Smith adds 'D' for Duke

Staff WriterMarch 15, 2009 

— Nolan Smith was switched defensively off of Greivis Vasquez in the final minute of Duke's 67-61 win over Maryland and matched up against Terps forward Dave Neal.

The Duke guard got tangled up with the burly Maryland forward and started talking to him.

"Come on, D, I don't need another one," Smith said to Neal with about 40 seconds left in the game.

The Blue Devils guard was referring, of course, to the concussion he suffered on Feb. 25 after running into a screen set by Neal in the second half of Duke's 78-67 win at Maryland. Smith missed the next three games before returning to the court Friday against Boston College in the ACC Tournament.

"Dave's a big guy," Smith said. "You run into him, you're going to get a concussion."

Smith was healthy enough to go 30 minutes against the Terps on Saturday, and he gave Duke a lift off the bench with 10 points, three assists and enough defensive pressure to hold Vasquez to 14 points.

After playing 18 minutes against BC on Friday, Smith said he was feeling better than he had since the concussion.

"I felt like myself," Smith said. "I got my legs back [after the BC game]."

Smith's return upgrades Duke's defense. With Smith, wing Elliot Williams and David McClure, Duke also upgrades its athleticism.

"Defensively, we go up a notch," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said.

The Devils held Maryland to 39.7 percent from the floor (25-of-63) and just 26.7 percent from 3-point range (4-of-15).

But Krzyzewski was pleased with more than just Smith's defense. Smith handled the ball against Maryland's zone, which allowed Jon Scheyer to play the wing and set up for 3s. Scheyer ended up with a game-high four 3-pointers for Duke.

"I'm really kind of astounded by how well Nolan has played the past two games," Krzyzewski said. "He's just practiced a little bit." or 919-829-8938

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