Duke Opens With Easy Win

    
November 11th, 2008

DURHAM, N.C. -- Kyle Singler scored 12 of his 19 points during the decisive first half, and Duke (No. 5 ESPN/USA Today, No. 8 AP) opened its season by routing Presbyterian 80-49 on Monday night in the first round of the 2K Sports Classic.

Singler added 10 rebounds and Nolan Smith scored 15 points for the Blue Devils (1-0), who used two dominating spurts to overwhelm the cold-shooting Blue Hose, win their 60th straight nonconference game at Cameron Indoor Stadium and improve to 27-2 in home openers under coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Lance Thomas and Jon Scheyer added 12 points apiece for Duke, which faces Georgia Southern, which beat Houstron 65-63, on Tuesday night with a semifinal berth at Madison Square Garden on the line.

After rolling to two exhibition victories against Division II schools by an average of 58.5 points, the Blue Devils were met with only slightly more resistance from a Presbyterian program entering its second season in Division I.

Duke -- which hasn't lost the first game at its notoriously noisy arena since 1982, and won its ninth straight season opener overall -- denied the Blue Hose (0-1) their first road victory in 24 tries at this level.

Duke controlled both ends of the court, holding the Blue Hose to 1-of-11 shooting during one early stretch before reeling off 19 straight points -- coming away with points on seven straight trips downcourt -- to take a 20-point lead. At one point late in the half, the Blue Hose had more than twice as many turnovers (11) as field goals (five).

It was precisely the kind of performance expected of a Blue Devils team that returns nine of the top 11 scorers from an offense that ranked fourth nationally last season by averaging 83.2 points.

Duke took the lead for good during the defense-dominated 13-2 run during which the Blue Devils allowed one basket during a 7½-minute stretch, a spurt capped by Greg Paulus' 3-pointer from the left wing that made it 13-4 with 12½ minutes before halftime.

Then, they gave themselves plenty of breathing room with the Smith- and Scheyer-keyed 19-0 run, a burst capped by Gerald Henderson's free throw with 3:51 left that made it 36-11. By that point, Scheyer had 12 points by himself, prompting those clever Cameron Crazies to chant, "Scheyer's winning."

Al'Lonzo Coleman finished with 13 points to lead Presbyterian, and his layup 17 seconds in gave the Blue Hose their only lead. Freshman Bo King also had 13 points on 3-of-15 shooting.