Thomas, Duke pound DuquesneNov 29, 2008 - 12:47 AM DURHAM, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Lance Thomas scored a career-high 21 points off the bench as fifth-ranked Duke cruised to its 64th consecutive home victory over a non-conference team Friday, posting a 95-72 triumph over Duquesne.
The starters did their part as well. Kyle Singler finished with 17 points and seven rebounds and Nolan Smith scored 11 for the Blue Devils (7-0), who had 11 different players score at least three points.
"I thought we were making the extra pass very well today," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "Our lead is a result of Duke scoring, and not a certain player scoring, and that's when it's always the best. It's when you don't even know who scored, just that we scored."
Damian Saunders collected 22 points, 10 boards and two blocks for the Dukes (4-1), who were overmatched from the start and trailed the entire contest.
Thomas made all eight of his attempts from the field and pulled down six rebounds with a block, helping Duke turn the game into a rout.
"Lance is just doing whatever he can to get his hands on rebounds," Smith said. "The way he's running the floor, he's probably one of our best athletes on the team. He and Kyle, you put them with any point guard in the country and I'm sure they can run with them."
"When big guys like Lance run the floor really hard, it spreads the offense and it makes it easier for guards on the perimeter to drive," junior Martynas Pocius added. "Whether it's driving, or driving and kicking, it really helps our offense by spreading everyone out."
The junior forward's slam dunk midway through the first half highlighted the club's 13-2 run, which extended its advantage to 22-8.
"I feel like (that performance) was a little long overdue," Thomas said. "On any given night, any of our guys can actually have a game like that. We have such a balanced team, such a deep team, that something like that can happen on any given night and it says a lot about our team that we can do that."
The Blue Devils took a 52-32 edge into the break and continued to use their up-tempo offense and opportunistic defense to pile on the points in the second half.
Duke, which shot 55 percent (35-of-64) from the field, made 14 steals and had many easy buckets in transition.
"We did a good job once we stopped their initial thrust and guys started anticipating the passing lanes better," Krzyzewski said. "You could almost hear us talking well and playing as one on defense, where a couple of our breakaways were a result of our defense.
"Although we had about a 20-point lead at one point, our defense gave us the bigger lead and made it difficult for them to score."
Duquesne tried to match the Blue Devils' fast-paced style with little success. The Dukes committed 19 turnovers and shot just 40 percent (27-of-68), including 3-of-21 from the arc.
"We like to run the fast break on a made basket," Duquesne coach Ron Everhart said. "Unfortunately, there were a lot of makes on Duke's end today, so we got a lot of practice with it.
"I don't think there was a situation where we didn't give effort. For the first time this year, we didn't shoot the ball well from three and we missed some pretty good looks, especially early in the game."
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