Duke's Big Three adds up to nothing

Staff WriterMarch 27, 2009 

Gerald Henderson, Jon Scheyer and Kyle Singler carried Duke through the ACC Tournament and into the Sweet 16. They carried the Devils right out, too.

That trio was a combined 9-for-45 in Thursday's 77-54 loss to Villanova, but that first number kind of foreshadows the second one, doesn't it?

Henderson was 1-for-14. Scheyer was 3-for-18. Singler was 5-for-13. The rest of Duke's roster was 7-for 15.

"I would never think that in a game, Jon and 'G' would go 4-for-32," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. " 'OK, you're nuts. You're crazy. That just can't happen.' But it did. The thing is, we won 30 games and the ACC championship because of them shooting and playing so hard.

"I'm disappointed for them, not in them. I'm disappointed for them because they've been a great group of kids. I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed being with this group. But that's the way it is."

If it was bad in the first half — Duke played poorly but was only down three — it was a disaster in the second half, with Henderson in foul trouble and Singler stuck on the perimeter and Scheyer swarmed over.

As far as Villanova was concerned, Lance Thomas and Brian Zoubek and Elliot Williams and Nolan Smith could have their shots — and they did, when they took them. But Duke's not built that way, and Nova knew it.

"Coming into the game, they had an emphasis on help-side (defense) and not letting me get my shots off of one-on-one stuff, always having somebody else there," Henderson said. "They did a really good job of that. And I felt like whenever I drove the ball or put the ball on the floor, there was always somebody else coming over to help.

"And it was — there were kicks there, but it was difficult for me to get my own shot, like it might usually happen in our games."

Said Villanova coach Jay Wright: "We did not want to play those guys one-on-one. We wanted to always give help on actually the three of them. We didn't do as good a job on Singler, but those guys, they're really good."

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