Friday, January 28, 2011

Smith shines for Duke

DURHAM - If you look at Duke senior guard Nolan Smith's numbers from Thursday night, you'd never guess he was struggling with his jump shot.

Smith scored 28 points, handed out eight assists and committed just one turnover in No. 3-ranked Duke's 84-68 defeat of Boston College at Cameron Indoor Stadium. He leads the ACC in scoring and assists and was matched with the Eagles' Reggie Jackson, who ranks second in the conference in those two categories.

Their personal matchup wasn't even close. Jackson was held to seven points - 12 below his average - and six assists.

"I definitely took it personally, because he's been great all year in scoring and assists," Smith said. "I really just wanted to make it a personal thing to try to hold him down. But it was a team [effort]."

Smith shot 10-for-20 from the field, and all but two of his field goals came from within five feet of the basket. He attempted just three 3-pointers, making one.

"My jump shot wasn't falling early," he said. "I started to just penetrate and kick. When they were making it tough inside, it eventually started opening up the drives and more creativity with the ball at the finish."

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said Smith was "spectacular." Boston College coach Steve Donahue praised Smith's confidence.

"He is such a catalyst for them," Donahue said. "[He] makes others better, just has a great presence about him. [I] just admire the way he goes about his business and plays the game and makes everybody else better.”

If Smith's jump shot had been falling, he could have easily scored eight or 10 more points. That's a scary proposition for opponents as Duke continues to hold on to a spot atop the ACC standings.

Ken Tysiac


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