Devils score one for the ACC

Staff WriterJanuary 18, 2009 

— Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski talked boldly all week, and his team backed him up Saturday.

After Krzyzewski proclaimed the ACC better than the Big East, forwards Gerald Henderson and Kyle Singler powered No. 3 Duke to a 76-67 defeat of Big East heavyweight Georgetown at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Henderson scored 17 of his 23 points in the first half, punctuating a 3-pointer that made him 7-for-7 from the field by spreading his arms wide to incite the crowd. Singler grabbed 16 rebounds -- half his team's total -- to go with his 15 points.

Following a week when he defied conventional coaching wisdom by giving 13th-ranked Georgetown material for its bulletin board, Krzyzewski coyly declined to talk about the ACC and the Big East.

"Who's talking about that anyway?" he said. "I'd just rather talk about this game. I went on the Obama campaign for the ACC yesterday, and I'm back to just being the Duke coach now."

Duke (16-1) took advantage of foul trouble by Georgetown freshman center Greg Monroe that took a bizarre turn with a second-half technical foul when he was on the bench.

Monroe, who was heavily recruited by Duke, spent most of the last six minutes of the first half on the bench as the Blue Devils built their lead.

Monroe was called for two first-half charging fouls, and Georgetown's offense sputtered without him, going without a field goal for the final 7:58 of the first half.

Georgetown (12-4) had cut a 15-point Duke lead to 46-42 with 15:08 remaining in the second half when referee John Cahill signaled a technical foul on Monroe, who was sitting on the bench. Monroe said afterward that he hadn't said anything to Cahill.

It was Monroe's fourth foul, and it kept him on the bench for an extended period, sparking six straight Duke points.

"The technical was a key part of the game," Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. "Greg now has four, and it clearly altered how they attacked us and what we could do. But that's not the reason that we ended up with less points than them tonight. They played very well."

Henderson kept the Blue Devils close until Monroe's foul trouble crippled Georgetown. Singler's work on the boards was important throughout the game because Duke "played small" against a quick opponent with 7-foot-1 Brian Zoubek on the bench for all but five minutes.

For the second time in two games, Singler established a career high for rebounds.

"A lot of times, the balls just come to you, to be honest," Singler said. "It's those 50-50 balls that you have to go out of your way to get."

He got them, and Duke made Krzyzewski look good. The players said they never discussed Krzyzewski's ACC-Big East posturing.

They wanted to win for themselves, not necessarily for the ACC. But they were pleased with the result on both accounts.

"It was a good thing for our conference," said guard Greg Paulus, "and it was a good game for us." or 919-829-8942

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