Duke runs roughshod over St. John'sFeb 26, 2007 - 12:37 AM NEW YORK (Ticker) -- Duke is rounding into form at the right time.
Greg Paulus scored 19 points and the 17th-ranked Blue Devils were never threatened in shredding St. John's, 67-50, in a non-conference game.
Following a four-game losing streak that has knocked it from the national rankings, Duke (22-7) has bounced back to win four in a row, including three on the road.
"We are obviously pleased about the win," Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "We were concerned about coming in the game. We have just played three really emotional games in our conference when were 5-6 and won all three, two of them away. With the young team we have, I was worried about letting up. We didn't. We were very prepared to play."
The Blue Devils embarrassed the Red Storm (15-14) from the outset, scoring the first 12 points and coasting to a 34-10 halftime lead.
Paulus scored 11 of his 19 points in the half and now has two of his three best scoring efforts this season at Madison Square Garden. The sophomore point guard had 20 points in a 61-54 win over Gonzaga at the Garden on December 21.
"I hope it keeps going over my career and I just love playing in this place," Paulus said. "I always dreamed of playing here as a kid, especially living a couple hours north of Syracuse. ... It's such a magical place with the history and all the great players and performances that have been here. It's just a special thing."
St. John's made just 3-of-22 shots (14 percent) in the opening 20 minutes in tumbling to its third straight defeat. At one point in the first half, the Red Storm went 8:18 without scoring a point.
"Give Duke a lot of credit. They have a terrific team," Red Storm coach Norm Roberts said. "We got ourselves down too much in the first half. We had some bunnies and a couple of open shots and we didn't make them.
"Losing (Anthony) Mason in the first half with fouls really hurt our team because of our lack of depth. We did compete much harder in the second half. From that aspect that was good. We just can't get ourselves down that much that early."
The Red Storm did attempt to make a game out of it in the second half, using an 8-0 run to get within 51-39 on a pair of free throws by Mason, Jr. with 4:15 to play.
They got no closer as Duke gave Krzyzewski a victory in his 900th game (702-198) at the school.
"It is always great to play in this venue," Krzyzewski said. "It is a bigger venue like you play in the NCAA tournament. We tried to simulate it with one-day preparation like the second game of a weekend if we are fortunate to win one game.
"It is rehearsal. March is bigger games and you are constantly getting your team ready for that."
DeMarcus Nelson scored 14 points and freshman Jon Scheyer 11 for the Blue Devils, who finish the regular season with Atlantic Coast Conference games against Maryland and North Carolina.
Lamont Hamilton had 17 points for St. John's, which shot 4-of-15 from 3-point range.
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