Entering the game as the nation's premier rebounding side - beating its previous 13 opponents by an average of 12.4 rebounds per game - and one of the best perimeter shooting teams in the conference and country, the Cavaliers seemed to present a number of problems for the Blue Devils - especially after the previous three games against Pittsburgh, Cornell, and Temple.
However, the Blue Devil defense limited the Cavaliers to just 4-of-14 from three point territory and won the battle of the boards 35-34.
"We knew that they were a 3-point shooting team, especially in transition," Nelson said. "We felt they were going to take a lot of 3s, so our job was just to rebound those long misses when they did occur, and then push it, because we knew that their defensive balance was going to be bad (by) taking perimeter shots."
After being unable to pull away through much of the first half, the Blue Devils finally pushed the lead to double-figures, and kept it there after Taylor King knocked down a three from the left side. Duke would never be seriously challenged the rest of the way, and would see the margin grow to 20 for the first time with just over seven minutes to go after Greg Paulus set up Kyle Singler for a dunk.
The Blue Devils will return to action on Wednesday when they travel to Tallahassee to take on Florida State.