The Kyrie Irving-less Duke Blue Devils coasted past St. Louis with a lockdown defensive effort and walked away with a 84-47 victory pushing their season record to 10-0. Duke was led by their senior duo of Kyle Singlerand Nolan Smith who combined for 43 points, 11 rebounds and 5 steals.
Nolan Smith findng his comfort zone at the PG position
Nolan Smith played his second full game at the point guard position and he told BDN he was much more comfortable in the role in the lockerroom which you can hear via BDN audio shortly. Smith tallied 22 points and a team high 5 assists to go withhis 2 steals. The senior Smith took it upon himself to rise to the occasion today with his play.
Kyle is Kyle
Singler played like a senior as well grabbing a board or nailing a jumper when Duke needed one. Singler told BDN he was really enjoying his senior season and that he looked forward to finishing it up with a bang. We have some good audio with Singler coming as well. Singler has now started 78 consecutive games at Duke and his 120 career starts ties him at 11th on the all time list. Klyle passed Shelden Williams and Grant Hill on Duke's All Time Leading Scorers list in today's win. His 3 steals were a season high.
Duke scored 31 points off turnovers and they continue withtheir emphasis on defense in the four December games. Remember, we told you not one single Duke opponent would score in the 60's this month and thanks to the Blue Devils, they're making me a prophet. Duke held the Billikens to 1 made three point field goal.
Great game for Josh Hairston
Duke freshman Josh Hairston scored his first career double figure scoring game at Duke with 12 points off the bench. Add 4 rebounds and 2 steals and he had his best game in a Duke uniform statistically. Interestingly, Josh was the program cover boy today and we'll have a nice one on one interview coming from the Virginia native tomorrow. Duke Assistant Coach Chris Collins praised his effort in the post game press conference.
Speaking of Collins ...
Duke Assistant Coach Chris Collins filled in for Coach K today who had family matters to attend to and he was a natural. Collins is never short for an answer and he bounces them back with little pondering. It is plain to see that he will one day be at the podium as a head coach.
On Kyrie ...
It's wait and see according to Collins and the powers that be will access his condition when the cast is removed. No firm timelines have been set as of yet. I still feel good about his return, call it a somewhat educated hunch, but it is nothing more than that. Irving cheered from the sideline on his crutches and laughed it up with teammates as the game became out of reach for the visitors.
Miles Plumlee just short of a double-double
Miles dropped 9 points and snagged 9 rebounds which was just shy of a double-double. We told you that Duke would take December to get Seth Curry and Miles going and so far, it is working out wonderfully for Miles. Let's not forget Miles 2 steals either. Meanwhile, his brother Mason got just 11 minutes of play and we look for him to get back in the groove when Duke takes on Elon nine days from now.
Next up, exams and Christmas break
Many students were studying for exams this week and it showed in the crowd, but the Crazies who were there did a good job of cheering. The Duke players will now concentrate fully on exams before they get back to action on December the 20th in a game which even fewer students will be in the stands. With the win over Elon, Coach K ties Dean Smith atop the All Time NCAA win list and that means he breaks Smith's record in Greensboro on December 29th which is quite a milestone. Have you got your tickets yet? They're still available.
Additional Notes - Today was the 200thtime Duke played as a number one ranked team. Duke now has 83 straight home wins over non conference opponents in Cameron Indoor Stadium, the longest such streak in the country. Duke has won 52 straight games int he month of December. Duke has scored 80 or more points in 8 straight games now. Without further ado, here are Coach Chris Collins post game comments vis BDN Audio -
Just press play -