BDN’s NIT Locker Room Report – Jon Scheyer Interview from New York

Jon Scheyer - BDN Photo
Jon Scheyer - BDN Photo

The Blue Devil Nation’s coverage of Duke in New York continues as Andre Slater talks wth Duke’s Jon Scheyer -

What was the game plan going into this game?

Well, the big thing about them is they have a lot of guys that can really shoot the ball. So, for us going into this game, we really wanted to take away their threes. You know, the last game they had eighteen threes. So that was the big thing. They basically changed up their offense, going exclusively ball screens. For us, we were basically trying to take their perimeter from them and I think we did a good job with that.

It seems like in the first half, you guys were having some problems getting the ball inside against the zone. In the second half, it seemed like you were able to penetrate into the zone a couple of times. What changed?

Um, I think we were a little bit more poised and we tried to take our time running the offense in the second half.

What were they doing in the first half that was destructing the offense?

Um, I think that they were physical. They did a good job pushing us out a little bit. That set us back at first, but, once we started to get the ball in the scoring area and driving the ball better, then that’s when we started scoring more.

Your turnover streak ended. Care to comment?

(laughs) Yeah, everybody jinxed me after the last game. (laughs)

How do you account for your lack of turnovers this year?

You know, I’m just trying to take care of the ball and make good decisions. That’s something. I know our offense and I know the guys. I just want to put my team in a good position. I’ve been doing that and trying not to make too many risky passes.

Did you anticipate the challenges in this game? I know it’s pretty early into the season. Do you feel like you guys responded well to the challenges that came tonight?

I think we did. Obviously, Arizona State is a good team and, you know, people dismiss them a little bit, but we knew they were going to be a good team. For us, I thought we did a really good job of just taking their punches and then punching back. We made some big stops in the second half. After the first few minutes, I thought our defense was really good the rest of the way. So that was something I was proud of our team in doing that.

You’re now facing the University of Connecticut, as a matchup of two titans. Are you looking forward to that kind of matchup?

I love playing in big games and obviously they’ll have a lot of fans here and we will too. They’re obviously a great team, so for me, being able to play in Madison Square Garden in the championship game against UConn is something that any player would be excited for, but especially myself, I just love playing in big games. That’s something I’m excited for.

As a senior, do you find yourself savoring and appreciating each game and trip more than you had when you were younger?

Well, I’ve always loved big games no matter what age I am, but, obviously, I cherish them a little bit more because I know there’s not many of them left. I’ll definitely enjoy this one.

As a history major, is your legacy at Duke something that is very important to you?

Oh, yeah, I mean, of course. I just want to be known as a competitor and I want to be known as a winner and this year obviously we have a lot to do, but I want to go out winning and just be known for being a competitor. That’s what I’d like to be known for.

After your playing career is over, whenever that is, do you have any interest in getting into coaching?

Yeah, I just always see my life with basketball in it. I mean, with coaching, I feel like I have a great mind for the game and that’s something that hopefully one day whether it’s in high school or college or whatever it might be, but at some point, I’d like to.

Do you speak regularly to your ex-roommate, Mr. Henderson? How is he doing so far?

Yeah, I actually talked to him today. He’s doing well. He’s going to have a great pro career and I’m always keeping up with him and he’s always keeping up with me. We just keep in touch, talk about things, and he’s one of my great friends.

You’ve been a captain of the team for the last two years. How do you compare the two teams?

Yeah, they’re a little bit different. The thing with this team, we have a great age range. We have seniors, juniors, sophomores, and freshmen and so you need to know how to talk to the guys and know them and now I have one year under my belt and so I feel I’m that much better a captain for it.

Lastly, this one’s way out there. My sister’s a big Ferris Bueller fan. Were there a lot of Ferris Bueller fans that would show up at your high school to see where part of the movie was shot or take pictures?

(laughs) Yeah, not too many anymore, it’s been a few years, but I always point it out to people when it’s on TV that that’s my high school (laughs)

Don’t listen to him. He’s always talking about that.

NIT Final, Duke vs UConn Official Game Notes

nsGame 6 * NIT Season Tip-Off Final

[7 AP/7 Coaches] Duke (5-0) vs. [13 AP/13 Coaches] Connecticut (4-0)

Friday, Nov. 27, 2009 * 5:00 p.m. * ESPN

Madison Square Garden (19,763) * New York, N.Y.

The Opening Tip

Duke (5-0), ranked seventh in the AP poll and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ Poll, faces 13th-ranked Connecticut (4-0) on Friday, Nov. 27 at 5:00 p.m in the final of the NIT Season Tip-Off. Friday’s contest will be aired by ESPN with Dan Shulman, Dick Vitale and Doris Burke calling the action.

The Last Time Out

Duke is coming off a 64-53 win over Arizona State on Wednesday in the semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off.

Senior Jon Scheyer led the way with 16 points, four rebounds and six assists, while Nolan Smith scored 14 points. Junior Kyle Singler added 13 points, eight rebounds and five assists in the win. Freshman Andre Dawkins contributed eight points, including a pair of three-point field goals.

The Blue Devils held Arizona State to 39.1 percent (18-of-46) from the field, including 28.6 percent (6-of-21) in the second half. Duke has now held the opposition below 40 percent shooting in four straight games.

NIT Season Tip-Off History

Duke is 21-2 all-time in the NIT Season Tip-Off, including an 9-2 mark at Madison Square Garden. The Blue Devils have won 11 straight games in the tournament. Duke won the first NIT Season Tip-Off championship in 1985 and also claimed tournament titles in 2000 and 2005.

Numbers Game

l Mike Krzyzewski (837) and Jim Calhoun (809) have combined for 1,646 career wins. Friday’s contest marks the first meeting between 800+ win coaches.

l Duke is 26-2 in in-season tournaments over the past nine seasons. The Blue Devils have won 10 straight in-season tournament games.

l Duke is 24-14 all-time, including a 19-6

mark under Mike Krzyzewski, at Madison Square Garden. The Blue Devils have won four straight and 11 of their last 12 games at MSG.

l The Blue Devils are 101-10 in the month of November under Coach K. Duke has won 21 straight games in the month, dating back to a Nov. 21, 2006 loss to Marquette.

l The Blue Devils have won six of their last nine games and are 104-44 all-time against current Big East teams.

l Kyle Singler has scored in double figures in 20 straight games and in 64 of 76 career contests.

l Sophomore Miles Plumlee is averaging 10.2 points and 8.6 rebounds per game after recording 1.8 points and 1.4 rebounds per game a year ago. He has four double figure scoring games and two double-doubles on the year.

l Jon Scheyer has 27 assists and just two turnovers in 171 minutes of action on the year. The Northbrook, Ill., native has led the Blue Devils in assists in all five games and leads the ACC in assist-to-turnover ratio at 13.5:1.

l Junior Nolan Smith has reached double figures in scoring in three straight games. He is averaging a team-high 19.3 points per game, a scoring jump of +10.9 ppg. from a year ago.

l Andre Dawkins has a team-best 14 three-point field goals on the year. He is shooting 48.3 percent (14-of-29) from three-point range and has made two or more threes in four of five games. Dawkins ranks third in the ACC in three-point percentage.

l Senior Brian Zoubek ranks third in the ACC in offensive rebounds at 4.4 orpg. He also ranks 12th in the conference at 8.0 rebounds per game, despite playing just 15.0 minutes per contest.

l Duke has held its last four opponents under 40 percent shooting from the field. The Blue Devils are 296-9 under Mike Krzyzewski when holding opponents under 40 percent shooting.

l The Blue Devils limited Arizona State to 53 points on Wednesday and have now held three of their five opponents under 60 points scored.

l Duke leads the ACC in free throw percentage .722 (80-of-103) and ranks second in three-point percentage .422 (47-of-112).

l Jon Scheyer, Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith each played the entire 40 minutes in Wednesday’s win over Arizona State. The trio combined for 43 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists in the game

Duke trips Arizona State 64-53 to advance to NIT Championship game

Duke Photo
Duke Photo

NEW YORK – Duke just didn’t look itself in a building where the Blue Devils have been so impressive so often.

The seventh-ranked Blue Devils were tied with Arizona State with 13 minutes left in the second semifinal of the NIT Season Tip-Off on Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.

But then Kyle Singler, who uncharacteristically missed eight of his first nine shots, made his second straight to give Duke the lead for good and the Blue Devils turned up the defensive intensity in a 19-3 run that led to a 64-53 victory over the Sun Devils.

“I could have played more aggressively and that’s what I do,” said Singler, who finished 5 of 16 from the field and had 13 points. “Being aggressive is what I do and that gets easy baskets.”

Jon Scheyer had 16 points and six assists, and he was the one who found Singler for the two field goals that tied the game and put the Blue Devils ahead for good.

“I don’t think looking for him any more than usual and I’m always looking for him when he’s open,” Scheyer said. “Crunch time is always Kyle’s time and those were two big shots for us.”

Nolan Smith had 14 points for Duke (5-0), which led by only four at halftime.

The Sun Devils (4-1), who managed to stay close behind their patient offense and pesky zone defense, tied it at 43 on two free throws by Derek Glasser with 13:11 to play only to see Duke break it open with the deciding run.

“I thought defensively after the first 5 minutes was the key to the ballgame,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “And Singler, who was not having a good shooting night, after that timeout in the second half he came out and hit those two buckets right away. It’s nice if you’re 9 for 12 but when you’re whatever he was, when the score is tied, that’s very good.”

The Blue Devils will face No. 13 Connecticut in the championship game Friday. The Huskies beat LSU 81-55 in the other semifinal.

“A championship here would mean a lot because this is like a Final Four or a Sweet 16 because you play two games in three days against two good teams,” Scheyer said. “We’ll be ready and so will they.”

Singler’s second straight field goal gave Duke the lead for good at 45-43. After Scheyer scored in the lane, Singler hit his only 3-pointer to make it 50-43. Rihards Kuksiks’ three-point play slowed the run some but the Blue Devils were back at it behind some suddenly effective defense that allowed Arizona State just that one field goal over a 10-minute span.

“I thought their defensive effort, especially in the second half, was terrific,” Arizona State coach Herb Sendek said. “Nothing came easy for us. Everything was challenged.”

Trent Lockett, limited to 30 minutes by foul trouble, and Glasser both had 13 points for the Sun Devils.

“I think we executed early and we played with a lot of energy,” Glasser said. “We just couldn’t make that shot we needed down the stretch.”

The victory allowed Duke to extend some impressive streaks. This was its 11th straight win in this tournament as the Blue Devils swept to the title in 2000 and 2005. They also won the inaugural tournament in 1985.

This was Duke’s fourth straight win at Madison Square Garden and the 11th in its last 12 games in the building. It also was the Blue Devils’ 21st straight win in November, a streak that dates to a 2006 loss to Marquette.

Scheyer hit a 3 as he was falling in front of the Arizona State bench to give the Blue Devils a 34-30 lead with 4.8 seconds left in the first half.

Scheyer committed his first turnover of the season 8:02 into the game. The senior guard entered with 21 assists and no turnovers in 131 minutes over the first four games.

His first turnover of the season came when he stepped on the sideline as the Blue Devils were setting up a play, but it didn’t lead to any points for the Sun Devils. He finished with two turnovers in the game.

Scheyer had a big smile on his face when the first turnover was brought up.

“Everybody looked at me when it happened,” he said. “I just wish it could have happened on a cool pass, not stepping on the line. It’s something that just happened but I’m blaming everybody on the team because they started talking about the streak after last game.”

NIT Season Tip-Off Preview: UConn Huskies

DukeThe UConn Huskies (4-0) are a tough matchup for Duke (5-0). Defending against talented backcourt mates Jerome Dyson (6’3” 180) and Kemba Walker (6’1” 172) will be a huge challenge for Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith. Both Dyson and Walker were named to the All Big East Preseason Team. The Huskies are also big across the frontline with Stanley Robinson (6’9” 220), Gavin Edwards (6’9” 230), and Alex Oriakhi (6’9” 240). UConn brings speed and strength onto the court.

Depth could be an issue for the Huskies as their top five players are clocking 170 minutes of action per game. Comparatively, Duke’s top five are on the court for 147 minutes. In their 76 – 67 second round win over Hofstra, the Huskies bench contributed only four points, while Duke’s bench scored 24 points in Duke’s 101 – 59 win over the University of Charlotte.

Dyson, a senior, is averaging 20 points, 3 rebounds, and 6 assists in 36.7 minutes per game so far this season. He missed the end of last season after tearing the meniscus ligament in his right knee on February 13th against Syracuse. Dyson had started all 24 games for UConn prior to the injury.

Robinson averaged 8 points and 5.6 rebounds in 23 minutes per game over his first three seasons at Connecticut. As a senior, he is playing 36.3 mpg and averaging 16.7 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. With the departure of A.J. Price, Jeff Adrien, and Hasheem Thabeet, Robinson will be expected to step into a leadership role for the Huskies.

Edwards, the third senior starter, is averaging 10 points and 4 rebounds in 29.7 minutes per game so far this season. He has made 19 of 23 field goal attempts this season and scored 15 points in the win over LSU.

Walker, a sophomore, is averaging 14.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 4 assists in 33.7 minutes per game. In the win over LSU, Walker dished out 5 assists in addition to scoring 20 points.

Oriakhi, starting as a freshman, is averaging 6.7 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 2 blocks in 33.3 minutes per game. UConn is known for physical inside players and this freshman is heir apparent to be Coach Jim Calhoun’s next intimidator. Against LSU, he had 9 rebounds and 2 blocks.

The keys to the game will be:

1. Foul trouble could be a problem for the Huskies who play all five starters 30 or more minutes per game, while Duke goes nine deep. Therefore, the Blue Devils should attack the basket and force the Huskies to respond. This game will be a test for Duke’s bigger line-up philosophy and their inside players must respond to the physical play of UConn’s frontline.

2. Who will guard Kyle Singler? Actually, UConn is a team that should be able to match-up with Singler. Stanley Robinson will be Coach Calhoun’s first option, but it would be a tall order to expect Robinson to keep up with Singler for 35 plus minutes so Coach Calhoun will probably look to freshman Jamal Coombs-McDaniel (6’7” 210) to assist Robinson in defending Singler. It will definitely be a trial by fire experience for the freshman wingman.

3. Guard play will eventually decide who wins this game. The team which gets the best performance from its perimeter players will be the tournament champions. With UConn’s ability to match-up with Singler, starters Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith are going to have to outperform Jerome Dyson and Kemba Walker in order for Duke to leave New York undefeated. Duke freshman Andre Dawkins must be strong when he is on the court. There is no room for error in this contest.

UConn advanced to the championship game via an 81 – 55 dismantling of the LSU Tigers. Duke defeated the Arizona State Sun Devils 64 – 53 in a game which was closer than expected. The Huskies were led by Dyson and Walker with 20 points each, and Robinson contributed a double – double of 14 points and 10 rebounds. For the Blue Devils, Jon Scheyer was the leading scorer with 16 points, while Smith and Singler chipped in 14 and 13 points respectively.

Duke and UConn have played some classic games over the years and this game should be another barn burner. Coaches Krzyzewski and Calhoun are familiar with each other so both teams will come into the game prepared and ready to execute an effective game plan. This game will be a good one so all the fans need to kick back and enjoy the show. After the long off season, it is time to enjoy the ride of another college basketball season.

Thaddeus Lewis talks of his career and facing Wake Forest

Thaddeus plays his last game this Saturday against Wake Forest - BDN Photo
Thaddeus plays his last game this Saturday against Wake Forest - BDN Photo

Duke fans have one more chance to see Thaddeus Lewis in a Duke uniform this Saturday against Wake Forest.  Lewis talks about his future and his glee in getting a diploma from Duke and much more in this audition interview.  BDN salutes Thad and the seniors and we will covering his last game from field level this weekend.  Come out and support some great seniors and help cheer Duke to a win and a 6-6 season.

Wake Forest at Duke Game Notes – Senior Day, season finale

Big Vince is expected back for the Wake game - BDN Photo
Big Vince is expected back for the Wake game - BDN Photo

Duke (5-6, 3-4 ACC)
vs. Wake Forest (4-7, 2-5 ACC)
November 28, 2009
12 noon (ET)

Site: Durham, N.C.
Stadium: Wallace Wade Stadium
Surface: Natural grass
Capacity: 33,941
TV: Raycom Sports – Tim Brant (Play-by-Play), Rick “Doc” Walker (Analyst) and Mike Hogewood (Sideline)
Radio: Blue Devil ISP Sports Network
Internet: GoDuke.com
Tickets: 1-877-375-DUKE
Series: Duke, 53-34-2

Duke Hosts Wake Forest On Senior Day
Duke (5-6, 3-4 ACC) will host Wake Forest (4-7, 2-5 ACC) on Senior Day this Saturday, Nov. 28. Kickoff is scheduled for 12 noon (ET) at Wallace Wade Stadium. The game will be televised on Raycom Sports with Tim Brant calling the play-by-play, Rick “Doc” Walker providing the color commentary and Mike Hogewood on the sideline. The Blue Devils are coming off a 34-16 loss at No. 20 Miami last weekend while the Demon Deacons had a bye week and lost to Florida State, 41-28, in their last game.

Last Time Out
Duke led 16-13 heading into the fourth quarter, but Miami scored 21 unanswered points to come away with a 34-16 win at Land Shark Stadium. Thaddeus Lewis broke Duke’s career record for passing yards with his 303-yard performance. His top target was Donovan Varner who caught eight passes for 165 yards and one touchdown. Miami was led by Jacory Harris, who threw for 348 yards and two touchdowns, and Leonard Hankerson, who finished with eight receptions for 143 yards and one touchdown.

Duke-Wake Forest Series
Duke leads the all-time series between the two schools 53-34-2. The Demon Deacons have won the last nine games in the series. Duke’s last win was a 48-35 win in Durham in 1999.

Overall: Duke, 53-34-2
First Meeting: Wake Forest, 32-0 in 1889
Last Meeting: Wake Forest, 33-30 (OT) in 2008
Largest Duke Margin of Victory: 67 (67-0) in 1937
Largest WF Margin of Victory: 38 (44-6) in 2005
Duke’s Last Win in Durham: 1999 (48-35)
Wake Forest’s Last Win in Durham: 2007 (41-36)
Current Streak: Wake Forest, W9

Last Meeting
The Demon Deacons came out on top in overtime as Shane Popham made a 28-yard field goal and Alphonso Smith intercepted a Lewis pass in the endzone for a 33-30 victory. Popham finished the day with three made field goals while Riley Skinner threw and ran for a touchdown. Duke was led by Thaddeus Lewis, who threw two TD tosses to Clifford Harris.

Inside the Numbers …

  • 1 – Senior quarterback Thaddeus Lewis will move into a tie for fourth on the ACC career passing touchdowns chart with one more touchdown passes. Lewis currently ranks fifth with 64 career scoring tosses.
  • 2nd – Sophomore wide receiver Donovan Varner ranks second in the ACC for both receptions per game (4.91) and receiving yards per game (79.4).
  • 3 – True freshman Conner Vernon is three catches shy of 50 for the year, which would put him in third place for most receptions by a freshman in ACC history. Vernon also ranks fifth all-time in league history with 653 receiving yards, 42 shy of climbing into third place.
  • 13 – Senior linebacker Vincent Rey is 13 tackles away from his third straight 100-tackle season. He is looking to become just the seventh player in school history with 100 or more tackles in three or more seasons.
  • 15 – Duke will honor 15 players this Saturday on senior day.
  • 15 – Junior walk-on Will Snyderwine has made 15 field goals this season to rank tied for third in school history for a single season. He is 15-of-18 (.833) on the year, which is currently the highest percentage for one season by a Duke kicker.
  • 20 – The Blue Devils have held five opponents under 20 points this season, marking the first time since 1994.
  • 45 – The Blue Devils have tallied 45 plays of 20 or more yards on the season with five plays of over 50 yards. Varner has 16 receptions of 20 or more yards.
  • 48 – Lewis currently holds 48 school records, including 25 career records, 17 single season marks and six single game records.
  • 54 – Varner has 54 catches this season to rank ninth on Duke’s single season receptions list for wide receivers. Varner and junior wide receiver Austin Kelly have become two of the 20 players at Duke with at least 50 catches in one season.
  • 97 – Duke has a Graduate Success Rate score of 97, the highest in the ACC. The football team’s score of 96 was the highest among Football Bowl Subdivision schools with only six programs posting a 90 or better.
  • 100 – Varner has four 100-yard receiving games this year, all in ACC play. His four 100-yard games are tied for fifth most in a single season at Duke.
  • 127 – Varner needs 127 receiving yards to become the fifth player in school history with 1,000 receiving yards in a season. He is currently ranked seventh for a single season with 873 yards.
  • 162 – Lewis needs 162 passing yards to pass Chris Weinke of Florida State for second on the ACC career passing list. Lewis has thrown for a school record 9.678 yards in his career.
  • 297.5 – Duke leads the ACC and ranks 10th nationally in passing offense, averaging 297.5 yards per game. The Blue Devils have thrown for over 300 yards in six games this season.
  • 300 – Lewis has passed for over 300 yards in six of the 11 games this year. His six 300-yard games are the second most in a single season at Duke while his 10 career 300-yard games ties a school record.
  • 700 – With 47 receiving yards Kelly will join Varner with 700 receiving yards on the year, making the duo just the fourth in school history with over 700 yards each.
  • 3,000 – Lewis is 67 passing yards away from becoming the fourth quarterback in school history to throw for 3,000 yards in one season. Ben Bennett accomplished the feat in 1982 and 1983 while Anthony Dilweg has the single season record with 3,824 yards in 1988.