Scores

Final

Drexel 68

(3-1, 1-1 away)

(1) Duke 78

(4-0, 4-0 home)

7:00 PM ET, November 23, 2005

Madison Square Garden, New York, New York

1 2 T
DREX 40 2868
#1DUKE 41 3778

Top Performers

Drexel: D. Mejia 25 Pts, 6 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl

Duke: J. Redick 31 Pts, 2 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Stl

Redick's 31 helps Duke hold off pesky Drexel

NEW YORK (AP) -- J.J. Redick finally was able to relax with 8.3 seconds left

The Duke guard scored a season-high 31 points to help the top-ranked Blue Devils beat pesky Drexel 78-68 in the NIT Season Tip-Off semifinals Wednesday night.

"It wasn't an easy game for us," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "Drexel played a great game. They knocked us back defensively."

Duke (4-0) had run through its first three opponents, winning by an average of 33 points, holding them to 36.5-percent shooting, and forcing 57 turnovers.

"It wasn't until Shelden [Williams] made those on the line that I knew it was over," Redick said of his teammate's free throws with 8.3 seconds left.

Drexel (3-1) wasn't intimidated facing a top-ranked team for the first time in school history and found itself trailing 52-50 with 14:31 left in the second half before Duke went on a 7-0 run to take control.

"We had some tough turnovers and a couple of easy shots that we missed," said Drexel coach Bruiser Flint.

Josh McRoberts had four points during the 7-0 run that put the Blue Devils ahead 59-50. Drexel could get no closer than five the rest of the way.

Duke advanced to the championship game Friday night against the winner of the semifinal between No. 11 Memphis and No. 16 UCLA.

The Blue Devils will most likely have to play without guard DeMarcus Nelson on Friday night. He injured his right ankle with 10:25 left in the first half.

"The initial prognosis is a hairline fracture," Krzyzewski said.

Nelson went to the hospital for X-rays.

Dominick Mejia, a junior who transferred from North Carolina State, scored a season-high 25 points, including 14 in the first half to lead Drexel.

"We came out with the attitude of no fear," Mejia said.

Bashir Mason added 15 for the Dragons.

Sheldon Williams had 12 of his 20 points for the Blue Devils in the second half, despite picking up his fourth foul with 15:37 left in the game.

The Dragons stayed with Duke in the first half, taking as big as a five-point lead, 16-11 at 11:46. Duke answered with a 7-0 run to take an 18-16 advantage. The lead changed 16 times after that, and Duke lead 41-40 at the break.

"It's easy to play your best basketball against the No. 1 team in the country," Flint said.

Redick had 17 points in the first half and moved into 13th place on the school's career scoring list, passing Dick Groat and Jeff Mullins.

"Redick saved us," Krzyzewski said. "He was trying to put the whole team on his back."

With the victory, Krzyzewski tied Temple's John Chaney for 14th place on the career victory list 725. The Blue Devils also improved to 17-2 in the tournament.

Drexel, from the Colonial Athletic Association, is off to its best start since 1997-98 it also went 3-0. The Dragons beat Princeton and Sam Houston State to get to New York and hoped to be the first unranked team to knockoff a No. 1 team since Xavier beat St. Joseph's on March 11, 2004, in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 tournament.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
DREX
DUKE
Points 68 78
FG Made-Attempted 27-66 (.409) 27-54 (.500)
3P Made-Attempted 6-21 (.286) 3-16 (.188)
FT Made-Attempted 8-14 (.571) 21-28 (.750)
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (0/0) 15 (0/0)
Largest Lead 5 10

2005-06 Season

DATEGAMELINKS
» Nov 23, 2005 @DUKE 78, DREX 68Recap