for this game

Scheyer, Duke use big first half to sink Xavier

Dec 21, 2008 - 1:06 AM EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- Hot start or not, Duke was playing in a place it nearly never loses.

Jon Scheyer scored 16 of his 23 points in the first half as sixth-ranked Duke used a hot-shooting first half to top No. 7 Xavier, 82-64, at the IZOD Center on Saturday.

Gerald Henderson added 19 points for the Blue Devils (10-1), who continued their big run of success at the building previously known as Continental Airlines Arena, improving to 18-1 all-time including 10-0 in the NCAA Tournament.

"This place has been a magical place for us and also for NCAA basketball," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "We go on the court, I don't go out until the last few minutes and I was just really jacked up for the game and the court looked great.

"Scheyer and G (Gerald Henderson) were outstanding. We played really well as a team and we beat a real good team."

Duke was clearly in a comfort zone in the opening 20 minutes, shooting 62 percent (21-of-34) from the floor in grabbing a 55-24 lead at the break. Scheyer hit 6-of-8 shots, including four 3-pointers.

"It felt good," Scheyer said. "I don't feel like I've been getting many bounces this year. It was big for us."

Henderson chipped in 10 points in the first half and Kyle Singler added seven for the Blue Devils, who scored 18 of the first 19 points in the game.

"It's one of those halves that's unexpected against an outstanding team," Krzyzewski said. "We were very well prepared. Our team mentally took a step up, I could feel it. They prepared so well these last two days. I knew we were going to play well, I didn't know we were going to win because they are a good team."

While Duke began red-hot, Xavier (9-1) missed its first five shots from the field. The Musketeers did not get their first basket until C.J. Anderson's layup with nearly six minutes expired, cutting their deficit to 22-5.

The Musketeers then scored six of the next eight points, but the Blue Devils responded with a 15-4 run for a 39-15 advantage with 7:51 remaining.

Xavier, which made just 9-of-27 shots before the half, played much better afterwards, but could not cut into the Duke lead.

A jumper by freshman Terrell Holloway cut the Musketeers' deficit to 64-37 with 14:01 remaining, but Henderson was fouled on a missed 3-pointer on the other end and converted all three free throws.

After a free throw by Xavier, Scheyer hit a jumper and Brian Zoubek added a follow shot for a 71-38 cushion with 10:20 to go.

The Blue Devils finished with a great effort despite a subpar performance for leading scorer Singler, who finished with nine points on 4-of-10 from the field. He did grab eight rebounds as Duke finished with a slim 32-31 advantage on the boards.

Derrick Brown had 18 points and B.J. Raymond 10 for the Musketeers, who fell a win short of matching the best start in school history of 10-0 from 1996-97.

According to Krzyzewski, Duke aims to schedule a game at this facility every year, especially against a team that will be a top opponent.

"Well, we try to get a national, not that the national teams from New Jersey are bad but just to someone who we know is going to be a top-10 team or a high seed," he said. "Last year we played Pittsburgh. One of the greatest games we ever played was against Texas here. J.J. (Redick) got 42 (points) and we were No. 1 and they were No. 2 or vise versa."