Georgetown topples Duke 89-77

courtesy Lance King
courtesy Lance King

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Chris Wright and Georgetown put on a show for the commander in chief.

With President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden seated in the front row, the No. 7 Hoyas literally stole the game from No. 8 Duke, forcing five turnovers in a two-minute, first-half spurt on the way to an 89-77 victory Saturday.

It couldn’t have been a much bigger day for Georgetown: the president attending his first Hoyas game, the first sellout of the season in the 20,000-seat Verizon Center, a crowd mostly sporting “We Are Georgetown” T-shirts in a school-sponsored “gray out,” the 200th win for coach John Thompson III, the launch of an initiative for Darfur schools, and, of course, a dominant program from the Atlantic Coast Conference in the building.

Wright seemed pumped for it all, scoring 21 points on 8-for-9 shooting and making two defensive plays that helped ignite an 18-3 run and gave the Hoyas the lead for good in the first half. Greg Monroe also scored 21, and Austin Freeman added 20 points for Georgetown (16-4), which shot 77 percent in the first half and 72 percent for the game.

Nolan Smith scored 19 points, Kyle Singler had 18 before fouling out with 2:10 to play, and Jon Scheyer added 17 for the Blue Devils (17-4), who shot 37 percent.

Duke committed 15 turnovers – one fewer than Georgetown – but they came in bunches in rare series of breakdowns from coach Mike Krzyzewski‘s team.

The key first-half sequence began when Wright blocked Smith from behind on an outside jump shot, then seconds later stole the ball from Smith under the basket. Then came turnovers by Miles Plumlee, Smith and two by Scheyer, including a charging call. Jerrelle Benimon and Hollis Thompson each got a steal during the run, a needed boost from the thin Georgetown bench.

By the time it was over, Duke had gone nearly four minutes without a field goal, and Georgetown led 34-20.

Georgetown went 17 for 22 from the field in the first half and led 46-33 at the break.

The Blue Devils tried in vain to make a game of it in the second half. A pair of 3-pointers in the first couple minutes cut the lead to seven, but two more turnovers led to a 6-0 run and restored Georgetown’s 13-point lead.

The Blue Devils cut the deficit to seven once more at 52-45, but Monroe stopped that momentum with a spin move in the paint and a big pump of the arm to celebrate. There were plenty of free throws from there in a game that had nearly as many fouls (52) as rebounds (54).

The game provided a tough break for both schools from their demanding conference schedules. It was their fourth meeting in five years, with the home team winning each time.

Thompson improved to 200-97, including six seasons at Georgetown and four at Princeton.

The schools used the game to help publicize a new initiative to raise money for schools in refugee camps in the Darfur region of Sudan. NBA star Tracy McGrady, who has traveled to Darfur and helped start the campaign, also attended the game.

Duke at Georgetown Official Game Notes

Game 21
[8 AP/7 Coaches] Duke (17-3, 5-2 ACC) vs.
[7 AP/11 Coaches] Georgetown (15-4, 6-3 Big East)
Saturday, Jan. 30, 2010 • 1:00 p.m.
CBS Verizon Center (20,600) • Washington, D.C.

Courtesy Duke Photography
Courtesy Duke Photography

The Opening Tip

Duke (17-3, 5-2 ACC), ranked eighth in the AP poll and seventh in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ Poll, faces Georgetown (15-4, 6-3 Big East) at the Verizon Center on Saturday, Jan. 30 at 1:00 p.m. The Hoyas enter the contest ranked seventh in the AP poll and 11th in the Coaches’ Poll. The game will air on CBS with Verne Lundquist and Clark Kellogg calling the action.

The Last Time Out

Duke posted a hard-fought 70-56 win over Florida State on Wednesday at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Blue Devils forced 22 turnovers in the game and limited the Seminoles to 34.5 percent shooting in the second half of play.

Senior Jon Scheyer paced the offensive attack with 22 points for his ninth 20-point game of the year. He went 7-of-12 from the field, including 4-of-6 from three-point range, and 4-of-4 from the foul line in the game. Scheyer also had four rebounds, five assists and three steals in the win.

Kyle Singler added 20 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals in 38 minutes of action. Junior Nolan Smith added 11 points, four rebounds and four assists in the contest.

Duke’s five upperclassmen (Scheyer, Singler, Smith, Lance Thomas and Brian Zoubek) combined to score 65 of the teams 70 points on Wednesday. The group also recorded 25 of the team’s 30 rebounds as the Blue Devils were outrebounded for just the fourth time this season.

Numbers Game

  • Duke and Syracuse are the only teams in the country to rank in the top 10 in the AP Poll and Coaches’ Poll as well as The College Basketball News Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) and Strength of Schedule (SOS). The Blue Devils rank eighth in the AP Poll, seventh in the Coaches’ Poll, third in the RPI and 10th in SOS.
  • Duke is 7-2 on the year against teams currently ranked in the top 50 of The College Basketball News RPI, including a 3-1 mark against the top 25.
  • Jon Scheyer, Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler have accounted for 209 of Duke’s 294 points scored (71.3 percent) in the last four games.
  • Junior Nolan Smith is averaging 19.3 points, 2.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.5 steals per game over the last 11 contests. He is shooting 52.4 percent (77-of-147) from the field and 55.3 percent (21-of-38) from three-point range in that span. He has topped the 20-point mark in seven of those games.
  • Jon Scheyer is the only player in the ACC to rank in the top 5 in six statistical categories; scoring (second, 18.8 ppg.), assists (fourth, 5.7 apg.), free throw percentage (first, .899), three-point field goals (first, 2.7 3pg.), assist-to-turnover ratio (first, 3.4:1) and minutes (first, 36.0 mpg.).
  • Kyle Singler has scored 20 or more points in three of the last four games. He is averaging 18.8 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game in that stretch.
  • The Blue Devils are 4-1 this season against ranked opponents. Duke has held its first five ranked opponents to 35.4 percent shooting and just 54.2 points per game. The Blue Devils have a +14.8 margin of victory in those five matchups.

Big Three Pace Blue Devil Offense

Jon Scheyer, Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith combine to average 53.0 points per game or 64.5 percent of Duke’s scoring.

Scheyer is second in the ACC in scoring at 18.8 ppg., while Smith (18.1 ppg.) and Singler (16.1 ppg.) rank third and eighth, respectively.

Texas Southern, Nevada, UC Davis, Fairfield, TCU, Kentucky and North Dakota State are the only other schools with three players ranked among the top 10 scorers in their respective leagues.

The trio of Scheyer, Smith and Singler is the highest scoring threesome in the NCAA this season and the fourth-highest at Duke under Mike Krzyzewski.

Checking in on …

#2 Nolan Smith – +9.7 ppg. increase from a year ago leads the ACC … averaging 18.6 ppg. with three 20+ point games against ranked opponents

#3 Seth Curry – Sitting out the 2009-10 season due to NCAA transfer rules

#5 Mason Plumlee – Averaging 1.0 blocks per game

#12 Kyle Singler – Has led the team in rebounding nine times and in scoring six times … tied for the team lead with 25 steals

#20 Andre Dawkins – Fourth on the team with 27 three-point field goals … shooting 41.5 percent from three-point range

#21 Miles Plumlee – Leads the team with 25 dunks … has tripled his scoring and rebounding averages from a year ago

#30 Jon Scheyer – Has scored in double figures in 19 of 20 games with nine 20-point games … has led the team in assists in all 20 games

#34 Ryan Kelly – 14 blocked shots … one of five Blue Devils with 10+ blocks

#42 Lance Thomas – Shooting 81.6 percent (31-of-38) from the foul line … leads the Blue Devils with nine charges taken

#55 Brian Zoubek – Five or more rebounds in 14 of 20 games … averaging 16.7 rebounds per 40 minutes played

Previewing the Hoyas

Scheyer Singler Thomas#8 Duke (17-3) travels to our nation’s capital to take on #7 Georgetown (15-4) at the Verizon Center Saturday afternoon at 1 pm eastern standard time.

Georgetown ripped off 14 unanswered points to open their game against Syracuse on Monday evening. In the process, the Hoyas knocked down four 3-pointers from well beyond the arc. It looked as if the Orange had a long night in front of them.

Syracuse responded by stepping up their defensive pressure, forcing 10 Georgetown turnovers, and outscoring the Hoyas 34-15 to take a 34-29 halftime lead into the locker room. Syracuse forced nine more Georgetown turnovers during the second half. On offense, Syracuse pushed the pace and punished Georgetown in transition.

The game ended with Syracuse winning 73-56. That is a 31 point differential for the Orange after they committed themselves to applying perimeter pressure, forcing turnovers, and scoring in transition. Hopefully, the Duke coaching staff studied this game film as Coach Krzyzewski’s good friend Coach Boeheim laid out a blue print for taking it to the Hoyas.

Georgetown has three perimeter players with consistent 3-point range: Austin Freeman (.473), Jason Clark (.440), and Chris Wright (.379). Georgetown’s perimeter players do not pound the ball into the court they achieve open looks at the basket by moving the ball around via the pass. In order to contain a potential 3-point barrage, Duke will need to pressure the ball on the perimeter just like Syracuse.

Austin Freeman (6’4” 235) is the most potent perimeter player. A solid shooter, Freeman also has the strength and speed to penetrate and finish above the rim.

Frontcourt activity centers around Greg Monroe (6’11” 250) last season’s Big East Rookie of the Year and a player all Duke Fans are intimately familiar with as Duke recruited Monroe for over two years. Monroe is a talented passer out of the high post, who has the ability to make perimeter jump shots, and drive to the basket. He averages a double-double of 14.8 points and 10.1 rebounds per game.

On January 26, 2010 Monroe was named to the Big East Conference’s Weekly Honor Roll for the fourth time this season. Monroe averaged a double-double in conference wins over Pittsburgh and Rutgers. In the loss to Syracuse, Monroe was held to eight points and four rebounds.

Georgetown’s fifth starter is Julian Vaughn (6’9” 245). Vaughn averages 8.2 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. At 24.1 minutes per game, Vaughn is the only starter averaging less than 30 minutes of playing time per game. Coach John Thompson III favors a thin rotation.

Hollis Thompson (6’6” 180) comes off the bench to the tune of 20.1 minutes per game and contributes 3.5 points and 2.4 rebounds per contest.

Georgetown and Duke have had two common opponents on the year: Connecticut and St. John’s. Duke defeated Connecticut 69-59 and St. John’s 80-71. Georgetown defeated Connecticut 72-69 and St. John’s 66-59.

The keys to the game will be:

1. Defensive intensity on the perimeter: Duke must pressure the ball for 40 minutes in order to prevent Georgetown from achieving good looks at the basket. Additionally, the best way to contain Greg Monroe is to deny him the basketball.

2. Scoring points in transition: Duke needs to push the pace and score in transition off of turnovers.

3. Execute in the half court: Duke must execute ball screens and back cuts to achieve easy inside looks at the basket.

This game is a solid preview of the type match-up Duke can expect to see in March. While most folks are focused on the intense conference games being played across the country, this game provides a look at two Top 10 teams going head-to-head in late January. Both teams possess star players in their line-ups, however, do not be surprised if a role player steps up and provides the difference in securing his team a victory.

Duke defeats Florida State 70-56

Nolan to the rim - Special to BDN from Lance King imagess
Nolan to the rim - Special to BDN from Lance King imagess

Durham, N.C. – The eighth-ranked Duke Blue Devils pushed their season record to 5-2 in the ACC and 17-3 overall with a 70-56 victory over Florida State.

The Blue Devils were led by Kyle Singler who tallied 20 points and a team high 7 rebounds and, in the process, earned the praise of Coach Krzyzewski.

Once again, his teammates Jon Scheyer [ 22 points and 5 assists] and Nolan Smith [11 points and 4 assists] accounted for 53 of Duke’s 70 points.

Senior Lance Thomas had a productive 35 minutes of play as well as scoring 6 points to go with 6 rebounds, but also had two key steals and blocks in the contest.

It was once again the Blue Devils’ defense which rose the the occasion, forcing 22 Seminole turnovers on which they scored 22 points, not to mention holding the visitor to 42.6% from the field.

Duke went to a zone when Florida State cut the lead to 53-47 and outscored the Seminoles 17 to 9 the rest of the way.  With the loss, the Seminoles drop to 15-5 overall and 3-3 in the ACC.

Next up for Duke is Georgetown on Saturday afternoon in a game where the Hoya’s have had five days of preparation to Duke’s three.

Stay tuned for Coach K’s press conference and more on the contest.

Official Box Score Link

Notes – The win was Coach K’s 850th victory and his 777th career win at Duke.  Duke has now won 39 straight games against non ranked opponents, although Florida State was just outside of the Top 25.  Duke goes to 12-0 in Cameron this season.  This was the third time this season Duke caused 30 or more turnovers.