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Duke drives by Wolfpack

Before Thursday's game with N.C. State at Cameron Indoor Stadium, Duke seemed relaxed and confident, as Greg Paulus and DeMarcus Nelson joked around in the tunnel before warmups.

But by halftime, Duke's jovial attitude had vanished.

The Blue Devils had given up 46 first-half points to the Wolfpack-a season high for N.C. State's offense. It was also the second straight contest that No. 3 Duke (18-1, 6-0 in the ACC) entered the locker room trailing by nine.

"Our thing is to play hard, play smart and play together-and we were 0-for-3," Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "I didn't think we were ready for a team with that sense of urgency."

In the second half, however, the Blue Devils came out with higher intensity. Over the next 11 minutes, Duke outscored N.C. State (13-7, 2-4) 33-12, more than enough to continue its dominance in the ACC with a 92-72 victory.

In their six conference games this year, the Blue Devils have beaten their opponents by an average of 15.7 points per game.

The most crucial time slot came at the 17-minute mark. Paulus pulled up for a 3-pointer at the elbow and swished the shot, bringing Duke within two. Gerald Henderson drew a charge off a driving Marques Johnson on the next play, and Paulus followed with another trey off a kick-out from Lance Thomas. The three gave the Blue Devils their first lead since midway through the first period.

The Wolfpack would briefly regain the lead, but after an official timeout, Paulus hit yet another three to tie the game again. Paulus then stole the ball on back-to-back possessions, the first leading to a Dave McClure layup and the second resulting in the play of the night, when the junior guard passed the ball behind his head to Kyle Singler for a fast-break dunk. The fans erupted, Paulus and Singler chest-bumped and N.C. State head coach Sidney Lowe called timeout to try and stop the bleeding.

It didn't work. Duke continued to push, and the Wolfpack could not slice the deficit to single digits in the game's last 10 minutes.

Duke shot 21-of-32 from the field in the second half, including 7-of-11 from beyond the arc. Paulus led the team with 22 points and six assists and, perhaps most importantly, did not commit a single turnover.

"Our 3-point shooting was sensational in the second half, but it was because we shared the ball and there were some beautiful connecting plays," Krzyzewski said. "In the second half we just started making easier plays."

Singler added 19 points, and Henderson and Nelson each contributed 18.

Early on, it seemed that the Blue Devils would not need a halftime spark.

Leading 12-10 with 14:10 left in the first, Duke took over with aggressive driving to the paint. Jon Scheyer drove to the lane hard, and although he could only toss up an awkward shot, he got fouled in the process and nailed both free throws. After a Costner miss, Henderson broke free in transition and slammed the ball. Scheyer, however, turned the ball over on the next play, and N.C. State began a 20-5 run for a 30-21 lead. The advantage was 46-37 by halftime.

"We came out at the same level, and they jumped out on us," Lowe said. "They knew what they had to do to get the game back in their favor."


The Cameron Crazies participated in the "Duke Goes Green" drive, wearing free t-shirts that said, "Bleed Blue. Live Green." By halftime, however, they ditched their green apparel, recycling the clothes in favor of traditional blue body paint... Duke has now beaten N.C. State 11 straight times at Cameron Indoor Stadium... The Wolfpack's 26 second-half points tied a season-low allowed for the Blue Devils' defense.


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