Duke smothers NC State for third straight winJan 21, 2007 - 12:48 AM RALEIGH, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Duke is a proud program. So after a two-game slide in the Atlantic Coast Conference, the Blue Devils got a little defensive.
Freshman Jon Scheyer scored 20 points to lead a balanced attack and No. 17 Duke swarmed North Carolina State, 79-56, for its third straight victory.
DeMarcus Nelson scored 15 points for the Blue Devils (16-3, 3-2 ACC), who forced 20 turnovers - 16 in the first half - as they took control of the contest with their defense, which has been stellar of late.
"Our guys played well today. They played well on the defensive end," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said.
Losses to Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech had Duke 0-2 in the ACC for the first time since the 1995-96 season. During their winning streak, the Blue Devils are allowing just 53 points per game, including just 40 in Thursday's win over Wake Forest.
"We responded well to this quick turnaround," Krzyzewski said. "We spread the ball on the offensive end and we forced turnovers on defense. We got a high percentage of good shots and we never lost that point differential. The last 11 days were tough, good days. Hopefully we grew up some as a team."
It was more of the same Saturday as Duke prevented NC State from developing any sort of offensive continuity. The Wolfpack (11-7, 1-4) shot just 34 percent (14-of-41) from the field and surrendered 25 points off their turnovers.
"The game was very discouraging from the start, especially with the way we came out," NC State coach Sidney Lowe said. "We were too distracted and kept turning the ball over. We didn't execute the pass the way we should have and our guys were trying to do too much."
NC State committed six turnovers and had just three buckets as they fell into an 18-8 hole and never climbed out. Duke built a 41-25 lead as Josh McRoberts sparked the offense with 11 points.
Consecutive 3-pointers by Nelson and Scheyer around a turnover pushed the margin to 56-34 with 14:50 to play, and Duke never looked back en route to its ninth win in its last 11 visits to the RBC Center.
"We need to get better at playing the game the way it should be played and we need to learn what it takes to beat teams in this conference," Lowe said. "Until we know how to do these things, the other teams will keep beating us."
McRoberts and Greg Paulus scored 13 points each and David McClure added 10 off the bench for Duke, which shot 52.5 percent (21-of-59) and collected 13 steals.
"We are becoming better as a team," Krzyzewski said. "We prepared with passion and played with passion. We may not win them all, but we have to keep growing and we will keep getting better."
The Blue Devils have won three in a row in the ACC by 20-plus points for the first time since February 7-14, 2002.
Brandon Costner had 20 points and 10 rebounds for NC State. Courtney Fells added 13 points.
"I thought Josh did a good job on McCauley," Krzyzewski said.
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