NEW YORK — Gerald Henderson scored all 20 of his points in the second half, helping No. 10 Duke find some offensive rhythm in an 83-58 victory over Southern Illinois on Thursday night in the semifinals of the 2K Sports Classic.
Jon Scheyer and Kyle Singler each added 13 points for the Blue Devils (4-0), who advanced to play either No. 4 UCLA or Michigan on Friday night for the championship of the tournament benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer.
Carlton Fay had 17 points to lead Southern Illinois (2-1), which spent most of the game in foul trouble. Big man Nick Evans fouled out with 7:59 left and Tony Boyle was gone with just under 7 minutes to go.
The Salukis made things much more difficult than the final score might indicate. They pulled to 55-47 with about 9˝ minutes left before Singler hit a three-pointer. A couple of minutes later, Duke's stellar sophomore was fouled on a breakaway dunk and crashed to the floor in a heap.
A referee came from the other end of the court to call an intentional foul on Boyle. After Singler made a pair of free throws, Henderson nailed a three from the wing to give Duke a 66-49 lead.
Henderson scored seven more in a span of just a couple of minutes, including a thunderous dunk that roused a late-arriving crowd and pushed the game out of reach.
Brian Zoubek added 10 points for the Blue Devils. Kevin Dillard had 10 for Southern Illinois.
The Salukis did their best to slow down the high-scoring Blue Devils, often pushing and grabbing them as they cut through the lane.
Somebody must have paid attention. The Blue Devils spent the final nine minutes of the half parading to the free-throw line, where they had just as many tries (19) as field-goal attempts.
Slow starts have become something of a trend for Duke, which fell behind by 12 early and trailed most of the way before squeaking by Rhode Island last Sunday. The Blue Devils went nearly seven minutes without a field goal in the first half of this one, finally going on a 13-3 run that helped them build a 29-23 lead at the break.
Nobody would have faulted Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and Southern Illinois coach Chris Lowery if the cacophony of airballs, errant passes and overzealous fouls that made the first half such a struggle to watch also made them a bit nostalgic for 1993.
Well, Krzyzewski at least.
That was the last meeting between these two teams, when Duke routed Southern Illinois 105-70 in the first round of the NCAA tournament. At the time, Lowery was a young point guard for the Salukis, who couldn't keep up with Grant Hill, Bobby Hurley and the Blue Devils fresh off a national title.