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Freshman Zoubek leads Duke past Columbia

Nov 13, 2006 - 4:26 AM DURHAM, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Duke got a big debut from its biggest player.

Freshman center Brian Zoubek scored 18 points to lead No. 11 Duke to an 86-43 romp over Columbia in the opening round of the College Basketball Experience Classic.

One of three Duke players in double figures, the 7-foot Zoubek also showed a nice touch at the free throw line, making 10-of-13 shots.

"They could see that he really wanted the ball," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said of Zoubek. "The thing about Brian is that he'll pass the ball, too. If we cut or relocate off of him, our guys have no problem getting it to him. He has good footwork. He was really well-coached in high school; all of our freshmen were."

The Blue Devils (1-0) shot a sizzling 58 percent (28-of-48) from the floor, dominated Columbia on the backboards, 36-21, and forced 19 turnovers.

Columbia stayed within 11-10 early, but freshman guard Jon Scheyer hit four 3-pointers to help Duke pull away to a 46-24 halftime lead.

Blue Devils star forward Josh McRoberts filled out the stat sheet, scoring eight points to go along with seven rebounds, three blocks and three assists.

Sophomore guard Greg Paulus also saw his first action for Duke after missing most of the preseason with a foot injury. He had two points and seven assists.

"To see Greg out there for about 20 minutes after only practicing a couple days was really good. Obviously he'll keep getting better and better," Krzyzewski said. "I know he was a little anxious tonight. ... He'll be fine. It was encouraging to have him back."

Duke will play Georgia Southern in the title game on Monday night at 7 p.m. Columbia meets Cal-Davis in the consolation contest.

John Baumann scored 21 points for Columbia (0-1), which shot 29 percent (15-of-51) and was just 4-of-17 from the arc.

"The speed of the game as the game wears on, I thought we had some open looks we couldn't make," Columbia coach Joe Jones said. "I thought it took the wind out of our sails when we did have some touches inside, we went up strong, but they have two pros in there who made some unbelievable plays. I thought McRoberts and Zoubek just made some great blocks inside."