Miami
5Duke
73 - 88 Final
  for this game

Nelson, Duke have little trouble in ninth straight win

Feb 3, 2008 - 5:54 AM DURHAM, North Carolina (Ticker) -- DeMarcus Nelson made the most of facing a favorable opponent.

Nelson scored 21 points as third-ranked Duke captured its ninth consecutive win with an 88-73 victory over Miami in the Atlantic Coast Conference on Saturday.

Greg Paulus had 16 points and freshman Kyle Singler added 14 for the Blue Devils (19-1, 7-0 ACC), who also captured their 10th straight meeting with the Hurricanes.

Duke showed its stamina, taking its second game inside the last three days.

"We're really pleased with the win," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "To play two games in about 42 hours and come away two wins is not an easy thing to do, especially against two hungry teams like N.C. State and Miami."

Despite the close proximity of games, Duke did not need long to get going, taking a 15-9 advantage on a 3-pointer by Paulus with just over six minutes in. It went on to hold a 38-31 lead at the half before Nelson took off after the break.

The senior guard, who shot 6-of-11 from the field and 9-of-14 on free throws, scored 19 points after intermission, including eight of his team's first 10.

"This kid's having one of the best years of any of the seniors I've coached," Krzyzewski said. "He hasn't had a bad game, and in the conference, they've all been great games not just good ones. I'm using him everywhere, offense and defense. He's been a rock. There's no more valuable player for us than him. It's not even close."

Nelson's jumper with 17:41 remaining extended the cushion to 47-38 and came back with a dunk just moments later.

"(I was) just going out there and trying to set the tone for us offensively and get guys going," Nelson said. "I missed some easy shots myself in the first half. It was just the flow of the game where I was able to get some good looks. My teammates found me in transition and just turned some defense into offense."

Freshman Taylor King hit a 3-pointer to make it 62-44 with 13:32 left and Nelson converted two free throws more than three minutes later to make it 69-54.

Along with shooting 52 percent (15-of-29) in the second half, the Blue Devils feasted on the 14 total turnovers from the Hurricanes, turning them into 23 points.

"I thought our defense though was good enough to give us the lead though," Krzyzewski said. "I just told the guys at halftime, 'Don't worry about offense. If you worry about offense, you'll continue to miss shots. Worry about defense that's the consistent part of the game. Our defense might get us some offense.' And it did."

Freshman Nolan Smith scored nine points and Gerald Henderson added eight and six rebounds for the Blue Devils, who finished with a 41-36 edge on the boards despite still missing Brian Zoubek due to a broken foot.

"A lot of people say we're not really big or don't have a big man, but for some reason sometimes we do outrebound teams," Singler said. "At the end of the game, if we find ourselves outrebounding teams, it's definitely a plus. That's something special about our team mostly our guards get the rebounds, so we're just out there trying to get a piece of our man and wherever the ball goes, it's a fight for position and go grab that ball."

"Sometimes rebounding isn't all about height," Miami coach Frank Haith said. "I know the past couple of years, we weren't particularly big we played with three guards but we were one of the better rebounding teams in the league. It's about determination and going after loose balls, and they got a lot of loose rebounds."

James Dews had 15 points to lead five players in double figures for Miami (15-6, 2-5), which dropped to 0-4 in conference road games.

Jimmy Graham scored 13 points and Jack McClinton, Brian Asbury and Raymond Hicks all had 10 for the Hurricanes, who went 3-of-11 on 3-pointers and converted just 57 percent (12-of-21) of their free throws.