for this game

Duke bounces back, drubs St. John's

Feb 24, 2008 - 3:46 AM DURHAM, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Taking a break from league play proved to be a perfect respite for Duke.

Freshman Kyle Singler scored 16 points as the fourth-ranked Blue Devils snapped a two-game losing streak with an 86-56 blowout of St. John's on Saturday.

Gerald Henderson and freshman Nolan Smith added 13 points for Duke (23-3), which extended its home winning streak against non-conference opponents to 59 games.

"It's been a long week for us starting last Sunday night with two games on the road," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "The two losses knocked us back; we're not an established team yet."

The Blue Devils had endured back-to-back losses in which they gave up an average of 90.5 points, prompting Krzyzewski to concede "something is missing."

The longtime Duke coach was in better spirits watching the way his team responded against the Red Storm.

"We're 23-3. We weren't ready to jump off a bridge with two losses," Krzyzewski said. "We've had to fight for everything this year, it's not like we've been blowing teams out in the league. We just have to stay on our course and sometimes that course means you're going to get beat.

"What you do after you get beat and how do you get better are questions that we have to answer."

For a short while it appeared that might not change Saturday. St. John's (10-16) scored the first seven points of the game and raced to a 9-2 lead, holding Duke without a field goal for the first 3 1/2 minutes.

The malaise came to an abrupt end, however, as the Blue Devils ran off the next seven points en route to outscoring the Red Storm, 45-16, over the next 15 1/2 minutes.

"They can beat you in so many ways," St. John's coach Norm Roberts said. "They're so quick and they can really shoot the three. We didn't do a great job in transition and I think a lot of it happened because we missed a lot of open shots which led to long rebounds."

Scheyer and Singler combined for 23 points in the game-breaking spurt to lead Duke to its fifth straight win over St. John's, which also lost its fifth consecutive contest overall.

Sophomore center Brian Zoubek, who had missed nine games due to a foot injury, contributed 11 points and 13 rebounds for the Blue Devils.

"Brian is an asset and now we know that he's going to be with us," Krzyzewski said. "His foot has responded to the last one and a half, two weeks and now we have to put some plays in where he gets some touches."

Making his first start of the season, Scheyer scored eight points in a 10-0 run, including back-to-back 3-pointers, to pad the lead to 44-25 en route to a cushion of 47-29 at the break.

Scheyer went scoreless in the second half but finished with 12 points for Duke, which hit 10-of-25 from the arc.

Freshman D.J. Kennedy was the only player in double figures with 16 points for the Red Storm, who shot 35 percent (20-of-57) from the floor.

Anthony Mason Jr. and freshman Justin Burrell, who entered averaging a combined 25 points for St. John's, were held to four and five, respectively.

"When Anthony Mason, Jr., doesn't have a good day but he's trying really hard and Justin Burrell doesn't shoot it well, that's really going to hurt our scoring," Roberts said. "Give Duke credit; they did a great job guarding them, too."