The trendy description of Duke so far this year has been the defense is good, but it's also way ahead of the offense. That's been very true though the Devils have been improving on the offensive end over the past few weeks. On Saturday the offense did start slowly, but when it finally came around it had a much different flavor than many Duke fans have been used to as Shelden Williams' big performance led the Blue Devils to ccontinually look inside before going to the perimeter.
Williams routinely demanded the ball in the paint against the Hoyas, and when it came he didn't think twice before aggressively going to the basket. With Williams working inside, the perimeter game freed up just a bit more which allows open looks for Redick, Ewing, and surpringly Chris Duhon – who knocked down 3-of-5 long attempts.
Duhon also continues to run this team very well, and his newly remembered ability to get to the basket forces defenders to be honest. If he can continue to knock down the perimeter jumper he'll see his draft status shoot up come June.
The emergance of Williams will be key going forward as it makes the Duke offense almost impossible to guard night in and night out as they can hurt you in many ways. That was certainly the case Saturday as the Devils converted a blistering 61% of their first half field goal attempts before cooling to finish the game at 56.5%.
With a better offensive game, the defense was still very good once Duke was able to awake from an early game slump in which it looked like Georgetown may be able to hang around with the Blue Devils.
On the afternoon Duke forced 19 turnovers including 13 steals while blocking nine shots including five by Williams.
Finally it was good to see Duke take the best shot Georgetown could muster early on and then adjust to take control of the game to the tune of a 27-5 run that put the game away by intermission. Another positive was seeing Lee Melchionni and Nick Horvath logging decent minutes as Duke searches for a few extra bodies.
What Went Wrong:
During those first 12 and a half minutes the Blue Devils seemed to be flustered on the offensive end. Duke rushed shots including a few instances where the ball was forced for a poor percentage shot attempt.
When Georgetown was able to jump to the early lead they were also out-rebounding Duke and had forced more turnovers. However a quick timeout by Coach K and the improved efforts on the defensive side of the ball quickly paid off against the over matched Hoyas.
Player of the Game:
Hard to argue against Shelden Williams who managed to post a career high and was basically unstoppable in the paint with 26 points to go along with four rebounds, and five blocks. For that he earns this afternoon's honors.
After a long road trip the Devils return home to Cameron Indoor Stadium to face the Florida State Seminoles on Thursday. A Duke win is critical with trips to Georgia Tech and North Carolina looming. After last week you can bet the ‘Noles earned the attention of the entire conference thanks to a 24 point rally against North Carolina.
Florida State will probably be the most athletically gifted squad Duke will have faced this season. Not the best basketball team, but the best collection of athletes. Duke will have to execute in the halfcourt and make sure the defensive effort continues to be as good as it has been over the past few weeks. Look for Williams to be a focal point.