Devils (No. 10 ESPN/USA Today; No. 9 AP), who built a 20-point lead midway through the first half and were never challenged by their in-state neighbor from the Southern Conference. It was a good way to rebound from an off night in this week's 74-61 win against Davidson, also from the Southern Conference. And for a team that came in shooting just 41 percent this season, it was a confidence boost before hosting the Spartans (No. 9 ESPN/USA Today; No. 10 AP) on Tuesday night. "We wanted to use this game as a way to gain momentum for the rest of the week," Redick said. The Blue Devils had won the previous four meetings with UNC-Greensboro (2-1) by an average margin of nearly 39 points, and they practically turned Saturday's meeting into a collection of highlight-reel moments. Duke shot 53 percent, hit 15 3-pointers and used its superior size and athleticism to smother the Spartans. The Blue Devils held the Spartans to 30 percent shooting, and their pressure defense turned just about every possession into an adventure. By the time it was over, UNC-Greensboro had more turnovers (24) than field goals (18). UNC-Greensboro came in with four players averaging in double-figures, but Kyle Hines' nine points was a team-high against Duke. The Spartans also went 0-for-5 from behind the arc, marking the first time in more than 14 years that they failed to hit a 3 in a game. That streak stood at 407 games, including all 375 games since moving to Division I in the 1991-92 season. Against Davidson, Duke watched a 20-point lead shrink to four with 5½ minutes left before a late run put the game away. In the days since, the team had worked on shooting the ball with more confidence. "In the past couple of games I think a lot of times we're putting too much pressure on our shots," said Shavlik Randolph, who had 11 points and seven rebounds. "Just shoot it confidently and don't hope, but think that it's going in." The plan worked. Ewing and reserve Lee Melchionni each went 4-for-6 from behind the arc, while Redick and Sean Dockery each hit multiple 3s. Redick also finished with a career-best eight assists, part of Duke's ability to move the ball and take advantage of a scrambling defense that just couldn't match up. "They're a team that's very difficult to put a game plan together for because there are so many ways they can hurt you," Spartans coach Fran McCaffrey said. Duke jumped ahead quickly, scoring 12 straight points to take a 21-6 lead in the first 7 minutes. The 6-foot-9, 250-pound Williams had his way inside, scoring three straight baskets against a front line whose biggest starter was the 6-8, 215-pound Ronnie Burrell. Williams ended his personal spurt by throwing down a long alley-oop pass from Redick as the Blue Devils pushed the ball upcourt in transition after a turnover. Williams then set a screen that freed Ewing for a straightaway 3. Ewing ended the run a minute later with another 3, pushing the margin to 15 points. From there, the Blue Devils methodically pulled away, forcing turnovers in the backcourt and getting wide-open 3s. Duke ended the half with another 12-0 run, with Redick hitting two jumpers and finding Ewing for a 3 that gave the Blue Devils a 60-21 halftime lead. Duke shot 62 percent in the first half, including 9-for-19 from 3-point range. "I think we got what we wanted from the first half," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "We played with energy (and) played hard to start off this week."
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