Duke cruises over Loyola of Maryland in pre-ACC tuneupJan 1, 2009 - 6:22 AM DURHAM, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Wednesday afternoon's New Year's Day clash at Cameron Indoor Stadium was little more than a formality for fifth-ranked Duke.
In their final non-conference tuneup before kicking off their Atlantic Coast Conference slate, the Blue Devils made easy work of Loyola of Maryland in a 92-51 triumph.
Duke (11-1) set the tone immediately, scoring the game's first eight points and cruising from there for its third victory in a row.
"It was a good game today and a good win," junior guard Jon Scheyer said. "Heading into conference play, we wanted to have a good game and to come out and play well, and we did play well for most of the game. I thought our defense was really good."
After rolling through the first month of the season, the team was upended on December 6 to then-unranked Michigan. Since then, things have gone back to normal for the Blue Devils. After routing a potent Xavier squad before Christmas, they showed few ill effects from an 11-day layoff.
"It's our first game in a little while," Scheyer said. "Always your first game back you get the rust off. We didn't shoot free throws very well, so hopefully we just got the rust off. Playing in games is different from practice, so I think we should be good to go."
Naturally, it was the usual suspects doing the bulk of the damage. Kyle Singler led all scorers with 20 points, Gerald Henderson added 19 points and Scheyer 12 and six assists to lead the way for a Duke team that shot a blistering 55 percent (36-of-66) from the field and dominated the paint.
"We need (Henderson), we need him badly - he and Jon and Kyle, really, are the three guys that have to be there every day for us at a really high level," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said.
Though the outcome was never really in doubt, that didn't stop Krzyzewski from keeping his starters on the floor for most of the afternoon. Part of the reason may be that the team is four days away from opening up its always grueling conference schedule.
"I'm never where I want to be unless we've won a national championship," Krzyzewski said. "As a coach, I don't think you're ever where you want to be. If you are, then someone's getting ahead of you."
The Blue Devils kick things off Sunday at home against Virginia Tech before another non-conference contest against Davidson and the nation's leading scorer, Stephen Curry. They follow that matchup with back-to-back road meetings against Florida State and Georgia Tech.
With eight minutes to play and his team holding a 31-point advantage, Singler drove down the lane for an easy layup, then added another easy bucket a minute later as he tipped in his own miss.
Henderson's lay-in at the 5:08 mark extended the lead to 84-47 as the junior forward pulled to within one point of his career high.
The Blue Devils also got a major effort from junior center Brian Zoubek dropped in a season-high 15 points and 10 boards.
"The guys on the team did a great job recognizing (the size advantage inside)," Zoubek said. "They were able to get me the ball and I was able to not only score but guys were able to play off of me. I think we ran the offense through that and it helped open everything up."
Loyola (4-9) dropped its second straight game against an ACC opponent after falling to North Carolina State in a 62-60 heartbreaker on Monday. Sophomore guard Brian Rudolph led the way in this one, scoring 13 points.
- NCAA BB
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
LOYOLA MD 23 28 51
DUKE (5) 48 44 92 FINAL
Dec 31 6:05 PM
- NCAA BB
LOYOLA MD 23
(5) DUKE 48 HALFTIME
Dec 31 5:00 PM
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