DUKE 76 PURDUE 60 — FINAL — Singler caps the victory with a driving dunk, and the Blue Devils leave West Lafayette with their unprecedented 10th straight win the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and, more importantly, their best win of the season. More later.
DUKE 64 PURDUE 53 -- 3:13 SECOND HALF -- Purdue is showing some life, but I think their band has it right: They're playing "Livin' on a Prayer" right now. Time for me to get to work on my stories. I'll check in postgame.
DUKE 60 PURDUE 44 -- 6:08 SECOND HALF -- Once you want to think Duke is a smart basketball team, they have these back-to-back sequences: Scheyer, guarded by the 6-foot-9 Calasan, sets up at the top of the key, isolating and letting the shot clock run down. Nobody on Purdue switches despite having apt opportunity to do so. But then, Singler comes up to set a screen, Scheyer gets hedged, passes to Henderson, who forces a shot at the shot-clock buzzer.
Next time down, Scheyer tries an alley-oop to David McClure. I think the general rule in basketball is "Don't throw an alley-oop to anyone who's had three or more knee surgeries." Not surprisingly, the ball falls harmlessly out of bounds.
I'm a bit surprised to see Smith check back in with over nine minutes to play and an 18-point lead at the time, but I guess it gives the sophomore a chance to learn how to play with four fouls in a situation where, were he to pick up his fifth, it probably doesn't cost Duke the game.
E'Twaun Moore had two nice buckets in a row--his first four points of the game. It might be too little, too late, though, as Kyle Singler had two trifectas in that same stretch.
DUKE 52 PURDUE 36 -- 11:42 SECOND HALF -- We've played eight minutes in the second half, and Purdue has eight points--all from JaJuan Johnson. Nobody else is presenting themselves as an option for the Boilermakers on the offensive side of the ball. Moore and Hummel have never looked comfortable, almost as if they're not ready for this kind of stage (which is odd, because they played well against Oklahoma in a losing cause).
Duke hasn't looked pretty, but it's getting baskets at key times. Brian Zoubek had a key follow to his own miss to stem a mini Purdue run, and Jon Scheyer has been the only Blue Devil to be a consistent force on the offensive side.
Purdue needs someone else to step up, or there will be a lot of disappointed Boiler fans 12 minutes of game time from now.
DUKE 43 PURDUE 31 -- 15:45 SECOND HALF -- Duke started the second half on a 7-1 run, but the news isn't all positive. The Blue Devils have picked up four team fouls already; worse yet, Nolan Smith has two of them, leaving the sophomore on the bench with four personals. Smith probably won't be back until the under-8:00 timeout if things go well for Duke.
It's a shame, too. Smith has owned Keaton Grant for much of the night, including a beautiful slicing drive for two for the Blue Devils' last bucket.
For the Boilers, JaJuan Johnson is keeping them in the game. He has all three of their points after the intermission (all from the charity stripe), drew the fourth foul on Smith, and blocked a shot on the other end.
STILL HALFTIME -- So what does Dick Vitale do during a typical halftime? Apparently work on his jump shot. After posing for the camera with two Purdue cheerleaders, Vitale waited for the Boilermaker band to exit the court before throwing up a few elbow jumpers. He even called in one of the managers to rebound. To be honest, his form leaves a little to be desired: not enough knee-bend, so his shot is flat and generally comes up short. I imagine the new three-point line has really affected his range.
DUKE 36 PURDUE 28 -- HALFTIME -- For as bad as Duke has played, it's lucky to be up eight. Of course, the same can be said for Purdue being down eight. The Boilers showed some life late in the half behind Calasan, as Robbie Hummel and E'Twaun Moore have been absent most of the night. Both look like they're rushing and just generally uncomfortable on the floor.
Calasan and JaJuan Johnson have combined to shoot 5-of-6, while the rest of Purdue is 5-for-20.
For Duke, Jon Scheyer and Nolan Smith have been solid while Lance Thomas and David McClure gave them something off the bench (Brian Zoubek was back to his old self with two quick fouls). Kyle Singler (3-for-9) and Gerald Henderson (1-for-4) are all over the floor, but they, too, look a little rushed and out-of-sync.
You can only think these two teams will come out better in the second half. This half was somewhat reminiscent of the Blue Devils' battle with Pittsburgh at the Garden last December, and if you remember, that turned out to be a pretty good game.
Let's hope for the same tonight with a different ending.
DUKE 34 PURDUE 25 -- 2:51 FIRST HALF -- It's amazing how different the Duke offense looks with Greg Paulus at the point. Purdue doesn't respect Paulus' ability to penetrate, and that's translating into tighter perimeter defense and the Blue Devils starting their offense from well beyond the three-point line.
David McClure hit his first three in who knows how long to quiet the crowd after a mini 5-0 run, but Nemanja Calasan--whom the PA announcer has informed us is the "Subway Sub of the Game"--has scored five of the Boilers' last seven and is headed to the line for two shots.
P.S. During Duke's timeout, the Purdue band dutifully busted out "Don't Stop Believin'" and the students gleefully sang along. So yeah, I was upset it was only a 30-second timeout.
DUKE 22 PURDUE 14 -- 7:47 FIRST HALF -- Still an ugly, ugly game right now. Duke got out in transition for a few easy layups, but the halfcourt offense is pedestrian at best. Purdue, meanwhile, had a nice play coming out of a Matt Painter timeout with JaJuan Johnson rolling off a pick for an easy layup from E'Twaun Moore.
Can't help but say this: These are two of the nation's 10 best?
DUKE 13 PURDUE 8 -- 11:52 FIRST HALF -- This game could be played across the street at Ross-Ade Stadium: It's that physical out there. Bodies are flying everywhere, the refs are calling it loosely, and baskets are at a premium. Expect both teams to start looking backdoor and diving on picks to exploit the defensive overplay.
DUKE 7 PURDUE 2 -- 15:49 FIRST HALF -- Nightmare start for the Boilermakers, who have turned the ball over four times and missed something like their first five shots, including two layups. They haven't adjusted yet to Duke's pressure on the perimeter, as the guards can't take it to the basket and several passes have been deflected. Chris Kramer just got Purdue on the board with a turnaround jumper plus the foul.
Duke hasn't looked good on its end, for that matter, but a Scheyer three and two layups off Gerald Henderson passes have them up five anyway.
9:00 -- Minor disaster averted, as we journalists realize at the last minute that the power strip we've all plugged in to is, itself, unplugged. And people say English majors can't think on their feet.
But this is the profession I've chosen...
In more important news, the crowd is really into it. This compares to the atmosphere I saw at Maryland last year and UNC two years ago. This is probably the biggest home game at Purdue in at least a decade.
Oh, and on closer inspection, I'm pretty sure that's not Teddy Valentine.
8:42 -- WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- We are coming to you live from Mackey Arena on the campus of Purdue University for the Blue Devils' first showdown of the season, on the road in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge against No. 9 Purdue.
The arena is pretty much packed right now, and the student section has been that way since I got here at about 8:15. Dan Shulman and Dick Vitale--ESPN's No. 1 announcing team--are here for the occasion, as are CBS Sportsline's Gregg Doyel (perhaps some fireworks with Coach K, later?), ESPN.com's Pat Forde, and The Sporting News' Mike DeCourcy.
A lot of signs in the student section: I see a "This ain't no fluke, we goin beat Duke," which is nice because it rhymes but also seems to be lacking some important words--you know, verbs.
I think I see Jim Burr and Teddy Valentine suited up as two of the three officials; both are veteran guys used to the big stage (Valentine is always at Cameron; Burr usually sticks around the Big East).
This is to say, all signs point to a memorable night at Mackey.
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