Blue Devils Take Different Approaches To Long Day

ATLANTA -- Eleven teams played in the Georgia Dome before Duke's players took their first shots in the football stadium, easily the biggest arena they've played in this year. The Blue Devils didn't bother coming down here until Thursday afternoon, after two games had already been played.

Still, while waiting to finally take the court Friday around 9 p.m., the Duke players had more time than they knew what to do with.

Playing on the road is nothing new for the Blue Devils, and neither is playing 9 p.m. games. But doing so in such an intense environment is an experience that can't be duplicated easily.

"This tournament is a one-and-done," junior Lance Thomas said. "In our minds, we're thinking about what can we do to advance to the second round? So that was in mine and my teammates' minds today."

"I wouldn't say antsy," said freshman Elliot Williams, playing in his first ACC Tourmament. "We were ready to play. When all the games are great, you're ready to play."

Thomas prefers shortening the day by taking a quick nap, while his teammate, Gerald Henderson, uses visualization techniques while he's waiting around the team hotel.

"I just try to think of the plays I'm going to be making during the game, whether that means sitting there watching TV, watching some of the other games, sitting there by myself, or watching tape," he said. "I'm trying to think of the stuff I'm going to be doing during the game."

The Blue Devils were busy Friday with a trip to Philips Arena for a shootaround. In fact, they hadn't shot at the Georgia Dome rims until they stepped on the floor for their 20-minute pre-game warm-up, which could be a reason why they shot just 2-of-11 from 3-point land in the first half.

Duke won't have that problem Saturday against Maryland, though. Instead of waiting around to play, the Blue Devils have less than 15 hours to prepare for the Terrapins. The day will be short enough as is.


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