Sunday, March 8, 2009

Duke better equipped for March

CHAPEL HILL -- Duke spent so much of the first two months of the season trying to prove it could win without the 3-pointer, it has forgotten how to win with it.

And that's not a bad thing.

The Blue Devils stayed neck-and-neck with UNC in the first half because they hit five 3s (out of 11 attempts) but faded in the second half when the 3s stopped falling (3 of 10).

Kyle Singler, taking advantage of UNC's inability to guard him on the perimeter with a big man (either Tyler Hansbrough or Deon Thompson) hit four 3-pointers but like his teammates, was hot in the first half (3 of 5) but not in the second (1 of 5).

Telling of how far Duke has come this season, in terms of diversifying its offense, the Devils only lost by eight points. That wouldn't have happened last season when Duke was solely-dependent on the 3-ball.

Of course, with progress comes the growing pains. Duke beat UNC at the Smith Center last February when it was a just a 3-point shooting team. The Devils left Chapel Hill on Sunday on the wrong end of the scoreboard.

Still coach Mike Krzyzewski seemed encouraged by the effort. He knew they shot poorly in the second half but he also knows they played better than the last time they saw UNC, giving up 22 fewer points.

"We played well," Coach K said. "We didn't shoot well, but I thought we played well."

Actually, with just a little more production from Gerald Henderson, who was held to 14 points by Danny Green, Duke might have won on Sunday. Singler did his part with 23 points and Jon Scheyer was flawless with 24 points, five assists and zero turnovers.

Henderson, who has been carrying Duke for the better part of two months, finished 4-of-11 from the floor with 14 points and five turnovers.

"G can play better," Coach K said, quickly adding, "we're fine with G."

That's why the final score didn't crush K. He knows his team is better equipped for the posteason than the previous two editions, neither of which lasted through the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament.

"I'm good with where my team is at," Coach K said.

With Henderson, Singler, Scheyer and Elliot Williams all able to take the ball to the basket, Duke's March fortunes won't be at the whim of the shooting gods.

That's a trade K will take. -- J.P. Giglio


Anonymous said...

I love our guys. GO, DUKE!!!

Anonymous said...

i was actually happy with their performance. they executed well, they just didnt hit the shots in the second half that they did in the first half. plus if nolan smith had been able to go, who knows. so im still confident they can make a deep run in the NCAA.

Anonymous said...

Don't you just love it when you read comments like, "Actually, with just a little more production from Gerald Henderson, who was held to 14 points by Danny Green, Duke might have won on Sunday." . . . .

DUH!! Yeah, and with a little more production from Lawson and Hansbough, it would been a blowout!

Got to love the Duke spin on the article, but it was clear on Sunday who was the cream of the crop. GO UNC!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I agree with the heavy Duke spin in this article. But I suppose that spin is required when you don't get the win, and constantly find yourself in second place.

However I don't see them having the same "good fortune" come March. In fact I see an early exit. That team with three players who score! Come on. With that lack of scoring depth, this Duke team is NOT built for back to back tourney style games.

Gotta be KIDDING me.

Stick to the N&O said...

Thats just the kind of top notch reporting you get from Mr. "What if" Giglo. Hold on fellas, in a minute, he'll tell us why Harvard is better than UNC. Harvard beat Maryland, Maryland beat UNC. That's just how he writes.

Its not so much about a Duke bias. More of a bias towards incompetence.

kickazzz2000 said...

"Telling of how far Duke has come this season, in terms of diversifying its offense, the Devils only lost by eight points. "

OK, class, the key word of the day is:


Anonymous said...

...Hmm..Makes me wonder if J.P. Giglio is a pseudonym for Clark Kellogg.

Anonymous said...

Duke needs to start doing that floor-slappin' thing again. That always seemed to work before.

Go Heels.

Anonymous said...

It wasn't Green "holding" G as much as it was G missing a LOT of key free throws and open shots down the stretch. It's unfortunate that he didn't play up to his potential last night.

Anonymous said...

Henderson needs to come back next year and hone his game a little more before he goes in the lottery. It'll be nice to have all 5 starters returning next year.

Anonymous said...

286 = number of games won this decade by DUKE. More than any other team in any decade..Nice 10 year run.

Anonymous said...

Friggin Dukies
They just can't take it
They don't play with class, they
can't lose with class.
Of course, it's all just part of the bumping that's part of the game, right, Rat Face?

Anonymous said...

Duke's decade win record should be up to 300+ by the end of '09.

Coach K should have between 845-850 wins by that time. He'll easily pass the unholy Dean Smith the year after that, Bobby the following year.