for this game

Henderson, Duke easily overmatch St. John's once again

Feb 20, 2009 - 6:12 AM NEW YORK (Ticker) -- A matchup with struggling St. John's was all Duke needed to get back on track.

Gerald Henderson scored 19 points as the ninth-ranked Blue Devils snapped a two-game skid with a 76-69 victory over the Red Storm in Thursday's non-conference matchup.

Jon Scheyer had 18 points and Kyle Singler added 15 for Duke (21-5), which beat St. John's for the sixth straight time, a series that has included a number of routs in recent years.

The Blue Devils, who were routed by North Carolina before losing at Boston College on Sunday, have beaten the Red Storm by an average of 16.5 points over the last six meetings despite a late charge by the hosts in this one.

"This has been a tough time for us, these last couple weeks," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski told the Charlotte Observer. "We found out two new things today (with Elliot Williams and Miles Plumlee) which were good. We've got to get the other guys playing at the level we know we can play at."

For St. John's (12-14), the loss was its fifth straight and 13th in its last 16 games.

The Red Storm actually started the game well offensively, shooting 61 percent (11-of-18) in the first half. However, they found themselves down by 11 points at 37-26 due to 14 turnovers.

St. John's went on to finish with 18 giveaways while going 54 percent (27-of-50) from the floor.

Duke maintained a nice cushion through most of the second half, pulling ahead, 50-34, with 14:19 to play behind an 11-2 run.

D.J. Kennedy scored 20 points for St. John's.

Despite Duke's success in the series, Krzyzewski made a change to the starting lineup, inserting Williams as a guard. The freshman, who is more known for his defense, responded well, scoring a season-high 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting.

"It was nice," Williams told the Observer. "I was starting for Duke as a freshman at Madison Square Garden. I just tried to do the best I could. I put a lot of ball pressure on there and tried to come out with a win."

With normal point guard Greg Paulus pulled out, Scheyer moved over from shooting guard to handle the duties running the offense.

"It's not a thing where I'm just playing point guard for 40 minutes," Scheyer told the newspaper. "If someone is pressuring me, I can just hit Kyle. I hit Kyle a couple times. He brought it up. Or Gerald can. Or Elliot in that lineup. It's not really a big deal."

Although Paulus and other former starting guard Nolan Smith came off the bench, the Blue Devils ended up with only four points from their reserves. That is something that will need to improve as Duke hosts Wake Forest on Sunday.