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Men’s Baksetball News

Top-Seeded Duke Routs Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Associated Press

Duke’s confident mascot wore a piece of tape

across his forehead that read: “Played In, Blown Out.”

The Blue Devils didn’t disappoint. Avoiding the upset bug that has taken down

several favorites in the NCAA tournament, the top-seeded Atlantic Coast Conference champions opened play in the South Regional with a domi- nating 73-44 victory Friday night over No. 16 seed Arkansas-Pine Bluff. “That really didn’t cross our minds, that hap-

pening to us, the 1 vs. 16,” Duke senior Jon Schey-

er said.

Kyle Singler had 22 points and 10 rebounds

for Duke, which never trailed. Scheyer scored 13

and Lance Thomas 12. Nolan Smith added 10

points on a subpar shooting night (3 for 10) for the junior guard. The Blue Devils advanced to play Sunday

against No. 8 seed California, which beat ninth- seeded Louisville 77-62. “This was a springboard for us. We were limit-

ing them to one shot and rebounding well,” Thomas said. “If we continue doing that we’ll beat anybody in the tournament.” The victory gave coach Mike Krzyzewski

his 11th 30-win season in three decades at Duke, which has made 10 trips to the Final Four under him, though none since 2004. The Blue Devils (30-5) played like a team intent

on changing that, pressing their overmatched oppo- nents to start the game, building a 39-20 halftime lead and never giving Arkansas-Pine Bluff (18-16) a sense that the SWAC champions might have a chance to win. “It’s nice to have,” Krzyzewski said of another

30-win season, though he wasn’t sure how many the Blue Devils have under him. Told it’s 11, he replied: “That’s a lot of wins. ... The best thing is to have 31 and move on,” to the

round of 16, which is what a victory Sunday would do.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff, appearing in the NCAAs

for the first time, beat Winthrop 61-44 in the tourna- ment opener Tuesday and are led by coach George Ivory, who played on a heavy underdog that gave powerful Duke a scare in the opening round 24 years ago. But this group of Blue Devils has learned they can’t take anything for granted in March. Duke survived a first-round scare against Bel-

mont two years ago, and Krzyzewski and his players were determined to set the tone for what it hopes will be a strong run with a sharp performance. “I thought we handled both halfs really well,” Krzyzewski said. “It wasn’t a sloppy game.” Pine Bluff shot 32 percent and turned the ball

over 16 times. Tavaris Washington led the Golden Lions with nine points. They turned in a respect- able defensive performance, but struggled to score against Duke’s bigger, more physical frontcourt. “I think they got a little nervous,” said Ivory,

whose team had won 18 of 22 going into the game. “Sometimes you play not to lose and we were trying to not make mistakes.”

Top-Seeded Duke Rolls Into Sweet 16

Associated Press

Duke relied on an old, trusted ally to reach the round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament. Again. Defense has always been the foundation of

Mike Krzyzewski’s team, and the top-seeded Blue Devils sent their coach of three decades into a re- gional semifinal for the 19th time with a stellar per- formance in a 68-53 victory over California on Sun- day.

After winning both the Atlantic Coast Confer-

ence regular-season and tournament titles, they are playing the type of suffocating defense that could put Krzyzewski back in the Final Four for an 11th time.

The Blue Devils last reached the national semi-

finals in 2004, not that their coach feels as though they’ve let him down lately. “You know, I hate when somebody compares

those teams of the last couple years with our na- tional championship teams, and they say they un- derachieved,” Krzyzewski said. “Are you kidding me? They won 30, 29 games. But they were limited teams, and they couldn’t play the defense that this team can play because we have big guys.” Exploiting a huge advantage in size and depth

in the frontcourt, the Blue Devils opened a double- digit lead in the first half and Cal never seriously threatened to get back into the game. Brian Zoubek, Duke’s 7-foot-1 center, had 14

points and 13 rebounds while teaming with Lance

Thomas and reserves Miles and Mason Plumlee

to dominate a short-handed Cal frontline featuring 6-foot-8 Duke transfer Jamal Boykin — and little else.

Nolan Smith led the Blue Devils (31-5) with

20 points and spearheaded Duke’s trademark man- to-man defense that made it difficult for Cal’s high- scoring trio of Jerome Randle, Patrick Christopher and Theo Robertson to get uncontested shots.

8

Hounded by relentless “D,” Randle — the Pac-10 player of the year — was limited to 12 points on 5-for-12 shooting. “From the get-go, I really wanted to make it

clear that I was going to be in his jersey the whole game. That was the game plan,” Smith said. “I just stuck with him with the help of my big guys. They really helped me out, and I owe it all to them. They made my job easy fighting over screens and giving them no open looks.” Kyle Singler scored 17 for Duke, which ad-

vanced to the South Regional semifinals in Hous- ton, where the Blue Devils will face fourth-seeded Purdue on Friday. Zoubek’s 6-for-6 shooting more than made up for leading scorer Jon Scheyer going 1 of 11 and finishing with seven points. With starting forward Omondi Amoke suspend-

ed for an unspecified team violation, Cal (24-11) once again went with a three-guard lineup that over- whelmed Louisville in the opening round because of exceptional 3-point shooting. Krzyzewski said he couldn’t remember the Blue

Devils facing a team with so many players capable of stretching a defense. But Cal’s lack of size and depth under the basket hurt the Golden Bears all day.

“They got us back on our heels early. There re-

ally was no turning point, it was a steady diet,” Rob- ertson said. “They executed so well and did a great job communicating.” Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16
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