Devils Grind Their Way Into Elite 8

A strong second half performance propels Duke past a very tough Purdue squad. Kyle Singler led the way with 24 points and eight rebounds as the Blue Devils delivered a 70-57 victory.

Unlike previous teams in Durham, this year's Blue Devils are versatile enough to overcome cold shooting performances in March.

Ever since the 2004 season the Blue Devils' annual March demise had similar story lines. A tough opponent that frustrated the Duke jump-shooters and eventually built a large enough lead pull away. Against Purdue, however, things changed.

Despite an incredibly tough start to the game that saw the turnover margin double the number of made field goals at the under four television timeout, Duke was able to take a 24-23 halftime lead thanks a dominant performance on the glass which produced a +21 rebounding margin and limited the Boilers to mostly one and done offensive possessions, while keeping Duke on the offensive end of the floor.

By keeping the game close, albeit ugly, the Duke front court was able to buy time until senior Jon Scheyer was able to break out of his recent shooting slump just in time.

After hitting just 5-of-18 shots from the field against Arkansas Pine-Bluff and California, Scheyer seemed to be sliding down the same path by missing his first six shots from the field. However, he found the range after halftime, hitting 5-of-9 from the field and went 7-of-8 from the charity stripe to finish with 18 points.

He was joined by the other two members of Duke's "big three" as the only Blue Devils in double figures. Singler added 24 points, while Nolan Smith added 15 points, five rebounds, and four assists. Meanwhile, Brian Zoubek added just four points, but owned the glass on both ends - finishing with 14 rebounds for Duke which moves on to fact third seeded Baylor.

After Purdue's JaJuan Johnson cut the lead to 42-40 with 9:36 remaining, Nolan Smith hit three straight jumpers including a three pointer from the right wing to extend the lead to 49-40 with just over eight minutes remaining.

On the next possession E'Twaun Moore would cut the lead to six, but Miles Plumlee got free off a feed from Lance Thomas and jammed the ball home for an eight point advantage. Purdue would get no closer the rest of the way.

Johnson finished with 23 points for Purdue while Moore added 18.

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