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November 10, 2005When Duke walked off the Cameron Indoor Stadium floor at halftime of Thursday night's exhibition game against North Carolina Central, they were led into the locker room by an unhappy Mike Krzyzewski.
Whatever speech Coach K delivered at the intermission proved effective, as the Blue Devils exploded at the start of the second half and didn't look back on their way to a 102-42 victory over the Eagles, paced by 22 points from DeMarcus Nelson.
The first half was rather sloppy as Duke encountered a fired up Eagles squad and allowed NCCU to hang around. The Devils looked out of rhythm on offense and had some lapses on the defensive end of the court as well.
Perhaps most indicative of the first half struggles for Duke was NCCU's ability to pull down eight offensive rebounds, compared to only four for a Duke team that had a significant size advantage.
Leading 45-27 at halftime, Duke blasted off in the second half, sparked initially by a three point shot from Lee Melchionni 10 seconds into the half.
Nelson was extremely efficient on offense, scoring his 22 points on just nine shots from the field. J.J. Redick (15 points), Greg Paulus (10 points), and Shelden Williams (10 points) also hit double figures for the Devils in the rout.
Just like last Thursday's exhibition win over Concordia, Duke used its defense to make offense, as the Devils capitalized on 25 NCCU turnovers to put up 42 points.
Even more impressive for the Duke defense was holding the Eagles to just three assists, as Duke clamped down on passing lanes and forced NCCU to try to initiate all of its offense off of the dribble.
Some of Duke's aggressiveness put them in foul trouble, a fact that did not go unnoticed with Coach K, as the head coach expressed some frustration with Duke's inability to control team fouls.
The Devils have put the opponent in the double bonus in all four halves of exhibition play. Josh McRoberts and Eric Boateng each fought foul trouble against NCCU.
Boateng ended up fouling out while McRoberts finished with four fouls. Nelson picked up his third foul in the second half but was able to play the rest of the game without getting whistled for a fourth.
Duke was at full strength on the court, but a little shorthanded on the bench. Assistant coach Steve Wojciechowski missed the game due to a back injury suffered in a pickup game.
Duke tips off regular season play Monday night in the preseason NIT against Boston University at Cameron Indoor Stadium
Devils Illustrated will have more on Thursday's 102-42 victory.