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Singler, Duke blow out North Carolina-Asheville

Dec 18, 2008 - 4:21 AM DURHAM, North Carolina (Ticker) -- After a long layoff, Duke took out its frustrations on North Carolina-Asheville.

Kyle Singler led a balanced attack with 14 points and eight rebounds as sixth-ranked Duke crushed North Carolina-Asheville, 99-56, on Wednesday.

Gerald Henderson also scored 14 points and Jon Scheyer added 13 for the Blue Devils (9-1), who had six players score in double figures.

Duke had not played since December 6 when it suffered its first loss of the campaign, an 81-73 setback at Michigan.

"I thought with the break that we had with exams, I thought we played well tonight, especially in the second half," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "(In the second half,) we didn't turn the ball over when in the first half we turned it over 12 times. It's tough to defend people going down for layups off your turnovers."

The Blue Devils took it to the Bulldogs from the start as Singler made a pair of 3-pointers during a 13-2 run to help Duke to a 23-13 lead with 12:06 left in the first half.

"We wanted to come in here and compete, force tempo and just play the way we can play," Singler said. "I think we did a good job of that - not a great job. I thought the guys played hard and we shot the ball pretty well."

Duke made four consecutive shots during a 10-0 burst midway through the first half to extend the lead to 37-19 with 8:10 left. The Blue Devils held a 52-35 lead at intermission.

It was more of the same in the second half as Singler capped a 9-0 run with a dunk to open a 67-40 bulge with 13:25 left to play. The Blue Devils were never threatened the rest of the way and led by as many as 45 late in the contest.

Duke plays No. 7 Xavier on Saturday.

"We considered this like an NCAA Tournament game," Singler said. "UNC-Asheville is a very good team, the type of team you'd play in the first round. And Xavier, they're a good team, so it's like the NCAA Tournament where you're going to play a good team and then turn around and play another good team.

"You just have to stay focused."

Greg Paulus, Nolan Smith and Brian Zoubek scored 12 points apiece for Duke, which shot 52 percent (36-of-69) from the floor and connected on 11-of-27 from the arc.

The Blue Devils did not have one player play more than 22 minutes and used a starting lineup that featured five guys making their first start of the season.

"We felt that we needed to use the game to take a look at a lot of different kids and situations," Krzyzewski said. "We had 11 youngsters play double-digit minutes. I thought that was a good way of doing it, I thought we got better.

"There's never a thing you do where a message is not intended. The message is that we have confidence in our bench. It's to show confidence in the kids that we need."

Reid Augst had 15 points and nine rebounds to pace the Bulldogs (4-6), who committed 24 turnovers and were outrebounded, 42-24.