Duke Rolls Over NCCU, 102-42

Usually when a team dismantles an opponent the way Duke did North Carolina Central, the head coach is all smiles after the game. Not so for the Blue Devils, who overcame several mental errors in the opening half that drew a harsh halftime speech from Mike Krzyzewski, which yielded a much better second half performance as Duke routed the Eagles 102-42.

Second year wing DeMarcus Nelson led the way with 22 points on 7-of-9 shooting while senior Shelden Williams added 10 points, 15 rebounds, and four blocks as Duke closed out its exhibition season with an average margin of victory approaching 59 points per game.

Still, Williams' involvement in the offense was lacking in the opening half according to Krzyzewski.

"Offensively, I didn't think we had a purpose in the first half," said the Duke head coach. "A purpose should be to establish Shelden and J.J. and play off of them. We just didn't do that. In the second half, we played really good defense. If we play good defense then we are going to have a chance."

It didn't matter as the Eagles were overwhelmed from the start as the enormous talent gap took over soon after the opening tip.

Central took an early 4-2 lead before the Blue Devils exploded for a 23-4 run that pushed the score to 25-8 at the half way point of the opening period. The Eagles would battle the rest of the way, playing Duke even to trail 45-27 at the half much to the dismay of Coach K.

"I think our guys came in thinking they were going to play defense, run and create easy shots. This is the second game in a row that we ended the first half poorly."

After what was described as a spirited halftime, Duke emerged from the locker room on the defensive mission. The Eagles were helpless as Duke held Central to just 25% shooting while torching the nets at a 63% rate after intermission. The result was a 57-15 second half that pushed the margin to 60.

In all the Blue Devils showcased the depth which was so lacking a season ago as 10 players logged double figure minutes, while no one logged more time than senior Sean Dockery's 23 minutes. During that time Dockery scored nine points while handing out 10 assists. Understudy Greg Paulus added 10 points and five assists in 20 minutes.

Senior J.J. Redick chipped in with 15 points while Lee Melchionni tallied 12. Freshman phenom Josh McRoberts added seven points, nine rebounds, and two steals in just 14 minutes while classmate Marty Pocius added eight points and four rebounds. All the new Blue Devils earned praise from their teammates.

"I think Josh [McRoberts] is just a freak of nature athlete," said Melchionni. "He's a great passer. Once he gets to know the game and the little nuances that the coaches teach him, then the sky's the limit. "Greg Paulus has tremendous vision as a point guard, and it's something that's great for this team and Sean [Dockery]. I think those two guys specifically are going to help us a lot."

Duke opens the regular season on Monday night against Boston University in the opening round of the Preseason NIT. Tip-off at Cameron Indoor Stadium is set for 7:30 p.m., and the game will be televised live by espn2.

The Devils Den Top Stories