Category Archives: Duke Basketball

Duke defense too much for Purdue, Devils win 76-60

[private]Duke came into the game with Purdue undefeated in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge and Boilermaker fans were chomping at the bit to get them in Mackey Arena.  Tickets were going for as much as

Singler has 20 points and 12 rebounds/copyright BDNP
Singler has 20 points and 12 rebounds/copyright BDNP

500.00 each on a cold Indiana evening and most of the nation was expecting a very competitive game.

Duke came out of the gate running to a 7-0 lead and they never looked back in route to a 76-60 win which lifts them to 8-0 for the season.  To get to that undefeated record, the Blue Devils used three key areas of strength.

The first of course is stellar defense where they held Purdue to just 60 points on 37% shooting from the field.  Add to that, just two made three point attempts for a team known for their accuracy behind the stripe.

The two Purdue stars, Robbie Hummel and E'Twaun Moore were totally taken out of their game.  Moore scored 10 points with all of them coming 30 minutes into the game.  Hummel tallied 15 points to go with 10 boards, but Duke soph Kyle Singler frustrated the pre season Big Ten Player of the Year pick throughout the game.

Speaking of Singler, he continued his tenacious play with 20 points to go with a career tying effort 12 rebounds.  He was clearly the best player on the court this evening and showed why he is one of the elite players in the land.

Then there was another nice effort from the free throw stripe which has also been and early season strength.   They connected on 20 of 26 for the game while hitting many down the stretch not allowing a comeback attempt by the countries ninth ranked team.

The third area of mention which contributed to a convincing Blue Devil victory was their work on the boards where they out rebounded the home team by a whopping 49-29 margin.  Krzyzewski made board work an off season priority and the team has improved significantly and was the second best rebounding team in the conference going into the game.

Speaking of board work, Brian Zoubek scored just 4 points, but garnered 8 rebounds in just eleven minutes of play.  Not to be outdone, Henderson took his early season offensive struggles in stride by going to the glass for 8 defensive rebounds and led his team with five assists.

Jon Scheyer tied Singler for the scoring lead with twenty points, three being three point buckets.  Smith who was in foul trouble throughout the contest added 12 points. Paulus had 7 points, McClure 6 and Thomas 5 points and the aforementioned Henderson 2 points to round out the scoring for Duke.

In the end, Duke showed their experience in making Purdue play their style of game.  It was the Blue Devils most consistent effort from begging to end on the season as well.  It was also a game which showed that Duke was having fun playing and that made for an impressive team effort.

Duke went to 10-0 in the Challenge and will now face Michigan for the second time this season in Ann Arbor on Saturday.

Official Box Score Link

Updated Facts and Figures-

• The 2008-09 season marks the 10th year of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The ACC has won each of the first nine ACC/Big Ten Challenges. ACC teams have won 56 of the 87 games played over the 10 years. The ACC and Big Ten are currently tied 3-3 in the challenge with five games remaining to be played on Wednesday.
• Duke is 10-0 all-time in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, including a 3-0 record in true road games. Boston College (3-0) is the only other undefeated team in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The previous two road games for the Blue Devils came against Michigan State in 2003 (W, 72-50) and Indiana in 2005 (W, 75-67).

• Duke improved to 8-0 with a victory on Tuesday, marking the fourth time in the past five seasons they have won their first eight games. The Blue Devils have now started the season 8-0 a total of 20 times.
• Under Mike Krzyzewski Duke has started 8-0 a total of 15 times in his 29 years. Since the 2000-01 season, the Blue Devils have gotten off to an 8-0 start in seven of the nine seasons.
• The school record for most wins to start a season is 17 set by the 1991-92 national championship team and the 2005-06 squad.

• The Blue Devils played their first true road game of the 2008-09 season on Tuesday at Purdue. Duke has now won 12 of its last 13 road openers with the only loss coming at Georgia Tech on Jan. 10, 2007. Under Coach K, Duke now has a 22-7 record in road openers.

• In overall road games, Duke has now posted a 185-95 record under Coach K. The Blue Devils have posted a winning record on the road in five straight seasons and 11 of the past 12 years. Since 1996-97, Duke has recorded an 90-30 (.750) record on the road.

• Duke began December with a 16-point victory at Purdue on Tuesday. Under Coach K, the Blue Devils now have a 153-24 all-time record in the month of December.
• The Blue Devils are now 45-2 in December since 1999-2000 with the only losses coming to No. 3 Stanford (84-83) on Dec. 21, 2000 and No. 11 Pittsburgh in overtime (65-64) on Dec. 20, 2007.
• When playing on Dec. 2, Duke is now 15-5 all-time, including a 9-2 record under Coach K.

• Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski earned his 811th victory as a head coach on Tuesday. He ranks fifth all-time in NCAA Division I history for career victories and is first among active coaches.

• Krzyzewski is now 19 victories shy of Jim Phelan for fourth all-time.

• Coach K now has 738 wins as the head coach at Duke, ranking him sixth in NCAA Division I history for victories at one school and second among active coaches (Jim Boeheim, Syracuse – 771). Krzyzewski is 21 wins shy of Western Kentucky’s Ed Diddle for fifth all-time.

• Krzyzewski’s 811 victories are the second most by a head coach through 34 years of coaching. Only Dean Smith of North Carolina won more games with 830 victories.

• Duke scored 76 points against Purdue and has scored at least 70 points in all eight games of 2008-09. The Blue Devils are 652-129 under Coach K when scoring 70 or more points.

• The Blue Devils made 8-of-22 (.364) from behind the three-point line. In the last two games, Duke has 18 made treys after only making 19 in its previous four outings.

• Duke made 20-of-26 (.769) from the free throw line. It was the fourth time this season the Blue Devils made at least 20 free throws. Purdue only attempted 20 free throws, making it six of the eight games this year that Duke has made as much or more free throws than its opponent has attempted.
• The Blue Devils outrebounded the Boilermakers 49-29. Duke has outrebounded its opponents 339-248 on the season, a margin of +11.4 per game. The Blue Devils have now grabbed at least 20 more rebounds than its opponent twice this season.
• Duke had 16 offensive rebounds, the third time on the season they have had at least 15 offensive boards. The offensive rebounds led to an 18-9 advantage in second chance points.

• Duke held Purdue to 60 points and has now held its opponent to 60 or fewer points in six of the eight games this season.

• Purdue shot just .373 (22-of-59) from the field on Tuesday. The Blue Devils have held six opponents to under 40 percent from the floor this year. Duke is 285-9 under Coach K when holding an opponent under 40 percent shooting.

• The Blue Devils also held Purdue to just 2-of-13 (.154) from behind the three-point line. It marked the second straight game and third time this season the Blue Devils held an opponent under 20 percent from long range. It was the 121st time in school history the Blue Devils have held its opponent under 20 percent from deep. Duke has a 109-12 record in those contests.

• The two made treys by Purdue were a season low by a Duke opponent. The Boilermakers were averaging 7.7 made three-point field goals per game coming into Tuesday’s contest.[/private]

General Basketball Recruiting Update is up

John Wall played in Cameron during the Gibbons TOC
John Wall played in Cameron during the Gibbons TOC

The undercurrent of information has been a little quiet of late, mainly due to the flurry of November and early December games.  But some tidbits are starting to trickle back in and December will allow us to cover the likes of John Wall and current commitments in person as their seasons are now in full swing.  Here is an update on Duke targets -



[private] Harrison Barnes is set to begin his high school basketball season.  You can follow his team by going to this LINK.  Duke is in weekly touch with Barnes and they feel as if there is a solid relationship foundation which they will build upon.

There are a lot of questions concerning John Wall, but one must first understand that his camp is in no hurry to amp up his recruitment.  Much like Boynton's recruitment, this one will go on for awhile, so you may as well relax until Spring.  Duke is in constant touch with his camp and the two have been trying to work out an on campus visit.  With the Blue Devils playing in season, they must keep their concentration on the business at hand while continuing their get to know Wall efforts.  Coach K is the lead in this one, but he will be assisted by his entire staff.  Most recently, Coach K and Nate James visited a Church of God game to check out Wall.  They will cover his games when they can throughout his entire season.  Wall has a handler named Brian Clifton.  Handlers are always under scrutiny in recruiting circles for many of them have been known to sink their claws in for eventual favors.  There is no reason to believe that this is the case with concerns to John in that they stepped in when he needed some guidance.  In short, one never knows for sure.  Wall is likely a one and done player and he could go many ways with his eventual choice.  He would be in a really high profile situation at Duke, which works to both parties advantage.  He could go to other schools and coast through while being the man.  The Blue Devil Nation will keep close tabs on this situation which is in it's infancy at this time.

Our most recent interview was with Josh Smith who has the Devils on his list.  Duke will not back out, but they are looking for and or paying attention to how his family handles the recruitment.   The Smith's have not ruled out an early commitment and if that happens you can bet it's going to be on the West Coast.  This one will not get real serious until March or April.  It remains to be seen if Smith pays his own way for a Triangle visit.  If this happens, he will likely visit Duke and UNC.  

Duke talks to Brandon Knight in one way or another weekly.  A lot of rumors have said he is Florida bound, but he hasn't told the Devils this.  As you can see rumors are a dime a dozen in that he got out of a recent UF visit while not committing.  While Boynton is at UF, this duo has to breakup at some point and time and college may be that time.  Knight was a confessed UConn fan growing up and certainly has ties in his home state.  UF has been managing to keep their own in state of late and common sense tells you that it can sometimes be a better "family" choice than an individual one.  Knight knows Duke wants him, but Wall is at the forefront until he makes his selection.

Duke will not settle on other 2010 prospects until the picture clears with current prospects.  You can bet that they will be out and about as soon as the AAU season opens looking for kids that fit.

While it has been a slow period for recruiting news, it's on the verge of picking up.  We'll be covering John Wall and others at the upcoming Glaxo Invitational just after Christmas.  We are also preparing for the use of video come AAU season and some almost real time ways of reporting.

As many long time members know, there are slow periods and then it opens up like a severe storm without warning.  We are carrying most of our in season current player interviews to premium starting at the end of this week.  This is coverage that cannot be found at Scout or some other sites.

We've been stretched a little thin of late, but I expect to finally make some long awaited additions in the coming days.  We will hopefully have photo galleries back soon.  As usual, thanks for being a part of the Blue Devil Nation. [/private]

Duke – Purdue Game Notes


Game 8  •  ACC/Big Ten Challenge

[7 AP/5 Coaches] Duke (7-0) vs. [10 AP/9 Coaches] Purdue (5-1)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008  •  9:05 PM ET  •  ESPN

Mackey Arena (14,123)  •  West Lafayette, Ind.

Game Quick Facts

TV: ESPN; Dan Shulman (play-by-play), Dick Vitale (analyst), Doris Burke (sideline).

Radio: Duke Radio Network (flagship WDNC 620 AM in Durham); Bob Harris (play-by-play), John Roth (analyst) and Matthew Laurance (sideline).

All-time Series: Duke trails the all-time series 4-1. The two teams have met twice in the regular season and three times in

Henderson takes aim/copyright BDNP
Henderson takes aim/copyright BDNP

postseason play. Purdue posted a 78-68 win over Duke in the finals of the 2003 Great Alaska Shootout in the last meeting between the two schools.


Mike Krzyzewski

Overall Record: 810-267 (34th year)

Duke Record: 737-208 (29th year)

vs. Purdue: 1-2

Matt Painter

Overall Record: 86-46 (fourth year)

Purdue Record: 61-41 (third year)

Blue Devil Bits

l Duke is 7-0 on the year, marking the 22nd time in school history and 15th time under Mike Krzyzewski it has opened the season with seven straight wins. The Blue Devils have started the season with at least seven straight wins in seven of the last nine years.

l The Blue Devils are ranked 7th in the AP poll and fifth in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll.

l Purdue, ranked 10th in the AP poll and ninth the coaches poll, is Duke’s first ranked opponent of the season. The Blue Devils are 159-111 under Coach K against ranked teams.

l Duke is coming off a 95-72 win over Duquesne on Friday, Nov. 29. The Blue Devils shot a season-best 54.7 percent (35-of-64) from the field in the win.

l Lance Thomas had a career-high 21 points on 8-of-8 shooting from the field and 5-of-6 from the foul line against Duquesne.

l Sophomore Kyle Singler had 17 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals on Friday. He led the team in rebounds, assists and steals against the Dukes. Singler has now led the team in assists in five straight games.

l Duke made a season-high 10 three-pointers in its last outing, including three from senior Greg Paulus, who missed the Montana game with a right forearm contusion.

Numbers Game

l Duke is 9-0 all-time in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, including a 2-0 record in true road games. Boston College (2-0) is the only other team undefeated in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

l The ACC has won each of the first nine ACC/Big Ten Challenges. ACC teams have won 56 of the 86 games played in the challenge.

l Duke is 61-23 all-time against teams currently in the Big Ten. The Blue Devils have won six straight contests against Big Ten opponents (last loss was 78-68 versus Michigan State on March 25, 2005), including a 71-56 win over Michigan on Nov. 21 in the championship game of the 2008 2K Sports Classic. Duke is scheduled to play Michigan again on Dec. 6.

l Duke is 152-24 all-time in the month of December under Coach K. The Blue Devils are 44-2 in the month since 1999-2000.

l Duke is 268-52 this decade, more wins than any other team in the NCAA. The win total ranks as the ninth-most in any decade by a team in NCAA history.

l The Blue Devils are 8-6 all-time against teams ranked 10th in the AP poll.

l Kyle Singler leads the Blue Devils in scoring (16.7 ppg.), rebounding (6.9 rpg.) and assists (23). Danny Ferry was the last Blue Devil to lead the team in all three categories during the 1986-87 season. Singler also leads the team in three-point field goals (10) and is second in steals (12).

l Junior Lance Thomas is shooting a team-high 67.6 percent (23-of-34) from the field this season. He was a perfect 8-of-8 from the field against Duquesne, tied for the ninth most field goal attempts in a game without a miss in school history.

l Sophomore Nolan Smith is averaging 12.4 points per game, an increase of 6.5 ppg. from last season. Smith has scored in double figures in six of seven games and led the team in scoring in twice this season.

| Sophomore Kyle Singler is averaging 7.1 free throw attempts per game this season. He is 37-of-50 (.740) from the foul line. Last year, Singler averaged just 3.1 free throw attempts per game.

l Duke has four players averaging over 10.0 points per game. Kyle Singler leads the way at 16.7 ppg., while Nolan Smith (12.4), Jon Scheyer (12.0) and Gerald Henderson (11.4) are also averaging double figures in scoring. The Blue Devils have had at least four double figure scorers in five of seven games this season.

l The Blue Devils have recorded 14 steals in each of the past two games. Duke ranks third in the ACC with 10.9 steals per game. Junior Jon Scheyer is sixth in the ACC with 2.1 steals per game.

l Duke is second in the ACC in rebound margin at +10.1 rebounds per game. The Blue Devils have outrebounded five of their seven opponents and have grabbed 40+ rebounds in a game five times.

l Duke has outscored its opponents 276-170 in the paint this season. The Blue Devils scored 48 points in the paint in each of the past two games.

l The Blue Devils are shooting .546 (153-of-280) from inside the three-point arc this season. Duke is shooting .478 (193-of-404) from the field overall and .323 (40-of-123) from three-point distance.


Duke travels to Purdue in ACC – Big Ten Challenge

[private]In an August 27, 2008, preview of Duke's out-of-conference schedule I wrote the following passage on Purdue:

"The early season road game at Purdue will be a litmus test for the Blue Devils. Purdue, ranked number six in the CBS Sportsline preseason poll, returns all but one player off of last season’s 27-9 squad. Small forward Robbie Hummel was First Team All Big Ten, guard E’Twaun Moore was Second Team All Big Ten, and guard Chris Kramer was voted Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. The Boilermakers are talented and experienced as they return 65.1 of the 69.6 points per game scored last season. On defense, Purdue forced their opponents to turn the ball over an average of 17.4 times per game. This will be a tough road game and should be a good indicator of Duke’s toughness."

Let's revisit my words now that both teams have played six games and are set to play each other on Tuesday. The game at Purdue in the Big Ten - ACC Challenge will be a tough road game and a litmus test for the Blue Devils. Purdue will enter the game with a 5 - 1 record after dropping an 87 - 82 overtime decision to Oklahoma in the championship game of Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off. Oklahoma made 33 - 46 free throw attempts in the game with Purdue only going to the line for five attempts of which they made four.

The Boilermakers are a perimeter oriented team with a couple of big players providing some balance. Nemanja Calasan (6'9" 250) is averaging 10.7 points and 4.8 rebounds per game, while JaJuan Johnson (6'10 215) is contributing 9.8 points per contest. The big guns for Purdue are E'Twaun Moore and Robbie Hummel. The two combine to score 30.9 of the 77.7 points per game Purdue is averaging. Reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Chris Kramer is averaging 1.8 steals per contest and will be tasked to prevent Duke's perimeter gunners such as Jon Scheyer and Greg Paulus from achieving good looks at perimeter shots.

Keys to the game:

1. Free throw shooting/foul trouble will be significant. Over their first six games, Purdue has made 78 of 103 free throw attempts, while Duke has connected on 145 of 197. Duke needs to be aggressive on offense utilizing crisp ball movement and motion to create mismatches that result in fouls. While both teams have a deep bench, neither team can afford to have starters unavailable due to foul trouble.

2. Purdue is shooting 33 percent from behind the three point arc, while Duke is connecting on 31 percent. If one team gets hot from downtown it will spell trouble for the other. Both teams are perimeter oriented so this key represents strength against strength: perimeter defense versus perimeter offense.

3. Rebounding is the next statistic to keep an eye on. Duke was out rebounded by Duquense in their last game. Purdue is a quality opponent and Duke must limit second chance points in order to beat the Boilermakers. Both teams will attempt to convert long rebounds off of missed three point attempts into transition scoring opportunities.

4. Health at the point guard position is vital for the Blue Devils. Nolan Smith has been hampered by back spasms recently and he took a hard fall in the Duquense game resulting in him spending the end of the game on the bench with an ice pack on his lower back. Purdue guard E'Twaun Moore is a 6'4" offensive juggernaut so if Smith isn't near 100 percent freshman Elliot Williams may have to step up to provide on-the-ball defense against Moore.

In the end, this game should come down to which team executes their game plan and forces the other team out of their comfort zone. The teams are evenly matched and play similar styles to each other. When it comes to star power, I predict versatile forward Kyle Singler will outperform Robbie Hummel to give Duke an advantage. Purdue has the home court advantage but it will not be enough as long as the Blue Devils bring their "A" game. If Duke leaves their intensity in Durham, it could be a long evening. I’m confident “intensity” will have a first class seat on the trip to West Lafayette.

Bob's prediction: Duke 85 - Purdue 81.[/private]

Duke rips Duquense 95-72 behind Lance Thomas’ career high effort

[private]Duke finished off the month of November 7-0 with a convincing 95-72 victory over Duquesne.  It was

Thomas takes aim after intentional foul.  Copyright BDNP
Thomas takes aim after intentional foul. Copyright BDNP

perhaps Duke's best performance of the young season in that the team played balanced team ball.  Look no further for evidence than the  box score where they had 21 assists on 35 field goals.

With the exception of the last one eighth of the game where Duquense cut the lead down 16 points, it was a complete effort.  "We're not trying to win by 30 or 40 points.  We're trying to develop as a team," said Kryzyzewski.

That's been obvious to atuned Blue Devil fans, for there have been many line ups in the early going.  Afterall, Coach doesn't want his team peaking in 2008, but in 2009 when you're eventually one and done.

One of the key reason Duke won it's 64th consecutive non conference game in Cameron was the play of Lance Thomas.  This was a day when the junior would garner a career high 21 points with his hustling play.  There were several occasions where he ignited the home crowd with three point plays or goading the opponent into an intentional foul.

“In our offense, a lot of opponents like to stop what we’re doing on the perimeter, and Lance just plays off what we’re doing. A lot of times, our bigs are going to be open, and with his ability to run and beat his man down the court, he was able to get a few open layups. He embraces that role; he knows that’s how he’s going to score, and he does that every night,” said Gerald Henderson.

Kyle Singler was as steady as always with a stat line of 17 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists.  Singler has scored in double figures in all seven wins.

“I think Singler is playing great. I’m not sure there’s a kid playing in the country who loves to play more than that kid. He has so much fun playing, and he made a play at the start of the second half that was one of the

Zoubs breaks to basket after stealing the ball.  BDNP
Zoubs breaks to basket after stealing the ball. BDNP

best plays I’ve seen in years. There was a scrum of a few rebounds, and all of a sudden he came in there with two hands, got the rebound and was fouled. It was a big-time play. You don’t see a play like that. And the kid loves to play. It’s such an honor to coach that kid,” said Coach K

Nolan Smith was the only other double figure scorer with 11 points, but one must consider that Duke had 46 points off the bench in a balanced offensive attack.  Duke also continued it's nice shooting from the free throw stripe going 80%.

But the biggest difference was the Blue Devils defense, which suffocated the Duke's early in the contest which they never trailed.  The Duke's managed just 39% from the field and most onf those connections came in the last ten minutes of the game.

There is little doubt that the staff has let the team know it's time to come together for December and beyond.  While there will still be a learning curve with concerns to chemistry, the early onslaught of games prepared the team for some tough road games.

That first road game will be against a Purdue team which is known for their home court edge as evidenced by the few teams that are willing to travel there.  Pardon the pun, but Purdue will be boiling after a close overtime loss to Oklahoma which sent them to 5-1.

Shortly after that Duke visits Ann Arbor to take on a Michigan team they've already faced once in the Coaches for Cancer Classic.  In short, December will be yet another month where Krzyzewski will gauge his team.  And if that month is as successful as November was, then Duke will be in good shape going into the meat of their ACC schedule.

“It’s a great week for us, to go to two established programs on their home courts," said Coach K.

He continued, "Purdue is, I think, the best in the Big Ten, and probably one of the five or six top teams in the country. You know their crowd will make a great setting for us. We have such an opportunity to grow. Michigan – the same thing, John [Beilein] has his team playing comfortable in their style, so I think it’s another great chance for us to grow. Again, when we play Xavier in December, I like the schedule we have because it’s very challenging. That’s how you become a good team, by playing games like that.”


High School Hoops Edition No. 2

The Virginia-Pilot says anything short of a state title will be a disappointment for Shores this season. The Seahawks are led by junior guard Andre Dawkins. The 6'5" Dawkins was second team All-Tidewater last year and has given a verbal commitment to play basketball at Duke. Senior Steven Pledger, who has signed a Letter of Intent to attend Oklahoma, is Dawkin's back court mate. Atlantic Shores plays in the private schools league but the Virginia-Pilot ranks them as the third best team overall in South Hampton Roads.

Andre Dawkins scored 25 points as the Seahawks opened their season with a 66 - 32 victory over Wilson. Pledger chipped in 20 points. Atlantic Shores is back in action on Monday December 1st as they open up conference play at Stonebridge.

Ryan Kelly has scored 32, 31, and 28 points in three Ravenscroft victories to open the season. They defeated Northern Durham 76 - 57, Greenfield 75 - 68, and St. David's 82 - 48. Kelly has also had double digit rebounds in each game including 14 in the St. David’s game.  A couple of key dates to look toward are January 7, and February 4, 2009, when Ravenscroft travels to Word of God, the school which features John Wall the nation’s number one rated high school prospect according to Rivals.

Ravenscroft, Word of God, and Christ School will all participate in the GlaxoSmithKline Holiday Invitational starting December 26 and running through December 30. This is an opportunity for fans to see Duke Commitments Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly plus recruiting target John Wall in action against each other. Tournament games will be played at Broughton High School’s Holliday Gymnasium.

Brandon Knight and Pine Crest High School played their first game of the season on Wednesday November 26 and Brandon Knight made five three pointers and scored 36 points as the Panthers defeated Northeast 76 - 62. Knight is a true point guard and a coveted member of the Class of 2010. Duke is one of many colleges recruiting the talented player.

This excellent article from the Miami Herald discusses Brandon Knight and Kenny Boynton and is a must read for anyone interested in high school basketball. Knight and Boynton are two of the best players in the nation and AAU teammates, but during the high school season they go against each other head-to-head multiple times. Brandon Knight led Pine Crest to victory in three of four meetings against Kenny Boynton and American Heritage last season.[/private]