Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Duke needs Nelson's shot vs. Pitt

Guard DeMarcus Nelson picked a good time to get hot from the perimeter.

Sixth-ranked Duke (10-0) faces one of its biggest challenges of the season Thursday when it plays 11th-ranked Pittsburgh, which is undefeated in 10 games. Nelson, Duke’s senior captain, has been the team’s most consistent player according to coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Nelson’s strength makes him nearly impossible to stop as he jackknifes from left to right across the lane and uses the rim to protect the ball on bank shots. He is most dangerous as a driver when opponents have to respect his 3-point shooting ability – and they didn’t early in the season.

He missed 12 of his first 16 three-point attempts over the first seven games. But in the last three games, Nelson is 8-for-11 from 3-point range. He was 4-for-5 against Albany on Monday, when his 23-point performance included a four-point play.

Nelson said he was taking shots with confidence. Duke will need him to do that again Thursday against Pitt at Madison Square Garden.

– Ken Tysiac