9NC State
56 - 73 Final
  for this game

Henderson, Duke storm past N.C. State in second half

Jan 21, 2009 - 5:28 AM DURHAM, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Gerald Henderson's role as the go-to scorer was on display again Tuesday and, as usual, he did not disappoint the home crowd.

The junior scored 17 of his 21 points after halftime and third-ranked Duke stifled North Carolina State down the stretch en route to a 73-56 victory.

The Blue Devils (17-1, 4-0 ACC) trailed, 26-22, after the opening 20 minutes but took over in the second half. A 3-pointer by Nolan Smith broke a 49-49 tie with 9:26 left and Duke closed the game on a 17-3 run to stay unbeaten in conference play.

Kyle Singler had 17 points and Smith added 13 for the Blue Devils, who recorded their ninth consecutive win thanks to a near-flawless offensive performance in the second half.

"Our offense, as bad as it was in the first half, it was that good in the second half," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. "I thought they played us really hard,"

Henderson also recorded seven rebounds, five steals and four assists while connecting on 10-of-16 field-goal attempts. Using a combination of jump shots, driving layups and fast-break dunks, he continued his torrid pace of late. Henderson is averaging 22 points over the last four games while connecting on 61 percent (36-of-59) from the field.

"He can take over, he can elevate," Krzyzewski said of Henderson. "But when he does that, he can also make a pass to an open teammate. He can produce points - not just his, but for others. He's been playing really well. He's played well all year, but since the middle of December he's played really well."

Duke knocked down 77 percent (20-of-26) from the field while continuing its suffocating defensive performances of late. The Wolfpack (10-6, 1-3) became the fourth straight ACC opponent to score less than 60 points against the Blue Devils to open the season.

Smith followed a game-tying 3-pointer with the go-ahead trey and the Blue Devils were off and running from there. Singler scored six consecutive points for Duke and after Courtney Fells' jumper cut the lead to three at 58-55, the Blue Devils allowed just a free throw the rest of the way.

"It was a one-possession game, and all of sudden we got two steals and turned them into buckets," Krzyzewski said. "[David] McClure was huge for us, especially on that top ball screen. It was a hard-fought win for us, but with the score you'd think we kind of walked through this."

Ben McCauley and Brandon Costner each collected 15 points and five rebounds for the Wolfpack, who managed just one field goal over the last 7:57 and committed 19 turnovers for the game.

"I thought we played 33 minutes of solid basketball," Wolfpack coach Sidney Lowe said. "I thought we did a great job of hanging in there and finishing off the first half really strong. It was a great defensive effort. The second half, they just kept coming at us and coming at us.

"We turned the ball over too many times to beat a team like Duke."