Duke was able to push their record in Maui to 12-0, as they captured the EA Sports Maui Invitational title for a fourth time by beating Marquette 77-73 Wednesday night.
Why the success?
"I like to think of this place as a mini Cameron [Indoor Stadium]," Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski said jokingly.
Duke freshman forward Kyle Singler got the best of the Golden Eagles, scoring a game high 25 points on 7-11 shooting, including 3-5 from 3-point range, and a perfect 8-8 from the free throw line. Singler was awarded tournament MVP for his performance.
"I'm very honored [to win MVP]," Singler said. "But the main goal coming in was to win a championship, and that's what we accomplished. Individually I just wanted to play hard and play to win, and as a result, I just happened to win MVP."
Senior guard DeMarcus Nelson also had his way with MU, scoring 16 points on 6-11 shooting, completely shredding MU's inside game. Nelson also added seven rebounds and four assists.
"Our Captain, DeMarcus Nelson, really led us these three games," Krzyzewski said. "I think I would have voted for a co-MVP."
The Golden Eagles kept themselves close the entire game, going 26-57 (45.6%) from the field and 7-15 (46.7%) from 3-point land. The score was tied a total of 10 times on the night with eight lead changes.
Marquette also played well on defense, forcing 14 Duke turnovers, including three in the final four minutes of the game.
However, late in the game it came down to Marquette's missed opportunities. MU scored only 11 points off 14 Duke turnovers, missed seven lay-ups and shot a dismal 6-11 (54.5%) from the line, all in the second half.
The Blue Devils were also able to get to the foul line more often than Marquette, attempting 27 free-throws to MU's 20.
"There are things that can be learned from this," Marquette Head Coach Tom Crean said. "We are going to come out of here having a much broader and much greater perspective on what kind of team we could have."
The Golden Eagles were again able to feature multiple players in double-digit scoring. Sophomore forward Lazar Hayward led the way, adding 14 points on 5-7 shooting. Junior guards Dominic James, Wesley Matthews, and Jerel McNeal scored 12, 12, and 11 respectfully.
However, it was a rough night for James who shot 4-16 from the field, and only scored one point in the second half after scoring 11 in the first.
"In the first half, I kind of had it going," James said. "But it was nothing defensively that they did. A lot of them were lay-ups, and those are shots I usually make, but unfortunately I didn't make them in the second half."
On the bright side for Marquette, junior guards Dominic James and Jerel McNeal were named to the EA Sports Maui Invitational All-Tournament team after the game. They join tournament MVP Kyle Singler and DeMarcus Nelson of Duke, and Illinois' Calvin Brock in honors.
The loss pushes the Golden Eagles to 4-1 on the 2007-2008 campaign. Marquette will head back to Milwaukee on Thursday night for a short Thanksgiving break and will return to action Friday, November 30 when they take on cross-town rivals UW-Milwaukee at the Bradley Center.