DURHAM, N.C. - Duke (10-1), sixth in both the AP poll and ESPN/USA Today coaches poll, faces Gonzaga (9-3) on Thursday at Madison Square Garden in the Aeropostale Classic. Tip-off is set for 9:00 p.m. with espn2 televising the contest. Gonzaga enters the game ranked 22nd in the AP poll and 24th in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll.
The Blue Devils extended their nonconference home win streak to 49 games on Tuesday with a 79-72 win over Kent State.
Josh McRoberts (19), DeMarcus Nelson (18), Jon Scheyer (17) and Greg Paulus (12) combined for 66 of Duke’s 79 points. The 79 points was the team’s largest scoring output since a season opening 86-43 win over Columbia.
McRoberts went 8-of-15 from the field and 3-of-7 from the foul line en route to a career-high 19 points. He also added six rebounds, four assists, six blocks and four steals in 36 minutes of action. With his stat line, McRoberts became the fi rst player in Duke history to register at least four points, four rebounds, four assists, four blocks and four steals in the same game.
Nelson collected his 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the fi eld, including 2-of-5 from three-point distance and 4-of-6 from the line. He also added six rebounds and three assists in the win. Scheyer scored 15 of his 17 points in the opening half including 10 straight to give Duke an early 14-4 lead. With the score tied 4-4 just under two minutes into the game, Scheyer knocked down a pair of treys on back-to-back possession before capping the run with a four-point play on the following possession. Paulus knocked down a pair of three-pointers and was a perfect 6-of-6 from the foul line for 12 points. He also added three rebounds and a team-high fi ve assists.
- Duke is 7-1 all-time against current members of the West Coast Conference. The Blue Devils’ only loss to a West Coast Conference team was a 72-68 decision versus San Francisco on Dec. 9, 1972. Duke is 5-0 against the WCC under Coach K.
- Duke and Gonzaga rank first and third respectively in wins over the past eight years. The Blue Devils have won 221 games since the beginning of the 1999-2000 season, while Gonzaga has collected 197 wins. Illinois is just ahead of the Bulldogs with 198 wins in that time span.
- The Blue Devils are 13-5 under Coach K at Madison Square Garden. Last year, Duke posted wins over Drexel (78-68) and Memphis (70-67) at MSG to win the 2005 NIT Season Tip-Off. Seven of the previous 12 contests have drawn at least 19,000 spectators. Duke will also be playing St. John’s at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 25. The Blue Devils have won fi ve straight at MSG, dating back to a 72-71 loss to St. John’s on March 2, 2003.
- Sophomore Josh McRoberts, a preseason Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy candidate, is among the most versatile big men in the country. The 6-10, 240-pound forward leads the Blue Devils in rebounds (6.7 rpg.), blocks (2.5 bpg.), assists (4.1 apg.), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.73:1) and free throws made (36). He is also second on the team in scoring (11.7 ppg.) and made fi eld goals (46). In Duke’s last outing, he became the fi rst player in Duke history to register at least four points, four rebounds, four assists, four blocks and four steals in a game. McRoberts finished the game with 19 points, six rebounds, four assists, six blocks and four steals. His points (19) and blocks (six) were career highs while his four steals matched a career high.
- Junior DeMarcus Nelson scored 18 points in Duke’s 79-72 win over Kent State. He has now scored in double-fi gures in 10 of 11 games this season. Duke is 9-1 on the year and 22-3 in his career when Nelson reaches double-fi gures in scoring. Nelson, who entered the year as a career 42.3 percent shooter, ranks eighth in the ACC in fi eld goal percentage (54.9 pct. - 56-of-102), including 46.5 pct. (20-of-43) from three-point distance.
- Freshman Jon Scheyer has been one of Duke’s most consistent players through 11 games. The Northbrook, Ill., native has reached double-fi gures in scoring seven times and is third on the team in scoring at 10.8 ppg. He is shooting 46.7 percent (21-of-45) from three-point distance and is 10th in the ACC in free throw percentage (.800 - 32-of-40). In Duke’s last two outings, Scheyer is averaging 17.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.0 steals per game. He is also shooting 52.4 percent (11-of-21) from the field, including 57.1 percent (8-of-14) from three-point distance. Scheyer knocked down four fi rst half treys against Kent State and scored 15 of his 17 points before the half.
- Duke collected 17 assists on 24 made fi eld goals against Kent State on Tuesday. Over the last two games, the Blue Devils have recorded assists on 77.6 percent (38-of-49) of their made fi eld goals. In the fi rst nine games of the year, Duke assisted on just 92-of-202 made fi eld goals (45.5 pct.).
- The Blue Devils are limiting opponents to an ACC-low 26.3 percent (44-of-167) shooting from three-point distance this year, while shooting an ACC-best 43.8 percent (64-of-146) on treys. In the month of December, Duke is holding the opposition to 25.4 percent (15-of-59) shooting from three-point range.
- Mike Krzyzewski was named 2006 USA Basketball National Coach of the Year on Tuesday. Krzyzewski led the U.S. Senior Men to a 2006 World Championship bronze medal and an overall record of 13-1.