Duke Cruises Past St. John's In MSG

Before heading to New York to face St. John's, the Blue Devils concentrated on maintain the kind of intensity needed to not only build leads, but to sustain them. Head coach Mike Krzyzewksi had to be pleased as his team jumped out to a huge lead early before cruising to a 67-50 victory on Sunday afternoon.

Greg Paulus scored 11 of his game high 19 points in the first half as Duke took control early in their second trip to Madison Square Garden before holding off the Red Storm down the stretch for their 22nd victory of the season.

The Blue Devils, who saw a 21 point lead evaporate to five against Clemson on a Thursday night conference tilt, jumped out to a 12-0 lead early behind five early points from Josh McRoberts. After the Red Storm managed to stay with Duke point for point during a five minute stretch that made it 20-8 with just over 11 minutes remaining, the Blue Devils began to methodically pull further away with a 14-2 run over the final 11 minutes to lead 34-10.

For St. John's nothing was going right before the half. The Red Storm shot just 3-of-21 from the field (14%) while committing 11 turnovers and logging a season low 10 first half points. Duke, on the other hand, got the needed offense spark from Paulus and DeMarcus Nelson who combined to out-score St. John's 21-10 in the first 20 minutes.

Things got better for the home team after halftime, but only enough to prevent the final margin from being as one sided as the halftime score. The Red Storm pulled to within 12 at the three minute mark, but Duke's David McClure pulled down an offensive rebound and then converted a layup 25 seconds later to push the lead back to 14 and essentially kill the SJU momentum.

After the fast start Duke's offense went stagnant in the second half, shooting just 7-of-21 from the field. However, the Red Storm wasn't able to capitalize as some of the Blue Devils' conference foes have throughout the season, and Duke was never in any danger of relinquishing the lead.

Joining Paulus in double figures were Nelson who logged 14 points and seven rebounds, and Scheyer who added 11. McRoberts added 9 points, six rebounds, and six blocks.

With the win Duke improves to 22-7 on the season and will head into the final week of regular season play in which they will host Maryland before heading to Chapel Hill to wrap up the season with the second round of the nation's best rivalry against North Carolina.

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