Duke Looks to Wrap Up CBE Championship With Win Over Marquette
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After opening the season with four straight wins for the third consecutive year, ninth-ranked Duke tries to defeat its first ranked opponent when it faced 13th-ranked Marquette in Tuesday’s championship game of the CBE Classic.
The Blue Devils (4-0) have won with outstanding shooting this season, and that pattern continued in Monday’s 71-56 semifinal victory over Air Force.
Duke opened the game on a 12-for-14 tear, and shot 73.9 percent (17-for-23) in the first half. They hit a dry spell in the second half, but finished shooting 61 percent (25-for-41), including 7-for-13 from 3-point range.
DeMarcus Nelson led the Blue Devils with a career-high 23 points on 7-of-10 shooting.
“I’m very confident in my shot,” said Nelson, who is averaging 15.3 points on 61.1 percent shooting this season. “We have five unselfish guys. My play might be to take the shot or to make the extra pass.”
Freshman Lance Thomas added 15 points and Jon Scheyer, another freshman, finished with 12.
Duke is shooting an impressive 55.4 percent from the floor this season, and 46.3 percent from beyond the arc.
The Blue Devils also dominated the glass against the Falcons, outrebounding them 30-10 – an all-time record low for a Duke opponent. The previous Duke opponent with the fewest rebounds was North Carolina State, with 14 in a 12-10 Blue Devils loss on March 8, 1968.
Josh McRoberts had a team-high eight rebounds on Monday for the Blue Devils, who are outrebounding their opponents by an average of 12.5 this season.
Duke went 8-1 against ranked opponents in the regular season last year, and has won 10 straight regular-season games against non-conference ranked teams since losing to then-No. 3 Stanford 84-83 on Dec. 21, 2000.
The Blue Devils are 4-1 all-time against Marquette, winning 59-49 in their last meeting on March 24, 1994, in the regional semifinals of the NCAA tournament.
The Golden Eagles (5-0) raced past Texas Tech 87-72 in Monday’s semifinals, using the transisition game to get easy baskets.
Marquette led 11-2 barely four minutes into the game, and turned the Red Raiders’ 12 first-half turnovers into 21 points.
“We started off fast, got the early turnovers,” said Dominic James, who had 16 points. “We’re a hard team to stop when we’re getting the ball downcourt and in transition.”
The Golden Eagles forced 18 turnovers in all – converting them into 27 points – and got 22 points on fast breaks. Their pressure defense has caused opponents to average 23.2 turnovers per game this season.
“That’s the kind of game we play,” sophomore guard Wesley Matthews said. “We practice it. We drill it. That’s when we’re at our best, getting a rebound or a turnover and running.”
Matthews scored 20 points and had six assists, while Jerel McNeal matched his career high with 19 points and dished out seven assists.
Marquette shot 54.8 percent from the floor on Monday, and is averaging 89.7 points on 51.9 percent shooting in its last three games.
Junior forward Dan Fitzgerald finished with five points in just 13 minutes after injuring his left shin in a collision.
Fitzgerald’s status for Tuesday is uncertain, although Marquette coach Tom Crean said the injury was not serious.
by: Marc Young – theSpread.com – Email Us
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