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Scheyer, Singler help Duke hold off Davidson

Jan 8, 2009 - 7:00 AM DURHAM, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Duke's smothering defense early in the contest was too much for Stephen Curry and Davidson to overcome.

Jon Scheyer and Kyle Singler each scored 22 points as second-ranked Duke jumped out to a big lead and held off an attempted rally to post a 79-67 victory over Davidson on Wednesday.

Gerald Henderson chipped in 11 points and seven rebounds for Duke (13-1), which resumes Atlantic Coast Conference play at Florida State on Saturday.

"We beat an outstanding team tonight," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "This is like a March game for (Davidson). We're playing this game in between conference games. I told the players we had to match them."

The Blue Devils forced nine turnovers in the opening 11 minutes and caused Stephen Curry to give the ball up as much as possible in the first half.

"We didn't want to try to take him away completely," Scheyer said. "Obviously, we wanted to focus on him and try to make him work for everything that he was going to do, but we also didn't want the other guys to get off."

Curry missed his first four shots before getting on the board during the Blue Devils' 11-2 run that gave the home team a 27-14 lead with 5:24 left in the first half. Curry finished with eight points in the opening 20 minutes but Duke held a 37-24 bulge at the break.

"Starting from the opening tip they really pressured the ball whenever I had it out on the perimeter and took us out of our offense, which we're comfortable with," Curry said. "I got some good looks and kind of rushed them a little bit and didn't get my rhythm until the second half. My teammates bailed me out early and kept us in it for the most part. (Duke) did a great defensive job on us as a whole throughout the whole game."

The Blue Devils maintained their defensive intensity to start the second half and used a 14-2 run out of the locker rooms to open up a 51-26 advantage with 16:30 remaining.

However, Davidson (10-3) started to get some easier baskets as it tried to get back in the game midway through the second half. Curry scored seven points during an 11-0 burst that pulled the Wildcats within 63-49 with 9:25 left to play.

"I'm certainly pleased that we got better as a team today," Wildcats coach Bob McKillop said. "I'm not pleased that we had moments in the game where we played on our heels, but that's what Duke does to you."

Andrew Lovedale's layup cut the deficit to 69-61 with 3:53 remaining but that would be as close as Davidson could get. Duke took over one minute off the clock on its next possession, collecting a pair of offensive rebounds before Lance Thomas made a pair from the line.

"I thought two of the biggest points of the night were Lance Thomas' free throws," Krzyzewski said. "Those two free throws were huge. We took some quick shots that missed, and I thought Lovedale made some big blocks when we did get a good shot."

Curry finished with 29 points, eight rebounds and six assists to pace Davidson, which shot 4-of-17 from the arc. The nation's leading scorer was 1-of-8 from the arc and had seven of the Wildcats' 17 turnovers.

"Because Duke switches so much it makes it difficult to take advantage of that mismatch," McKillop said. "There is always someone in the help position who is going to jump right out and switch on to him."

Lovedale added 15 points and four blocks.