• Store
  • Promotions - Carousel Above Header
  • Tickets
  • Auctions - Carousel Above Header
  • Duke Photo Store
  • Donate - Carousel Above Header
  • Uploaded Ad
Uploaded Ad
 
AP: Depth Carries Duke to Another Final Four
Thursday 03/28/2010  -  Associated Press
Print Print    Send this article to a friend Email    Subscribe to our Rss feed   RSS   
Courtesy: Associated Press
View larger
Nolan Smith scored a career-high 29 points in Sunday’s win over...
Related Links
DURHAM, N.C. – Duke is headed to another Final Four after showing it takes more than a cold night from one of the "Big Three" to stop the Blue Devils.

Kyle Singler missed every shot he took in the regional final. In an earlier round, Jon Scheyer was 1 for 11.

"It's not always about what we do in terms of shooting," Scheyer said after beating Baylor in the South Regional final. "If we have a couple of off shooting nights ... usually the three of us try to make up for it in other ways."

And they have. Duke has won three of four NCAA tournament games by double figures. The Blue Devils play West Virginia on Saturday In Indianapolis.

Duke (33-5) depends on the trio for most of its scoring. For the most part, they've come through all season. Each averages at least 17 points, and the threesome combines to average more than 53 points — nearly 69 percent of Duke's points.

For opponents, the challenge is figuring out how to stop the one with the hot hand.

California slowed Scheyer in the second round, continuing his shooting slump and holding him to seven points on 1 of 11 shooting. But Nolan Smith lit up the Golden Bears for 20 points and Scheyer added 17.

Then Baylor thought it had Singler figured out, holding him without a field goal for the first time in his college career while he focused on defending Bears star LaceDarius Dunn. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski later admitted that with Singler's "anxiety to cover Dunn, he got out of his game a little bit."

"I think Kyle's a great player, and he's not always going to play great," Krzyzewski said. "You can't give knee-jerk reactions when a kid just doesn't perform at a top level. He's trying to fight through it and a lot of us, most of us, if we were trying to guard Dunn, it would take away from our offense. There's no question about it.

"You can get into a mode where you're a little bit more conservative," he added, "because you on the court is a valuable asset, even if it's not 100 percent."

Not to worry, Smith stepped up like he did against California. He had a career-high 29 points and Scheyer added 20 and five 3-pointers while breaking out of that slump in a 78-71 win that put the Blue Devils in yet another Final Four.

"Just coming into the game, I wasn't going to worry about or think about my shot. I was just going to let it go if I was open," Scheyer said. "Just play my game, not worry about just being a spot-up shooter or anything like that. I really want to follow my instincts and not worry about it. Just throw myself into the team, and naturally it just goes in when you're doing that."

Indeed, Duke never seems rattled when one of its "Big Three" has an off night. It's when two of them go cold that the Blue Devils could be in trouble. Fortunately for them, it's only happened once.

Georgia Tech was the only team this season to hold two of them to single-digit scoring, limiting Singler and Smith to nine points apiece in a 71-67 win two months ago in Duke's ACC road opener.

Now the Mountaineers will try to get in down against Duke. West Virginia effectively mixes man-to-man and zone defenses and seems constructed to slow down the Blue Devils.

The Blue Devils have started preparing for West Virginia, but they took a moment to savor what they accomplished.

"We've worked really hard, this group, and I think we've come a long way since our freshman year," Scheyer said. "And to be in a position in the Final Four and contend for a national championship, it means a lot. I don't know if it's fully hit me. I'm sure after the year I'll have a better appreciation. But right now I'm just ecstatic and just really happy to share with all my teammates."

DVDsSocial MediaIronDukesStoresMobileAuction
Back to Men's Basketball


Proud Sponsor
click to read more
Duke Legend Long Sleeve Practice Tee by Nike - $25.50
Weekly Web Special
click to read more
Buy Exclusive Sports & Campus Pics
Official Duke Photo Store
click to read more
Buy Official DVD 5-Pack for $118.95
Duke Championship DVD 5-Pack
click to read more
Bid on Signed Photos & More
Duke Online Auctions
click to read more
Get Your Official Gear Here!
Duke University Stores
click to read more
Where Real Duke Fans Shop!
Duke University Stores
 
 
Replay Images Soon