Durham, N.C. – BDN caught up with Lance Thomas in the Duke locker room shortly after he had grabbed 10 rebounds in Duke’s 24th win of the season. Lance talks of his senior season and his last two games before being whisked off to talk with Bob Harris on the Duke Radio Network post game show.
DURHAM, N.C. – Nolan Smith had 18 points, Kyle Singler added 17 and No. 5 Duke pulled away to beat Tulsa 70-52 on Thursday night.
Jon Scheyer finished with 15 points for the Blue Devils (24-4). They used an big run early in the second half to break open a surprisingly tight game and extend their decade-long nonconference winning streak at Cameron Indoor Stadium to 77.
Jerome Jordan had 12 points to lead the Golden Hurricane (19-9). In losing their fourth straight, they finished with a season-low point total and were denied the first victory against a top-five team since 1996.
Leading scorer Ben Uzoh, who entered on a streak of three straight 20-point games, finished with eight on 3-of-15 shooting.
Brian Zoubek, a 7-foot-1 senior who has emerged lately as one of Duke’s most valuable players, had 10 points and 11 rebounds. He started the game-breaking 18-3 run with a layup through the 7-foot Jordan’s foul with 19:05 remaining.
Smith reeled off six straight points and Scheyer scored eight in a row before Miles Plumlee hit a hook shot to make it 52-36 with 13½ minutes left.
That had the Blue Devils well on their way to their 18th straight win at Cameron. They have won 41 straight at home against unranked opponents, they are 16-0 there this season with all but one of those victories by double figures, and Friday makes it 10 years since a non-Atlantic Coast Conference team beat them on their home court.
Justin Hurtt added 11 points for the Golden Hurricane and tied it at 34 with a free throw with 19:20 to play, but they missed 6 of 7 shots after that while turning it over three times during Duke’s decisive spurt.
Steven Idlet had 10 points for Tulsa, which shot 26 percent from the field during the second half and finished 1 of 10 from 3-point range.
At least on the surface, the late-February timing of this game seemed unusual. But coach Mike Krzyzewski scheduled this break in the ACC schedule with the NCAA tournament in mind, hoping to give his Blue Devils a test against a quality, unfamiliar nonconference opponent.
And for a while, they got one.
The Golden Hurricane kept themselves within striking distance through the first half, never allowing Duke to lead by more than 10 points and clawing back to tie it at 28 on Bryson Pope’s layup 3 minutes before the break. That, despite a miserable start to the half by their top player: Uzoh missed eight of his first 10 shots.
Tulsa coach Doug Wojcik was no stranger to Duke’s hostile arena: He was on Matt Doherty’s staff at rival North Carolina from 2000-03, and those teams went 1-2 at Cameron. But ultimately, that familiarity couldn’t help the Golden Hurricane claim the program’s third victory against a top-five team and first since knocking off then-No. 5 UCLA in 1996.
Durham, N.C. – Duke just defeated Tulsa by a 70-52 score to push their season record to 24-4. We have some comments from Brian Zoubek below who scored 10 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. We are experiencing technical difficulties so it may or may not be morning before we can get other interviews posted.
Playing one of the toughest schedules in the ACC and the country, including 4 straight games against ranked opponents to open the season, the Hurricanes finished the year at 9-4 overall, capped by a 20-14 Citrus Bowl loss to Wisconsin. For the second straight year, the Blue Devils gave the Hurricanes a scare, taking a 16-13 lead into the 4th quarter, but surrendered three unanswered 4th quarter touchdowns to fall 34-16 at Sun Life (Land Shark) Stadium. In 2010, Miami will have to replace three starters on the offensive line and will again take on a challenging schedule, including two Thursday night non-conference matchups in September at Ohio State and at Pittsburgh. QB Jacory Harris will return for his junior year and should be fully recovered from off-season surgery to fix the injured thumb that bothered him late in 2009. Miami is loaded with athletes on both sides of the ball, but their performance has been inconsistent in recent years. The keys for the 2010 Hurricanes will be the development of the offensive line and consistency in the running game; Harris alone is capable of making big plays, but he needs help from RB Graig Cooper and RB Damien Berry for the Hurricanes to compete for an ACC championship. Miami hosts Florida State in a big rivalry game at home in Week 6, and with two weeks to prepare, expect the Blue Devils to challenge Miami yet again in this matchup.
Week 8: October 23 @Virginia Tech (10-3, 6-2 ACC)
Trips to Blacksburg rarely have been much fun for ACC teams and the Blue Devils are no exception, having never won a game at Lane Stadium. The Hokies have won 9 straight meetings between the two schools overall, including last year’s 34-26 win in Durham. Virginia Tech will feature a talented offense in 2010, led by QB Tyrod Taylor and two 1,000 yard rushers in RB Ryan Williams and RB Darren Evans, who returns after missing all of 2009 with an ACL tear. In a change from recent Hokie teams under Frank Beamer and DC Bud Foster, the offense may have to lead the way behind their senior QB, as the Hokies will be replacing six starters on defense, including 3 out of 4 spots on the defensive line. Duke will travel to Blacksburg as part of the Hokies’ four-game mid-season homestand, which starts with relatively easy matchups against Central Michigan and Wake Forest. The final game in the homestand will be a Week 9 rematch with 2009 ACC Champion Georgia Tech, and the Hokies might be tempted to look ahead. The Blue Devils’ young defensive line will have to slow the Hokies’ rushing attack if they want any chance to escape Blacksburg with a win.
Week 9: October 30 @Navy (10-4)
Navy is a team that is flying under the radar heading into 2010 after a 10-win season in 2009, which was capped by a 35-13 drumming of Missouri in the Texas Bowl. The Midshipmen return 15 starters in 2010, including senior QB Ricky Dobbs, who both threw and rushed for over 1,000 yards in 2009. This will be Duke’s second of three tests against the option offense in 2010. In their last meeting at Wallace Wade Stadium in 2008, the Blue Devils defeated the Midshipmen, 41-31, behind three touchdowns from Thad Lewis and Eron Riley. The 2010 matchup will be televised by CBS College Sports Network and will serve as Navy’s homecoming game. Navy’s 2010 schedule features three games against ACC opponents, with a trip to College Park scheduled for Week 1 and a trip to Winston-Salem in Week 6. The Blue Devils will travel to Annapolis a week following Navy’s nationally-televised (on CBS) matchup with Notre Dame at the New Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. This game comes at a key stretch in the Blue Devils’ season and a win would significantly improve their postseason chances.
Week 10: November 6 Virginia (3-9, 2-6 ACC)
After two straight wins against the Cavaliers, the Blue Devils were sad to see Al Groh leave, and may be even more disappointed to see former Richmond coach Mike London on the sideline. However, after a disappointing 2009 that resulted in the dismissal of Al Groh, the Cavaliers have even more question marks in 2010 thanks to the departures of key players and the arrival of an entirely new staff. Virginia loses their top four rushers from 2009 in Jameel Sewell, Vic Hall, Mikell Simpson, and Rashawn Jackson. Marc Verica is the only returning quarterback with experience, and he may be challenged by four freshmen quarterbacks in the 2010 class, including early enrollee Michael Strauss. With the new staff, there is new energy in the program, and the Cavaliers have several key returners on the offensive and defensive lines, so there is a structure to build upon. Their schedule won’t do them any favors, however, with a potentially awkward season-opener against Richmond and a Week 2 cross-country trip to Pasadena to face Lane Kiffin’s Trojans. As the season progresses, the development of the many new faces, especially at the skill positions, will likely determine Virginia’s success in Mike London’s first season. The Blue Devils will need to continue to assert their dominance over the new-look Cavaliers if they hope to climb in the ACC Coastal Division standings.
Week 11: November 13 Boston College (8-5, 5-3)
Duke will face an unfamiliar foe in Week 11, as Boston College makes a rare trip to Wallace Wade Stadium. In fact, the two programs have faced each other just four times overall (1927, 1928, 1929, 2006), with the Eagles holding a 3-1 series advantage. Thanks to the unbalanced ACC schedule, the Blue Devils and Eagles last met all the way back in 2006 in Chesnut Hill, with Boston College claiming a 28-7 victory. Both programs have since gone through coaching and roster changes, so it will be a new test for both teams. 2008 ACC Defensive Player of the Year Mark Herzlich will make his return to the 2010 Eagles, after missing 2009 with Ewing’s Sarcoma. If Herzlich can continue his inspirational story by returning to his 2008 form and leading this defense, the Eagles will compete for their third Atlantic Division title in four years. The Eagles overachieved under Frank Spaziani in 2009, and with most of the team returning, including 26-year old sophomore QB Dave Shinskie, they will be a tough test for the young Blue Devils.
Week 12: November 20 @Georgia Tech (11-3, 7-1)
After a two-game homestand, the Blue Devils will make the trip to Atlanta to face the defending ACC Champions at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Coach Paul Johnson will have his work cut out for him as he and the Yellow Jackets prepare to defend their title in 2010. Georgia Tech will have to replace their leading rusher, leading receiver, and top two defenders in Jonathan Dwyer, Demaryius Thomas, Derrick Morgan, and Morgan Burnett. On the offensive side, they do return All-ACC QB Josh Nesbitt, and B-Back Anthony Allen (and his 9.7 yards per carry in 2009). They’ll likely need to replace three starters on their offensive line, and have to find a receiver to replace Thomas to keep opposing defenses honest. The biggest changes, however, will occur on defense, where former Virginia head coach Al Groh takes over as coordinator and will switch the Jackets from a 4-3 to 3-4 scheme. The defense will need to make the transition smoothly to allow the Ramblin’ Wreck option-attack to control the game. In recent matchups, including last year’s 49-10 defeat, Duke has failed to match the physical play of the Georgia Tech linemen; this will be Duke’s third test against the option-style offense, and it will be important for Duke’s young linemen to be able to match the speed and strength of the Yellow Jackets this year.
Week 13: November 27 North Carolina (8-5, 4-4)
This rivalry matchup returns to its traditional spot on the schedule, as the Blue Devils will close out the 2010 regular season with the Tar Heels in Durham. Though the Tar Heels have dominated the series in recent years, the rivalry has still provided memorable games, including last year’s 19-6 loss in Chapel Hill. The Blue Devils and Tar Heels traded field goals through the first three quarters, with North Carolina taking a 9-6 lead into the 4th quarter. The Tar Heel defense and strong running of Ryan Houston were too much for Thad Lewis and the Blue Devils to overcome, as they failed to find the end zone, finishing just 2/13 on third downs, and gave up a total of 192 rushing yards to North Carolina. The 2010 Tar Heels will again feature one of the nation’s top defenses, thanks in large part to the return of 4 All-ACC defenders, who all elected to defer the NFL draft and return for their senior season. The biggest questions will be on the offensive side of the ball, where the Tar Heels will need to score points more consistently to compete for an ACC Championship. Tyler Yates will enter the spring as the starting QB, but if he struggles, redshirt freshman Bryn Renner may be given an opportunity. The Tar Heels will also need to replace two starters on the offensive line in front of Yates and RBs Ryan Houston and Shaun Draughn. Led by LB Bruce Carter and DT Marvin Austin, the Tar Heels will try to repeat their 2009 success against the Blue Devils with pressure and physical play at the line of scrimmage. The Tar Heels will play one of the toughest overall schedules in the ACC in 2010, and there is a good chance that the winner of this heated rivalry could claim both the Victory Bell and a bowl bid.
[5 AP/5 Coaches] Duke (23-4, 11-2 ACC) vs. Tulsa (19-8, 8-5 Conference USA)
Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010 • 7:00 p.m. • espn2
Cameron Indoor Stadium (9,314) • Durham, N.C.
The Opening Tip
Duke (23-4, 11-2 ACC), ranked fifth in the AP poll and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ Poll, steps out of league play to face Tulsa (19-8, 8-5 Conference USA) at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Wednesday, Feb. 25 at 7:00 p.m. The game will air on espn2 with Mike Patrick and Len Elmore calling the action.
The Last Time Out
Duke ran its win streak to six games with a 67-55 win over Virginia Tech on Sunday at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Junior Kyle Singler scored a game-high 25 points to go along with 10 rebounds and two steals. Singler now has five double-doubles on the year, including 10+ points and rebounds in two straight games.
Junior Nolan Smith added 23 points, while Jon Scheyer chipped in with 15 points and seven assists. Brian Zoubek continued his outstanding play on the glass with 16 rebounds, including eight offensive boards. The Blue Devils closed the game with 23 offensive rebounds and outscored Virginia Tech, 27-9, on second chance points.
The trio of Singler, Smith and Scheyer combined for 63 of Duke’s 67 points in the contest and have now scored 112 of 123 points (91.1 percent) in the last three halves of basketball for the Blue Devils.
Home Non-Conference Win Streak at 76
Duke has won 76 consecutive non-conference home games. Duke’s last home loss against a non-conference foe was an 83-82 decision against St. John’s on Feb. 26, 2000. The Blue Devils are 8-0 in home non-conference games this season.
l Duke is ranked fifth in the AP poll, marking the 52nd consecutive week ranked in the top 10. The Blue Devils are 53-23 all-time when ranked fifth in the AP poll.
l The Blue Devils have won 17 straight games at Cameron Indoor Stadium and 46 of 48 home games over the past three seasons.
l Duke is 15-0 at home on the year with a scoring margin of +26.6 points per game. The Blue Devils have won 14 home games by double figures and 11 of their 15 games at Cameron Indoor Stadium by 20 or more points.
l The Blue Devils have won 40 consecutive home games against unranked opponents, dating back to a 68-67 loss to Florida State on Feb. 4, 2007.
l Jon Scheyer, Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler are the highest scoring trio in the NCAA at a combined 53.7 points per game. The threesome has accounted for 74 double-figure scoring games (out of 79 games) and 35 of Duke’s 36individual games with 20 or more points scored.
l Junior Kyle Singler is averaging a team-best 19.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.8 three-point field goals and 1.3 blocks per game during Duke’s current six-game win streak. He is 23-of-42 (.548) from three-point range in that span.
l Brian Zoubek is averaging 9.7 points and 12.7 rebounds (6.7 orpg.) since joining the starting lineup three games ago. He is tied for second in the ACC in offensive rebounds (3.4 orpg) and ranks 14th in total rebounds (6.9 rpg.), while playing 16.4 minutes per game. Zoubek ranks among the national leaders with 16.8 rebounds, including 8.4 offensive boards, per 40 minutes played.
l Duke is collecting a Coach K era-best 15.2 offensive rebounds per game for the year. The Blue Devils are averaging 16.4 second chance points per game and are 22-2 when scoring more second chance points than their opponent. Duke has grabbed at least 17 offensive rebounds in four straight games.
l Jon Scheyerleads the ACC in four statistical categories and is the only player in the league to rank in the top 5 in seven statistical categories: scoring (second, 18.9 ppg.), assists (fourth, 5.4 apg.), free throw percentage (first, .885), three-point field goals (first, 2.8 3pg.), three-point field goal percentage (fourth, .398), assist-to-turnover ratio (first, 3.06:1) and minutes (first, 36.6 mpg.).
Checking in on …
#2 Nolan Smith – +9.5 ppg. increase from a year ago leads the ACC … shooting a career-best 42.4 percent from three-point range … tied for third in the ACC with 12 games with 20+ points scored … double figures in 24 of 25 games played
#5 Mason Plumlee – Second on the team with 21 dunks … fourth with 18 blocks … season-high nine rebounds vs. North Carolina
#12 Kyle Singler – Five double-doubles and six games with 10+ rebounds … averaging 19.7 points per game in the last six contests … 29 three-point field goals in that span
#20 Andre Dawkins – Fourth on the team with 29 three-point field goals … shooting 38.2 percent from three-point range
#21 Miles Plumlee – Leads the team with 28 dunks … shooting 57.3 percent (63-of-110) from the field
#30 Jon Scheyer – 20+ points in five of the last eight games … ranks in the top 10 of the ACC in eight statistical categories … leads the league in minutes, free throw percentage, three-point field goals and assist-to-turnover ratio … league-high 13 games with 20 or more points … three-time ACC Player of the Week
#34 Ryan Kelly – 14 blocked shots … one of five Blue Devils with 10+ blocks
#42 Lance Thomas – Leads the Blue Devils with 12 charges taken … 5 or more rebounds in eight of the last 10 games
#55 Brian Zoubek – Four or more offensive rebounds 11 times … averaging 9.6 points and 12.7 rebounds, while shooting 75.0 pct (12-of-16) from the field in the last three games.
Durham, N.C. – One thing is certain for Duke Football in 2010 and that is the fact that they’ll be breaking in a green quarterback no matter who wins the battle. Replacing Thaddeus Lewis is no easy task, but Cutcliffe will use the spring to see which of three quarterbacks listed on the roster will step up. With projected starter Sean Renfree sidelined, sophomore Sean Schroeder will get some good looks. The Blue Devil Nation caught up with Schroeder after a recent scrimmage game and here is what he had to say –