Orono, Maine -Joanne P. McCallie‘s return to Maine was full of turnovers and pressure. Just the way she likes it.
Karima Christmas and Bridgette Mitchell each scored 16 points and No. 8 Duke cruised past Maine 75-34 on Monday night, giving coach McCallie a victory in her return to Alfond Arena.
Duke’s full-court trap forced a season-high 34 turnovers and held Maine (2-7) to 30 percent shooting. The Blue Devils (9-2) pulled away with a 24-4 run in the first half.
“We’re a pressure team, an up-tempo team,” McCallie said. “We’re going to use every aspect of our team to our advantage.”
Before the game, McCallie received a standing ovation from the crowd of more than 3,700 and was lauded for her time with the Black Bears, an eight-year stretch highlighted by six straight NCAA tournament appearances (1995-00), four conference crowns and a 167-73 record.
Maine coach Cindy Blodgett won two NCAA scoring titles while playing for McCallie in Orono.
“I liked that our team came out ready, in attack mode,” Blodgett said. “There were some things that we can certainly build on, and I liked the way we fought.”
DURHAM, N.C. – Duke senior Jon Scheyer was named ACC Player of the Week on Monday after leading the Blue Devils to wins over Gardner-Webb and No. 15 Gonzaga last week.
Scheyer averaged 28.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 8.5 assists and 1.5 steals in the two games as he earned his second weekly honor of the season. The Northbrook, Ill., native shot 64.0 percent (16-of-25) from the field, 69.2 percent (9-of-13) from three-point range and 93.8 percent (15-of-16) from the foul line for the week.
Against Gardner-Webb, Scheyer recorded a career-high 36 points to go along with eight rebounds and a career-best nine assists in last Tuesday’s 113-68 win over Gardner-Webb. He was 11-of-13 from the field, including 7-of-9 from three-point range in the contest. He is only the third player in Duke history with at least 30 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in a single game. He is the only player in school history with 35 or more points in 30 or fewer minutes of action.
Scheyer followed his performance with 20 points, five rebounds and eight assists in Duke’s 76-41 win over 15th-ranked Gonzaga Saturday in New York’s Madison Square Garden. The 35-point loss for Gonzaga was the program’s worst since 1984.
The Blue Devils will return to action Dec. 29 when they host Long Beach State at 7 p.m.
New York – BDN’s Andrew Slater caught up with Nolan Smith after the Gonzaga game and got his thoughts on several things in the following interview. This is normally part of BDN Premium’s Locker Room Report, but we decided to share this with all of the Blue Devil Nation in order to give you an idea about our latest premium addition which brings you inside. BDN goes out of our way to talk with players before or after the media throng gets to them in an effort to bring you a more unique experience. BDN Premium Members get full site access which includes all the latest on recruiting from a growing network of sources. You can also discuss this with members on our private message board, which is the fastest growing forum out there. Enjoy the words from Nolan and Happy Holidays to all from the Blue Devil Nation!
Were you surprised that you were able to force them into so many turnovers?
Um, no, I wouldn’t say surprised. They’re a great team, but we have a lot of confidence in our ability. That kept us going. We wanted to go out there and play forty minutes of great defense. It helped us out early when we came out early and weren’t making shots.
How do you account for your jump this year, in terms of production?
Just being aggressive and confident.
You’re shooting a lot better.
Yeah, well, I shot better today than the last time, but..
That’s okay. It came back.
Exactly, you know, Jon and Kyle and these guys have really helped me out a lot this year and I had a summer of hard work.
Yeah, I saw you doing some of that hard work out in Las Vegas with the D.C. Assault.
Do you have any interest in going into coaching or running D.C. Assault later on?
Oh, yeah, my stepfather is Curtis Malone. I’m definitely always looking to give back to the community.
Can you talk a little bit about your Twitter activity? Is that a way for you to reach out to your fans and tell them what your up to?
Oh, yeah, definitely. It’s a way for me to reach out. I love my fans and I just love people.
Talk about coming to the big tournaments and playing the big opponents.
Oh, we love coming to places like here
How do you account for today’s breakout performance?
My teammates and coaches are always looking for me to become more aggressive. Today, shots were falling and I got into a really good rhythm. We all just put in a great effort.
What was the team looking to do, in terms of keying on Boldin and Gray?
This year, we have a very good team defensively. We’re a huge team inside and that gives us the confidence on the perimeter to just get out there and try to keep our man in front of us. We wanted to just get on him and, whether it was me on Boldin or Jon on Boldin, we wanted to stop him in transition. We just got one hundred percent effort for forty minutes tonight. They felt us out there. We didn’t want to let them get anything easy out there.
Can you talk about, early in the second half, you guys had a working lead and then hit a couple of threes and it didn’t seem like they had the quickness to match-up?
Jon and I got into a really good rhythm and, you know, Coach was calling plays and the team really responded. They set great screens to get us open. We played great out there today. Whether it was with penetrating and kicking, shots were just coming so easy for everybody. We all got good looks and, today, Jon and I were able to knock down those shots.
How about when they cut the lead down to nine and then you guys responded with a give-and-go and then went on your own run?
Yeah, well, in a game like this against a top opponent, it’s very important to try to respond and you know that one or two possessions may wind up being back-breakers. That play really got to them and then we got into the rhythm of our offense. The whole team was really struggling offensively at the beginning part of the game and that play really helped us get going and into that rhythm.
Duhon was here today. Jason Williams was here and Greg Paulus.
Yeah, did you guys want to look good in front of the Duke guards of the past? [Duhon approached Nolan]
Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. You definitely want to look good in front of the alumni.
Chris Duhon: Are you staying or are you out?
Chris Duhon: Alright, hit me up.
I will. I definitely will.
Yeah, we definitely wanted to put a show on for them. And they saw that we have two good guards here so they don‘t have anything to worry about.
What about the mindset this year, Nolan? How does it compare also, in terms of being a shut-down defense in the half court?
Defensively, this team is a lot tougher than, well, my first two years here. In comparison to last year, this year’s team takes a lot more pride in stopping guys. Like with the Gonzaga team today, they’ve been scoring points tremendously this year and, as you could see from our effort today, it just shows what we’re capable of, when we continue to give effort in practice and in games for forty minutes.
They never seemed to get in any kind of flow and shot a very low percentage from the field.
Yeah, we knew we wanted to stop Boldin and Gray. That was our game plan. Take them out. Never let them get anything easy and definitely never let them get any wide-open threes in transition. Tagging them and not letting them get into a rhythm was the key.
You and Jon seem to have a good chemistry out there and it was especially evident today. Can you talk about your chemistry?
Oh, yeah, Jon and I have a great chemistry both on and off the court. Today and, well, all week in practice, we’ve just been working on getting our offense in a flow and playing together even better. You know, in the first few weeks, we were playing well, but we felt like we could take it to another level, where, if we made the extra pass, we could get even a better look or a better shot than we thought we had. We’ve improved since we’ve started to do that and I think it helps our shooters as well. We’ll hopefully continue to grow.
Did the team look to shoot more three pointers in this game?
No, we just took our opportunities, based upon what the defense gave us. They were giving us some open looks and so we took them.
What happened the first eight to ten minutes?
I think it was both teams just looking to feel each other out, you know, defensively and offensively. It really just took one bucket to get us going offensively.
Do you think this was your best performance overall, given the opponent, the venue, and the performance?
Um, yeah, it was a CBS game against a great team. My teammates really helped me to expose myself. They helped me to show that I’m ready to make that next jump to be one of the elite guards in the country. I’ve just got to continue to work hard and work with my teammates to get better.
Do you think you benefited from coming in here a couple of weeks ago and playing against two quality opponents, in terms of your shooting here today?
Yeah, definitely, it was like a home game out there today. It was great just coming back here and have a good feeling.
Were you the person to call it Cameron North?
No, somebody the last time had a poster up that said it, but it definitely feels like Cameron North. When we walk in here, it’s just absolutely great to see all of the Duke fans up here. You know they were here early before the game and it was pretty much all blue in there. It feels like Cameron North. I think the coaches love coming here and I know the players definitely love coming here. It’s a great arena.
What about the play of Jon Scheyer the last two games?
Oh, yeah, Jon’s been playing great lately, but he’s always such a poised player, you know. We’re going to try to feed off of him.
Has he been doing everything differently?
He’s a senior. He’s “been here and done that.” He’s played in big games and taken big shots. He’s running the show.
What kind of a statement win was this? Playing against another highly ranked team and putting up those numbers.
It was definitely a statement game. We especially wanted to show our defense out today and what we could do against a high scoring team. There are a lot of teams around the country that can score, but thank God we’re one of the teams that can go out there and really defend. To go against an offensive unit like that and then to hold them to so few points hopefully really shows what this team is capable of. Hopefully, this sends a message to the world. I mean we could’ve just scored fifty points out there today and still have won. You know it will hopefully show that we can stop great teams like Gonzaga.
Tonight, although he was able to rebound and played good defense, Singler didn’t have a great game offensively and yet, because of the production you and Jon, two of the big three, were able to give the team, the team didn’t miss a beat. Can you comment on that?
I think it just shows that we have a lot of weapons. I mean I may have an off game and Kyle and Jon will be there to pick us up. Jon might have an off game and me and Kyle’ll be there. Our perimeter guys love playing together and Kyle’ll get back on track. He’s going to continue to play and let it come. He didn’t have to force anything.
Can you point to when you felt you and the team really got on a roll?
I think it kind of just happened. It was after an in-bound I was wide open and then from there on we were just penetrating and kicking. It kind of just got everybody the good looks and we just shot the ball with confidence. We started to do that and just rolled.
A plethora of high school basketball action has taken place this past week. Holiday tournaments are in full swing this weekend with future Blue Devils and recruiting targets participating in tournaments such as the Iolani Classic (Tyler Thornton and Josh Hairston) in Honolulu, the Chick-fil-A Classic (Marshall Plumlee) in Columbia, the City of Palms Classic (Austin Rivers) in Fort Myers, and the Kreul Classic (Quincy Miller) in Miami. [private]
This edition of High School Hoops 2010 was scheduled to start off with a look at future Duke guard Kyrie Irving. Unfortunately, St. Patrick’s first two games, on Friday night and Saturday, were cancelled. For an in depth look at Irving and St. Patrick’s, go to the NJ.com website as they have a New Jersey basketball season preview posted along with a quick blurb on each of the state’s top 50 players and the state’s best teams.
On Saturday, both Hairston and Thornton were in action. Hairston scored 22 points with 12 rebounds as Montrose Christian defeated Iolani 71 – 49. Thornton scored 18 points but Gonzaga fell to Columbia (GA) 55 – 53.
This article at ESPN includes some very nice verbiage on Hairston. Reggie Rankin states, “Hairston will be a good fit in the intense Duke man-to-man defense…” This ESPN RISE Magazine article is complimentary toward both Hairston and Thornton with statements such as: “Tyler Thornton was born to lead” and “Tyler Thornton and Josh Hairston couldn’t be stopped.” The buzz surrounding these two players has been relatively subdued, possibly due to their early commitment, however, Duke fans should be ecstatic about these two players arrival next season.
In the Chick-fil-A Classic, on Saturday, Christ School defeated Norfolk Christian 78 – 60. Marshall Plumlee’s line was 8 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 blocked shots in 18 minutes. Carolina commit James McAdoo scored 19 points for Norfolk Christian. The State has a tournament preview article, which highlights 10 players to watch.
At the City of Palms Classic, on Saturday night, Winter Park faced Findlay Prep. Austin Rivers scored 22 points and dished out five assists but it wasn’t enough as Findlay Prep prevailed 86 – 75.
Quincy Miller scored 32 points including a 16-17 performance at the free throw line, as Quality Education Academy defeated Central Carolina Sports Academy 90 – 85 on Tuesday December 15. QEA is participating in the Kreul Classic this weekend and on Friday night Miller scored 17 points in a 70 – 60 victory over North Miami Beach.
In action earlier in the week, J.P. Tokoto scored 21 points in leading Menomonee Falls to a 65 – 46 win over Sussex Hamilton.
That’s a wrap for this week’s edition of High School Hoops 2010. Blue Devil Nation’s coverage will continue next week so be sure and stay tuned in order to gather in the scoop on all high school players currently committed to Duke or being recruited by Duke. [/private]
NEW YORK – It wasn’t an official point guard reunion for Duke at Madison Square Garden, but the man who currently runs the offense must have made the old-timers proud.
So did their alma mater’s defense.
Nolan Smith scored 24 points, point guard Jon Scheyer added 20 points and eight assists and No. 7 Duke held No. 15 Gonzaga to its lowest point total in 25 years in a 76-41 victory Saturday in the Aeropostale Classic.
“I didn’t know who was here until after the game and that’s a good thing because you play a little differently if you do,” Scheyer said. “I’m not one of those guys. They were obviously great guards and it was fun for Nolan and I to have a game like that.”
Fun was not a word heard much in the Gonzaga locker room with the Bulldogs being held to their lowest point total since a 62-40 loss to Iowa on Nov. 28, 1984.
“We got throttled in every aspect of basketball,” coach Mark Few said. “Their physical play bothered us as far as finishing shots around the rim. They outrebounded us. We turned the ball over more and they took more free throws. They beat us in every aspect. It was an old-fashioned take you out to the woodshed and beat you down.”
This wasn’t a perfect game for either team for most of the first half.
Duke (9-1) missed 12 of its first 15 shots from the field and it was only that the Bulldogs (8-3) were struggling as well, making only two of their first 10 shots, that the game was close for the first 15 minutes.
The Blue Devils were able to straighten things out enough to take a 31-17 halftime lead, but they missed all six of their 3-point attempts.
Smith then hit two 3s and Scheyer added another in a 9-1 run to open the second half and the rout was on.
“It was a matter of the shots being open because we were moving the ball better,” Scheyer said of the start of the second half. “Nolan found me for a great look and he had a couple of great looks.”
Scheyer, who was coming off a career-high 36 points against Gardner-Webb when he was two rebounds and an assist shy of a triple-double, also had eight assists. Scheyer, who entered the game leading the nation with a 6.4:1 assist-turnover ratio, had two turnovers.
“I don’t remember the second turnover,” Scheyer said with a laugh before dismissing again that he deserves to be included with the former Duke point guards. “I like to think I make other plays besides scoring. As long as I’m out there playing I’m OK. It doesn’t matter to me. Call me whatever you want.”
Krzyzewski said Scheyer “doesn’t have a position. He is just a good, smart basketball player.”
Robert Sacre led the Bulldogs with nine points on 2-of-11 shooting. The Bulldogs came into the game averaging 79.5 points and were shooting 49.3 percent from the field and 37.5 from 3-point range.
Their numbers Saturday weren’t even close. Gonzaga shot 27.8 percent (15 of 54) and made one of 10 3-point attempts while committing 18 turnovers.
“Against a top team like that, to put together a defensive effort like that let’s us know even if we have an off game we can score 50 points and win a game,” Smith said.
The win was the sixth straight at Madison Square Garden for the Blue Devils and the third this season. They beat Arizona State and Connecticut in the semifinals and finals of the NIT Season Tip-Off.
Duke has an all-time record of 26-14 at the Garden, 21-6 under Krzyzewski. Gonzaga fell to 1-4 all-time at Madison Square Garden.
“We have to put this one out of out minds fast. This was an aberration,” Few said. “They have been great at stepping up to challenges all season.”
DURHAM, N.C. – Sophomore forward Olek Czyzhas decided to leave Duke University, school officials announced Friday. Czyz leaves Duke in good academic standing and is expected to transfer to another Division I school.
Czyz started the first two games of the 2009-10 season and played in six of the team’s nine contests on the year. He averaged 2.5 points and 2.0 rebounds in 10.2 minutes per game while shooting .583 (7-of-12) from the field.
“Olek has a bright future ahead of him and we wish him the best of luck,” said Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski. “He has been a valued member of the Duke Basketball family and we will support him through his impending transfer.”
A 6-7, 240-pound native of Gdynia, Poland, Czyz saw action in 19 career games at Duke finishing with 23 points, 24 rebounds, eight assists, one block and two steals.