Devils Dismiss Connecticut To Win NIT

Lance Thomas scores 11 points and grabs 11 rebounds to help Duke win a third consecutive NIT Season Tip-Off event in Madison Square Garden.

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski held a 29 game lead on Jim Calhoun on the all-time wins list. Make it 30 after the Blue Devils' head coach watched his team use a dominating defensive performance to win another NIT Season Tip-Off on Friday night.

Jon Scheyer scored a game high 19 points to go along with five rebounds and five assists to help Duke to a 68-59 victory over No. 13 Connecticut. The win snapped a four game losing streak to UConn and Calhoun that included the 2004 National Semifinal and the 1999 National Championship game.

In snapping one streak, Duke extended another winning it's 12th consecutive NIT contest and its third straight championship and fourth overall. It also improved the Blue Devils' overall record to 6-0 on the season and gave Coach K's team its first victory over a ranked opponent this season.

All of this despite a rough showing for All-American forward Kyle Singler who connected on just two of his 12 field goal attempts to finish with six points on the night - nearly 12 below his season average. The 6'8 Oregon native's shooting woes were a common theme for the Blue Devils who manufactured open looks, but couldn't knock them down for much of the evening. As a team Duke shot just 21-of-71 (29.6%) from the field and six of 18 (33%) from the perimeter.

With one of its stars struggling, Duke got a boost from an unexpected source in the form of Lance Thomas. Usually a role player on the offensive end, Thomas scored 11 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, and recorded three blocks in 29 minutes of action.

All told the Blue Devils put four players in double figures with freshman Andre Dawkins (11 points) and Nolan Smith (16 points) each finding ways to beat the Connecticut defense.

On the other side of the ball the Blue Devils worked hard on the defensive end and often frustrated the Huskies to the tune of 16 forced turnovers and just 36.1 percent shooting. The Blue Devils (6-0) dominated the Huskies (4-1) in every category in extending its winning streak in the tournament to 12 games with their third straight title (2000, 2005) and fourth overall (1985).

The win also snapped Connecticut's four-game winning streak in the series with the last two victories both coming in Final Fours -- the 1999 national championship game and the 2004 semifinals.

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