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Nelson leads Duke into championship game of CBE Classic

Nov 21, 2006 - 2:10 AM KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Ticker) -- DeMarcus Nelson's junior season is off to a flying start.

Nelson scored 23 points as eighth-ranked Duke took control early and advanced to the championship game of the CBE Classic with a 71-56 victory over Air Force.

Following the departures of J.J. Redick and Shelden Williams among others, Nelson has been called on by coach Mike Krzyzewski to pick up some of the scoring slack this season.

Nelson has done the job to this point, leading the team in scoring at 15.2 points through four games.

On Monday, Nelson scored 10 points in a hot-shooting first half that helped the Blue Devils (4-0) build a 38-24 lead at the break. Nelson made 7-of-10 shots.

"I'm very confident in my shot," said Nelson, who also had three steals. "We have five unselfish guys. My play might be to take the shot or to make the extra pass."

Duke, which never trailed, shot a blistering 74 percent (17-of-23) in the opening 20 minutes and 61 percent (25-of-41) overall.

"They played well," Krzyzewski said. "We played well. We were fortunate we won. They are going to make some noise this year, no question about it."

Freshman Lance Thomas added 15 points for Duke, which will meet No. 17 Marquette in Tuesday's title game.

Jacob Burtschi and Nick Welch scored 12 points apiece for the Falcons (4-1), who had won each of their first four games by double digits.

After the Falcons drew within 43-35 with 15:38 remaining, Nelson and freshman Jon Scheyer nailed 3-pointers as the Blue Devils rebuilt the lead to double digits. They cruised thereafter.

Air Force will face Texas Tech on Tuesday.

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