Duke Crushes Concordia, 123-66

Though it was a first step in what promises to be a long journey, top ranked Duke looked to be in mid season form in top form in Thursday night's first exhibition match. The Blue Devils forced 30 turnovers en route to a 123-66 romp over Concordia (Can) in front of a sold out Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Senior captain Shelden Williams scored 19 points, grabbed 16 rebounds, and blocked a team best five shots to lead Duke to the easy victory. The favorite for National Defensive Player of the Year honors, spurred a defensive effort that left the Stingers unable to execute on the offensive end of the floor after turning the ball over no fewer than 30 times on the night.

Fellow seniors J.J. Redick and Lee Melchionni added 21 points apiece while shooting a combined 8-of-16 from the perimeter. Redick also added a game high seven assists in 27 minutes – the most played by any Blue Devil on the night as head coach Mike Krzyzewski played 13 players, 10 of which played 10 minutes or more.

The much heralded freshman class was led by starting power forward Josh McRoberts who scored 11 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and handed out three assists in just 20 minutes of action. McRoberts also got in on the defensive side of the ball, adding a block and a steal to his first Duke appearance. Classmate Greg Paulus, the team's reserve point guard, added six points, two rebounds, and four assists while Martynas Pocius tallied four points and five rebounds.

Unlike last season, when Duke was manning the second post spot with an undersized guard, Krzyzewski showed off his freshman post reserves, giving Eric Boateng and Jamal Boykin 11 and 13 minutes respectively. The newcomers responded with Boateng collecting four points and six rebounds in 11 minutes of action and Boykin hitting for seven points, three rebounds, two blocks, and two steals in 13 minutes.

The undersized player who was forced to fill that role a season ago, sophomore DeMarcus Nelson, lined up at his natural wing position and gave a good account, with 15 points and four rebounds in just 20 minutes of action.

After taking a 2-0 advantage on the Blue Devils, the Stingers' list of positives was cut off as Duke raced out to a 30 point halftime lead guided by Williams' 18 point, 11 rebound first half. The Stingers were bothered by Duke's defensive pressure and size as Concordia turned the ball over 19 times.

The second half didn't start out much better as Duke pushed the lead to 89-45 immediately. The Blue Devils hit the 100 point mark midway through the half when Jamal Boykin hit a seven foot jumper. By that point the issue was how many Duke would score and if they could double up their opponents,

"I thought we functioned a lot better offensively in the second half because we were making passes, said Krzyzewski of his team's first public showcase. "I thought our effort was good. Our guys were ready, they played hard the whole game and we got over some of the nervousness of being young."

Duke will play its second and final exhibition contest on Thursday, November 10 versus North Carolina Central University at 7 p.m. The Blue Devils open the year in the Preseason NIT with a first round home game against Boston University on Monday, November 14.


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