|College Basketball: Princeton at Duke Preview & Picks|
|Written by Anthony Rome|
|Monday, 19 November 2007 04:29|
Looking to Stay Perfect
Playing in the Maui Invitational usually brings out the best in Duke.
The No. 13 Blue Devils look to remain perfect in the prestigious event as they open play against Princeton on Monday.
Oddsmakers from Bodog have made Duke -22 point spread favorites (View College Basketball odds) for today’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 83% of bets for this game have been placed on Duke -22 (View College Basketball bet percentages).
Duke is 9-0 and won a record three titles at the invitational that debuted in 1984. The Blue Devils, though, will make their first appearance at Maui since beating Ball State 83-71 for the 2001 championship. Duke also won titles in 1992 and 1997.
The Blue Devils (2-0), who need one win to tie North Carolina for the most in the tournament's history, are part of a strong field that includes No. 10 Marquette, LSU, Oklahoma State, Arizona State and Illinois.
"(I'm looking forward to) the chance to win a championship," Duke guard Gerald Henderson said. "We're looking to win a championship to really start our season off on a really good note so we can keep it rolling."
Duke hasn't played since an 86-61 home win over New Mexico State last Monday.
Sophomore Jon Scheyer came off the bench to score 22 points on 8-for-11 shooting - including 4-for-6 from 3-point range - as the Blue Devils shot 47.8 percent from the field. Guard DeMarcus Nelson added 14 points and seven rebounds for Duke, which is averaging 103.5 points through two contests after averaging an ACC-low 70.9 points per game while going 22-11 last season.
With the influx of some talented freshman, the Blue Devils are a deeper team and playing at a faster pace than last year.
"We have a lot of guys who can score, who can make plays,'' Nelson said. "We also have that same presence defensively, also. We have more guys that can defend, and guys from last year got better defending, so we're really starting to develop a really good team, offensively and defensively.''
Scheyer, who averaged 12.2 points and started all but one game last season, appears to be adjusting well to his role as a reserve. The 6-foot-5 guard is averaging a team-leading 17.5 points and shooting 63.2 percent (12-for-19) - including 7-for-10 from beyond the arc.
"Right away, coming off the bench is a different thing - I've never really done it in my life,'' Scheyer said. "So my whole mentality coming into a game is different."
Duke is 16-1 versus Princeton and looking for its fourth straight win over the Tigers, who will be the first Ivy League team to play at the Maui Invitational.
Lincoln Gunn scored 20 points on 6-for-10 shooting as Princeton (2-0) beat Iona 66-58 at home on Wednesday in its most recent contest.
Despite being picked to finish seventh in the eight-team league, the Tigers look to open with three straight wins for the first time since 2003-04 - the last season they reached the NCAA tournament.
"No matter what the prediction is from season to season, we play in order to uphold our own standard to the best degree possible," said first-year coach and former player Sydney Johnson.
Johnson, the captain of the Tigers team that upset UCLA in the first round of the 1996 NCAA tournament, is the fourth coach of the Tigers since Pete Carril retired after the 1995-96 season.
Princeton, which won 72-55 on Dec. 12, 1981, for its only win over Duke, looks to avoid an 18th straight loss to a ranked team dating to a 69-64 victory over then-No. 23 Wake Forest on Dec. 19, 1997.
by: Staff Writers - Email Us
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