No. 2 Duke rallies to down Detroit
Posted: Saturday November 22, 2003 9:13PM; Updated: Saturday November 22, 2003 10:25PM
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) -- Ten minutes into its season opener, No. 2 Duke was struggling from the field and trailing by double figures against a scrappy underdog.
So the Blue Devils turned to their defense until their shooting finally came around.
Freshman Luol Deng scored 21 points and J.J. Redick had 19 to help the Blue Devils rally to beat Detroit 67-56 Saturday and improve to 22-2 in season openers under coach Mike Krzyzewski.
The Blue Devils had to struggle to win for the 29th straight time at Cameron Indoor Stadium, giving Krzyzewski his 664th career victory to tie UCLA's John Wooden for 18th place on the NCAA Division I list.
The Blue Devils hardly looked like the nation's second-ranked team for most of the game. The Titans scored the first 12 points, and the Blue Devils didn't take the lead until midway through the second half.
"They fought every possession and we had to, too," Krzyzewski said. "The last 30 minutes was outstanding defense by both teams, and we had a little bit [more] firepower."
Duke made just 16 of 45 shots, but was 29 for 36 from the line -- including 20 of 22 free throws in the second half -- and pushed the lead to double figures in the final five minutes.
Detroit shot 48 percent and stymied the Blue Devils' transition game, holding them to five fast-break points. But the Titans went just 8-for-10 from the line and committed 21 turnovers, leading to 26 Blue Devils points.
"In the huddle, we kept telling ourselves that the shots would fall and to keep concentrating on defense," Deng said. "That was our main focus."
James Thues scored 12 points to lead Detroit, which entered it season opener as a 20-point underdog.
Trailing 41-37 midway through the second half, the Blue Devils tied the game on free throws by Redick and Deng. After the teams traded scores, Duke took its first lead at 45-43 on two free throws by Shelden Williams with 9:07 to play.
Then, with his team leading 50-48, Chris Duhon hit a 3 with the shot clock winding down for a five-point lead with 5:55 to play. That sparked a 13-0 run, ending with Deng's 3 from the left wing for a 63-48 lead with 3:04 left.
Krzyzewski called Duhon's shot the biggest of the game.
"I just felt like I needed to make that shot," said Duhon, who had seven points and three steals. "It was a battle all day. ... As a senior, I felt I should take that shot at that point, and it went in."
Detroit took a 15-2 lead in the first nine minutes as the Blue Devils misfired from all over the court.
Duke missed 13 of its first 14 shots, getting its first points when Clarke Headen goaltended Deng's jumper with 12:22 left in the half. The Blue Devils went 0-for-6 from behind the 3-point arc during that stretch and had eight turnovers.
"Duke will send that knockout punch early," Detroit coach Perry Watson said. "It's the first game of the season, your kids haven't built a lot of game experience, so you've got to avoid that first knockout punch. ... Surprisingly we just carried that on for a long period of time."
Krzyzewski said he felt the Blue Devils were nervous early.
"We missed a couple things early that would get you off of that and it gave them a little bit more confidence and us a little bit less," he said.
Duke eventually rallied to 26-25 on Deng's driving shot with 1:20 left in the half. Thues responded with an up-and-under move on Lee Melchionni in the lane to help the Titans to a 28-26 halftime lead.
Duke shot 7-for-24 in the first half, including 3-for-13 from 3-point range.