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November 25, 2006Duke returned to the court for the first time since losing in the CBE Classic championship game to blow out Davidson 75-47 Saturday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
The Blue Devils returned to the formula that was successful in the season's first four games by using balanced scoring and suffocating defense to key the win.
Davidson came into the game boasting some of the best offensive numbers in college basketball, but the Wildcats couldn't muster any consistent success against Duke's defense.
Davidson shot a frigid 23.1 percent in the first half and remained below 30 percent for the entire game, which was the stat that most pleased Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.
"I thought we, obviously, played well defensively," Coach K said. "They're averaging 90 points a game and they put pressure on you when they push that ball up the court. Taking away their three-point shooting was huge. They're a dangerous team with a great coach, great tradition. We have to play very, very hard to stop them, and I thought our kids did."
Offensively, Duke put four players in double figures, paced by Josh McRoberts and Jon Scheyer, who each scored 14 points in the win.
Freshmen Brian Zoubek and Gerald Henderson also reached double digits as the Blue Devils turned a competitive game into a blowout late in the first half.
Leading just 25-18 with less than four minutes remaining in the first half, Duke closed the half on a 9-0 run, culminated by a McRoberts slam that made the halftime score 34-18 in favor of the Blue Devils.
Davidson made little headway in the second half, never getting the lead below 12 points and falling behind by as many as 30.
McRoberts was one rebound away from recording a double-double while sophomore David McClure continued his stellar defensive play with four steals.
Davidson entered the game with an offense averaging more than 80 points per game, but offensive catalyst Jason Richards was limited to 17 points on 17 field goal attempts, and no other Wildcat reached double figures on the evening.
Davidson's usually explosive three point shooting also went dry, as Duke allowed just 3-of-19 shooting from behind the arc.
Other than the game itself, the biggest side storyline was point guard Greg Paulus not starting the game for Duke.
Paulus played poorly against Marquette Tuesday night in Duke's loss, but played what Krzyzewski called his best game of the year so far off the bench, and Coach K added that whether Paulus starts or not shouldn't be a big issue.
"It's not so much starting for any of these guys; it's the amount of minutes. I played him extended minutes in the second half until he asked to be taken out. And what I'm trying to do is break his limit. That's what I have to do with him. Whether he starts or doesn't start, he needs to get more minutes. He had 22 or 23, but he's got to play 28 minutes or so. How he does that doesn't make any difference, as long as he's doing it."
The win improved the Blue Devils to 5-1 on the season.