Duke routs struggling MichiganDec 8, 2007 - 10:44 PM By Brian Joura PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
DURHAM, North Carolina (Ticker) -- No. 6 Duke continued its mastery of non-conference opponents in general and Michigan in particular on Saturday.
Freshman Nolan Smith came off the bench to score 17 points and lead the Blue Devils to a 95-67 rout of the Wolverines.
It was the sixth straight win for Duke over Michigan and extended its lead in the all-time series to 18-7. The Blue Devils also won their 56th consecutive non-conference home game.
Both teams came in not having played for a week and looked rusty as the contest was sloppy throughout most of the first half.
"We wanted to press and at the start of the game, we were caught in between," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "Our transition defense was not very good.
"They were running by us. It took us awhile to make that adjustment. We were a little bit fortunate they missed some shots."
Duke finally broke it open with a 24-4 run over a 10-minute span in the first half.
"Nolan, Greg (Paulus), DeMarcus (Nelson), Jon (Scheyer) and Taylor (King) gave us a big boost," Krzyzewski added. "There were some scrappy exchanges."
Averaging under five points per game, Smith started the run with a layup and scored 11 points during the pivotal stretch. He knocked down a 3-pointer to give the Blue Devils a 32-14 lead with just over four minutes left in the half.
"I'm really proud of Nolan," Krzyzewski said. "Nolan had his best week of practice and he played like it."
Smith combined with Paulus, Duke's starting point guard, to key the run.
"We've been working on it in practice," Smith said. "Greg and I, we were waiting for the chance to play together so when it came today, he pulled me aside and said, 'Let's make the most of this.'"
Nelson also was quick to praise Smith, who helped the Blue Devils improve to 8-0.
"He really plays at a fast pace but under control," Nelson said. "And, tonight he was really efficient with his moves and was really sharp. For our team to be really good, we're going to need him to play the way he did today."
The Wolverines (3-6) had trouble getting untracked in the first half, hitting just 9-of-36 shots in the opening 20 minutes.
Duke did not fare much better, shooting 36.6 percent, but made 6-of-16 shots from beyond the arc.
The only player for Michigan to have success early was DeShawn Sims, who scored nine in the first half and finished with a team-high 12.
But the Blue Devils moved defensive stopper DeMarcus Nelson to Sims. Despite giving up four inches, Nelson put the clamps on the taller player, helping Duke go on its run.
"It was basically five, six, seven points and then all of a sudden, boom, a little spurt," Wolverines coach John Beilein said. "That's just where our inexperience comes in."
The inexperienced Wolverines, who start two freshmen in the backcourt, suffered their fourth straight loss.
The streak included a 62-51 loss to Harvard and former Michigan coach Tommy Amaker in the Wolverines' last game.
However, three of Michigan's six losses have come to teams ranked in the top 10.
Both teams shot better but the Blue Devils continued to pull away. Duke extended to a 31-point lead and the only question was if it would crack the 100-point plateau for the second time this season.
The Blue Devils had to be content with 95 points, their highest total since scoring 121 in their season-opening victory over North Carolina Central.
- NCAA BB
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
MICHIGAN 23 44 67
DUKE (7) 41 54 95 FINAL
Dec 8 4:02 PM
- NCAA BB
(7) DUKE 41 HALFTIME
Dec 8 2:52 PM
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