Duke trounces Boston College

Curry, Rivers pace Duke in tuneup for Florida State

jdaly@newsobserver.comFebruary 20, 2012 

— Wedged in between memorable wins against North Carolina and N.C. State and an impending trip to No. 20 Florida State, there will be little about Duke's 75-50 triumph over Boston College on Sunday that will stand out when folks are reminiscing about the season.

The Blue Devils are good. The Eagles aren't.

Duke played well. Boston College didn't.

And that was pretty much that.

In an unsightly game that failed to generate much in the way of excitement, Duke ground down an overmatched Eagles squad with a strong defensive effort. The 50 points were the least the Blue Devils have allowed in a game this season.

The victory also was the Blue Devils' most decisive of the ACC season.

"Overall, I'm pleased," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "I was worried about tonight's game, especially in anticipation of the Florida State game on Thursday night. At this time of the year, a lot of strange things happen in college basketball."

With the excitement of the previous 10 days and Thursday's game at Florida State that could decide the ACC's regular-season championship, Krzyzewski was worried strange things would involve his team. He twice watched tape of the Eagles' upset of the Seminoles on Feb. 8 and made sure his players absorbed its message.

"I said, 'These kids can beat us,' " Krzyzewski said. "I wasn't trying to tell myself fairy tales or anything like that."

Instead, the fifth-ranked Blue Devils (23-4, 10-2) put together one of their strongest efforts of the season, especially on the defensive end.

Boston College (8-19, 3-10) started the game by hitting its first five attempts from the floor to take a 13-7 lead with 16 minutes, 34 seconds remaining. At that point, Krzyzewski changed the Blue Devils' ball screen defense, opting for an approach where Duke stepped up aggressively after screens instead of playing more of a zone.

The next time the Eagles made a basket from the floor was with 2:24 left in the half. After its hot start, Boston College made only 10 of its final 39 shots (25.6 percent).

"To be a really good team, you have to draw the line and times and say, 'That can't be the type of game we're playing every game - we can't come out really poorly for the first half,' " Duke junior Ryan Kelly said. "You have to make a stand early. We didn't even really do that right from the jump. But by four minutes in, our defense was really good."

Just like in Thursday's win against N.C. State, Seth Curry and Austin Rivers led the way for the Blue Devils, finishing with 18 and 16 points, respectively. Duke outrebound Boston College 45-21.

"It felt good to come in and get a lead and do what we were supposed to do from early on in the game," Curry said. "After the first minutes, we kind of imposed our will and we were able to run away with the score."

Duke built its lead as high as 28 points on two occasions as it ran roughshod after halftime.

The only time this ACC season when Duke enjoyed a second half that was completely stress-free was against Wake Forest - the Blue Devils beat the Deacons by 18 on Jan. 19.

More often than not, Duke has found itself in close games when it might have been expected to cruise.

After finishing their demolition of the Eagles, it didn't take long for the focus to switch.

Just about every player made mention of Thursday's showdown - the Seminoles, Blue Devils and North Carolina are tied for first in the conference, and Duke wants to avenge Florida State's Jan. 21 win.

"We really wanted to get this road win coming into the big game vs. Florida State," Rivers said. "That's what we did tonight."

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