The End Of The Road

Once again it came down to Duke being unable to convert from the field against a very upstart opponent in the regional semifinals. Once again J.J. Redick had a rough shooting night. The end result was a season ending loss for the Blue Devils, 62-54 to LSU.

This time the ending was more of a déjà vu than an unexpected blow. Like the previous three seasons Duke simply couldn't convert from the field when they needed a big basket. Most notably was the performance of J.J. Redick, who shot just 3-of-18 from the field and finished with a season low 11 points.

The tough shooting night in a Duke season ending loss is nothing new for the Blue Devil star either. Over the last four seasons he's combined to shoot just 24-of-90 from the field (27%) and 16-of-55 (29%) from the perimeter in Sweet 16 games and beyond.

On Thursday night it ultimately drove the nail into the Blue Devil coffin.

Without Redick's scoring touch on point, Duke never could find another reliable scoring option outside Shelden Williams, who logged 23, 13 rebounds, and four blocks in his final showing for Duke.

After racing to a 10-6 lead, the Duke offense stalled while the Tigers found their range while reeling off a 17-4 run to take command of the game midway through the first half. The Blue Devils would battle back with a 13-4 run to cut the lead to a single basket before LSU would get an easy finish inside to make it a four point game at the half.

After a rough opening half, the Blue Devils looked to regain their swagger early in the second period, using an 11-0 run keyed by the play of DeMarcus Nelson, Williams, and Josh McRoberts to take a five point lead.

It seemed to put LSU on the ropes and the capacity crowd was begging for a patented Duke spurt. However poor execution and continued poor shooting haulted any hint of such a run, allowing the Tigers the chance to claw back and knot the game at 52.

After an LSU basket, Redick finally broke through and connected on a three pointer to give Duke the final lead of his career at 55-54. The Tigers would close out the game with superior hustle and a 7-0 run to erasae all doubt.

The Blue Devils seemed to know the season was over as the Tigers went just 3-of-6 from the free throw line but earned all three offensive rebound, including one with four white jerseys and only one Tiger, the free throw shooter, in the paint.

Duke finishes the season with a 32-4 overall record, including the regular season and tournament titles in the ACC. Redick finishes his career as the ACC's all-time leading scorer and three point shooter (number made).

Williams ends his career as Duke's all-time leader in shots blocked and rebounds. "The Landlord" averaged a staggering 23.0 points, 15 rebounds, and 5.0 blocks per game in Duke's three tournament wins.

Other seniors making their Blue Devil swan song were Sean Dockery, Patrick Davidson, Lee Melchonni, and Ross Perkins.


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