LIVE BLOG: Duke 76, St. John's 69 (FINAL)

FINAL THOUGHTS: Oh man, I feel so Jerry Springer with this whole "final thoughts" thing, but I promised I'd be back and so now I am (although currently situated in a very adorable apartment in Union Square). So here's the thing. Tonight's game wasn't a great win. In fact, I thought Duke needed something a bit more emphatic to gain real momentum headed into Sunday's super-important contest with Wake Forest in Cameron. But as the old saying goes, a win is a win is a win. Some high points: Elliot Williams playing and really playing an integral role in making Duke go; Kyle Singler finding his touch again from outside (although, like I said in my column yesterday, I think Duke needs Kyle to be more of a force inside to be competitive with big teams like Wake); G being G. Some low points: Greg Paulus, where are you? It seems like just last week K was riding high on you and starting you against UNC... tonight, not even six minutes on your favorite court away from Cameron (Dear Greg, I'm sorry if I jinxed you with that whole pregame predictions thing... never again, I swear); little-to-no production from the big men—not a new story, but one that is going to become THE story if the Blue Devils can't be Wake, UNC or whatever team the tourney might throw them come March. Anyway, that's all for now. Time for me to turn off the computer and enjoy NYC. Be sure to check out The Chronicle's coverage in tomorrow's paper, and as always, you know where to find me if you have any questions/concerns/shoutouts.

FINAL Duke 76, St. John's 69: Thanks to those who came out to play today (including the Blue Devils!). I hope you enjoyed the clichés and the Cartman... oh yeah, and the basketball. I'm off to the postgame pressers, but hopefully I'll be back with some final thoughts after I'm done sending in my copy... Don't want the editor to have too late of a night! Just a hint, though, the analysis I've got cookin' has something to do with a one Mr. Elliot Williams.

1:30 SECOND HALF Duke 71, St. John's 63: Kennedy fouls out and it seems all but over for the Red Storm.

3:53 SECOND HALF Duke 69, St. John's 55: Elliot Williams dunk with AUTHORITY! Awesometown.

4:05  SECOND HALF Duke 67, St. John's 54: DJ Kennedy is a good player. Only a sophomore. Not the last we'll see of him, I bet.

5:22 SECOND HALF Duke 65, St. John's 53: Malik Boothe really likes Jon Scheyer's personal space or something because that dude was not getting off  the Pride of Northbook without a fight—or a ref prying him away. Duke gets the ball on alternate possession but Elliot misses the three coming out of timeout.

7:43 SECOND HALF Duke 62, St. John's 50: So, not to be a negative Nancy here, but sitting in the Garden, I can't help but feel that Duke is leaving the door open (my colleague to my right agrees). Kyle is hitting his threes, which is always better than when he misses them, but come on, it's time to put a team that is 3-10 in the Big East away already. The Blue Devils caught a bit of a break though when the Red Storm missed a great opportunity to cut the lead to 10 and ride the mo' into the break. D.J. Kennedy hit a trey bomb with just more than eight minutes left in the half and then registered a steal on the next possession. Drawing two Duke defenders in the middle of the court just near his own 3-point arc, he dished it Quincy Roberts on a bounce pass but Roberts couldn't connect on the 12-foot baseline jumper. Paulus comes in for Duke out of the timeout.

13:00 SECOND HALF Duke 52, St. John's 38: Lance Thomas dunk with AUTHORITY! Loudest the crowd has been all night. Although that's not saying much, because it's been pretty quiet/it's a Red Storm-heavy crowd.

14:15 SECOND HALF Duke 50, St. John's 34: After hearing "Green Light" booming through the hallowed halls of MSG at halftime, I'm so ready to go right now with the second period. Hey! Guess what??! So are the Blue Devils. Before the TV timeout, Jon Scheyer just floated this pretty baseline jumper from the right side to get to the half-century mark. I'm talking finesse, here, people. Before that, Kyle Singler was nothing-but-net from the top of the key. Miles Plumlee even chipped in! Nice night for the freshmen. I think the play of Williams, and to a lesser extent Plumlee, is the storyline of the game so far. Let's see how it plays out for the rest of the half, and perhaps from this game forward. OK, OK, I know. Too much. But you give me this chance to run with my stream of consciousness—and you actually read it—you're getting exactly what you're asking for.

HALFTIME Duke 37, St. John's 26: The intermission is a time to reflect—and of course, to revise history. So, here goes: "As for predictions, I'm expecting big things from Greg Paulus Elliot Williams tonight. He freaking loves this place has only played here like once before, so it's so new and exciting! Plus, if I'm wrong, I can always go back and change 'Greg Paulus' 'Elliot Williams' to 'Gerald Henderson' 'Elliot Williams' later." After starting only the second time this season (although the first time was against UNC-A, so I don't know if that counts), Williams has put up nine in the first half off a 4-for-4 effort on the floor, inclusing this beautiful baseline spin move toward the end of the half that made him appear as if he was the baller we all thought he could be when first recruited. Duke has a comfortable 11-point lead at half, but then again, the Blue Devils were up 37-32 over BC on Sunday, so you never know. My fellow reporter Maddie Perez and I are going to scope out the Garden for a bit, but I'll be back. Don't you worry.

3:46 FIRST HALF Duke 32, St. John's 22: Hey Justin Burrell, that must have been super-embarrassing when you missed a wide-open dunk—with authority!—at the 5:48 mark that would've cut the deficit to single digits. Sure, G missed an alley-oop from Scheyer at the 4:48 mark, but at least he got fouled. All-in-all, Duke has built a 10-pt (good). but I can't say they've looked so hot or confident doing it (bad). Also, I just saw some dude walk down the stairs in the Garden in a red "BEAT DUKE" shirt. I get the feeling he mugged a Terrapin fan at the door. After the break, Paulus makes his return to the floor (about time. Gotta make me look good, Greg).

8:08 FIRST HALF Duke 24, St. John's 15: 808 and heartbreak. JSchey drains a wide-open three and STJ calls a 30-second timeout.

9:11 FIRST HALF Duke 21, St. John's 14: Zooooouuuuuuuuuuuu makes his first appearance. Gosh, I love that 7-foot-1 kid.

9:26 FIRST HALF 21, St. John's 13: Red Storm calls timeout after, get this, Elliot Williams, scores two consecutive baskets, the second off a steal by Lance Thomas in the St. John frontcourt.

11:53 FIRST HALF Duke 14, St. John's 13: D.J. Kennedy has a sick move on the baseline and rolls it in off his fingers to pull the Red Storm within one at 14-13. Krzyzewski has thrown a bunch of different lineups out there but none of them look too impressive, but though it's close now, I get the impression Duke is going to wear St. John's down. Plus, Singler drained a three since last we spoke, so maybe he'll start getting a bit hot (or explore the paint?). Whatever, this game has already met the halftime score of yesterday's abysmal 38-33 Big Ten marquee match-up, so who can complain?

15:36 FIRST HALF Duke 7, St. John's 8: Well, it hasn't been pretty, but I guess that shouldn't come as a surprise given how the last few games have gone. Jon Scheyer scored five of Duke's first seven points and looks like he's got it goin' on—but the rest of the team, not so much. Two turnovers on Duke's first two possessions resulted in easy buckets for the Red Storm. The decision to start Williams stuck me as a bit bizarre, but I guess I've been calling to see more of him all season, so maybe K's been hiding something and knows something I don't? Five on the floor out of the break: Paulus, Plumlee, Nolan, Scheyer, Kyle.

STARTING LINEUPS: Duke: Singler, Thomas, Henderson, ELLIOT WILLIAMS, Scheyer; ST. JOHN'S: I don't know. I'm too distracted by the darkened stadium, spotlights, booming rap, and the fact that ELLIOT WILLIAMS is starting for Duke

PREGAME: Welcome boys and girls to lovely Cameron Ind...errr... Madison Square Garden in Midtown Manhattan where your Duke University Blue Devils will be taking on the Red Storm of St. John's. My name is Meredith, and I'll be your server for this evening. I know you've been waiting for this live blog for months—a columnist actually at a game! Jay Mariotti would be so ashamed—so I'll try to keep it real and fresh for you all. There isn't a big crowd as of yet (although to be honest, this was the scene playing in my head so I guess my expectations were a bit off from reality). St. John's has just taken the court, and the team looks about as intimidating as any 12-13 squad that's mustered only three conference wins can. Duke has been on the floor for quite some time—at least 20 minutes longer than the Red Storm have been—but conspicuously missing Dave McClure, whom the News & Observer reported is back in the hotel suffering from food poisoning like symptoms.

Speaking of red (like Red Storm, get it?), the man who popularized the red sweater like Kanye and those bizarro glasses is calling the game tonight. Come on, it's like this game was designed to be comfort food for a hurting Duke team, Bobby Knight+home-away-from-home MSG+opponent with EIGHT freshmen in the lineup. As for predictions, I'm expecting big things from Greg Paulus tonight. He freaking loves this place. Plus, if I'm wrong, I can always go back and change "Greg Paulus" to "Gerald Henderson" later. Ah, the joys of the Internet. That's all for now, be back at the first TV timeout with my early thoughts of the game. Until then, enjoy Mussy and Bobby. And if there's any Blue Devil reading this on his blackberry right now, remember Duke has a storied history of being  2 legit 2 quit. A win here is a must, kids.


Share and discuss “LIVE BLOG: Duke 76, St. John's 69 (FINAL)” on social media.