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LIVE BLOG: Duke 66, Boston College 65 (FINAL)

DUKE 66-65, FINAL: Sanders misses a three at the buzzer, Duke survives. Whew. More after the locker room.

DUKE 66-65, 5.5: Rakim Sanders crosses midcourt, Al Skinner calls timeout to set up a play in the halfcourt. Another Rice three to beat the buzzer?

DUKE 66-65, 10.6: Duke gets its defensive stop, forcing a turnover on the inbound, but Scheyer misses front end of one-and-one, Trapani grabs rebound, and Boston College calls timeout. The Eagles will get the last shot. Again, they will likely look to get the ball in Rice's hands and let him create.

DUKE 66-65, 34.6: Duke calls Henderson's number, and the junior responds. Taking a pass from Williams, Henderson posts up Sanders in the lane, elevates over his defender and lays in the go-ahead basket for Duke. 30-second timeout for the Blue Devils, followed by a 30-second break called by the Eagles.

What does Boston College do now? It has to get the ball in the hands of Rice, obviously, and let him create. Chances are, he'll drive and either force a running layup, as he's done all day, or he'll penetrate and kick to find Trapani on the block.

BOSTON COLLEGE 65-64, 48.4: Singler fouled going up, misses first, makes second. Boston College milks the shot clock, Paris finds Trapani cutting to the basket. Trapani misses layup, gets his own rebound, fouled going up, makes both free throws. 30-second timeout Duke, down one point. The Blue Devils have to find Henderson or Singler here, perhaps going up and getting fouled.

TIE 63-63, 1:19: Elliot Williams transition layup, Biko Paris three in the corner to tie. Singler headed to the line for two shots after he was fouled going up by Roche.

DUKE 61-58, 3:05: Turns out, Duke decided to turn to both Singler and Henderson.

Coming out of a timeout, Krzyzewski calls a play for Singler in the post, and the sophomore delivered a soft hook over Tyler Roche to give Duke a 3-point lead. Biko Paris responds on the other end with two free throws. Henderson, who may have gotten away with a few too many steps, takes care of Duke's rebuttal, sinking a turnaround fadeaway for the 61-58 lead. Rice is headed to the line after he was fouled on a drive by Elliot Williams, who has done a nice job containing Rice despite the guard's 15 points. It will be interesting to hear what all parties have to say about that matchup in the locker room.

With the game so close, we'll make our updates more frequent from here on out.

DUKE 57-56, 4:36: Who were we to think this one was over? Boston College still has life in it--a lot of life, to be exact.

Biko Paris just capped a 10-3 Eagles run with a 3-pointer from the right corner after Henderson missed two straight baby hooks. Joe Trapani pitched in with two contested layups, and just like that, this thing is close again. Henderson had the hot hand, but he seems to have lost it. Who does Duke look to now? Either Singler or Henderson. It doesn't matter who's hot--at this point, you ride your horses, and Henderson and Singler are just that.

DUKE 54-46, 7:28: Hello, Gerald Henderson. So nice to see you.

As timid as Henderson was in the first half, he's now that aggressive.  And as poorly as Duke closed the first half, it's now playing that well. The Blue Devils have opened up an eight-point lead, embarking on a 12-4 run since the last media timeout and a 32-17 spurt since halftime, and Henderson has been at the core of it. At one point, it looked like Scheyer would be Singler's complement. No more. Henderson, Duke's leading scorer on the season, has scored Duke's last seven points with a 3-pointer and four free throws, and two near-monster dunks energized a sleepy club.

One play will go overlooked in this game, but it might have changed everything. With Duke sporting a 44-43 lead, Elliot Williams forced Rakim Sanders to step out-of-bounds in the halfcourt, leading Williams, Henderson and assistant coach Nate James to bellow in approval. On the ensuing possession, Scheyer took a 3-pointer from the top of the key and made it, sealing the momentum.

TIE 42-42, 11:54: Before we know it, we might have the game of the day on our hands here. And Kyle Singler might be putting together the best individual performance of the day.

Singler boosted his point total to 20 points after taking a lob from Scheyer and laying home the dish, and then breaking away from a pack with a loose ball, slamming it home and releasing a primal scream while running back on defense, as he's prone to do. But Boston College won't let Singler or Duke run away. The Eagles are hanging in there, thanks in part to Rice, and in larger part to a balanced attack. The senior guard has 12 points, including a layup that barely beat the shot clock a few minutes ago, and now Corey Raji's on the line looking to give Boston College a lead. He collected a rebound off a Joe Trapani missed 3-pointer, made the putback and was fouled in the process.

Who knows what will happen between now and the next media timeout?

TIE 38-38, 14:11: Duke died by the 3-pointer in the first half, missing 9-of-11 long-range shots. After halftime, though, the Blue Devils have begun to thrive by shooting 3-pointers.

Duke has erased a seven-point halftime deficit by knocking down four 3-pointers in a row--two from Scheyer, one from Singler and one from Nolan Smith. Finally, we have a back-and-forth game in a day that has been marked by two down-to-the-wire finishes in the first two contests. Remember all that talk about Duke not being able to find a second scorer? Singler's up to 16 points, but--hey look!--Scheyer has nine points on three 3-pointers, and suddenly, it's a tie again. Funny how that works.

Funny how something else works, too: Rice just tried the same step-back 3-pointer over Singler, except this time, the power forward got a piece and Rice was instantly serenaded with "airball" catcalls.

BOSTON COLLEGE 29-22, HALFTIME: Duke couldn't have ended the half any worse. Boston College just closed the opening period on a 20-5 run spanning more than seven minutes. Tyrese Rice, of all players, capped the run with a step-back 3-pointer over Kyle Singler to beat the halftime buzzer. After he swished the deep 3-pointer--Rice was standing between the "A" and "C" in the conference's logo, about five feet behind the arc--Rice turned around and bellowed, "I ain't playin' no more!" Duke must hope he's being serious.

So what went wrong in the latter part of the half for the Blue Devils? The defense--a switching man-to-man--sagged a bit, but the collapse had more to do with the offense. As we noticed early on, Singler's the only one who can do anything on offense, and Krzyzewski must be livid that after almost a week of idleness, his team is completely impotent with the ball. Singler leads Duke with 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting, and its next-highest scorer is Lance Thomas, with five. Scheyer has three, Henderson has three, and that's it. No one else has any points. Zero. Zip.

Boston College, on the other hand, has featured a balanced attack. Six players have scored, and no one has more than seven points. Rice has six with two 3-pointers.

More stat comparisons:

  • FG percentage: Duke 32.0, Boston College 40.0
  • 3FG percentage: Duke 18.2, Boston College 36.4
  • Rebounds: Duke 20, Boston College 17
  • Turnovers: Duke 8, Boston College 6
  • Assists: Duke 2, Boston College 7

That last category is significant, because it underscores the Blue Devils' one-on-one approach. Right now, the offense consists of giving the ball to Scheyer, Singler or Henderson and letting one of them create. That works against Presbyterian, but not in postseason play.

Keeping track of fouls: Henderson, Scheyer, Raji, Sanders and Rice all have two. If any of them pick up an early third, this game could change really quickly--and if it's Henderson or Scheyer, the Blue Devils might be back in Durham earlier than they expected.

TIE 19-19, 2:32: And there goes Duke's lead. Since it trailed 11-2, Boston College is on a 17-8 run, and it has more to do with Duke than it does the Eagles. Quite simply, the Blue Devils have no offense but Singler. Scheyer is cold--he's just 1-of-4 from the floor. Henderson seems shaken since his second foul, and he was just benched after another turnover. The flip side of those three being Duke's best scorers is that when only one of them can score, Duke doesn't have a fourth scoring option. Williams has been aggressive, but doesn't have the offensive touch, and Smith looks a bit rusty.

Greg Paulus, a player with the type of experience Duke could use right now, hasn't even taken off his shooting shirt yet.

Conversely, Boston College's scoring has been balanced.  For once, the Eagles haven't been overly reliant on Tyrese Rice, who has just three points.

DUKE 17-11, 5:44: Interesting mano-a-mano coaching move: Mike Krzyzewski puts Henderson back in the game with 9:20 left, and as soon as Henderson hits the scorer's table, Skinner looks down his bench to insert Sanders into the contest. The two foul-saddled forwards are guarding each other, and the referees, bless their hearts, are letting the two go at it. Last time down the court, Henderson attacked Sanders, dropped his shoulder and had his shot altered. There was a foul somewhere, but it would have been controversial either way, so the nearest zebra swallowed his whistle. Good for him.

The fans sitting directly behind me--which include Mickie Krzyzewski and her daughters--are not as content with the referees. They're urging the black-and-white shirts to whistle Rice for a carry... on every possession.

And section 106, with the Cameron Crazies in the top row, just called out Crazy Towel Guy. Cameron Indoor Stadium isn't so far from Atlanta, after all.

DUKE 11-2, 11:46: Again, the whistles have been more important than the basket. Henderson and Sanders are out with two fouls, and now, so too is Tyrese Rice, easily the Eagles' best player. Eagles head coach Al Skinner is taking a calculated risk by keeping Rice in the game. Rice picked up his second on a loose ball, when he bumped Nolan Smith coming down for a rebound. On the next possession, Singler canned a 3-pointer to push Duke's lead to nine. Singler's already jacked up four treys, making just one, but it seems clear that he knows he has to shoulder the scoring burden with Henderson on the bench. He and Scheyer aren't shy about shooting. When they're cold, that's not a good trait. But when Duke doesn't have its most prolific scorer, the reality is that Scheyer and Singler have to score, no matter how they do it.

On the other side of the ball, Duke's defense has been unusually stingy, but the Blue Devils haven't played their traditional in-your-face man-to-man. It's hard to tell whether they're in a 2-3 zone or a sagging man, but whatever it is, it's not conventional. And it's working. Boston College is just 1-of-10 from the field.

DUKE 8-2, 15:13: This certainly hasn't started like we expected, so let's not bury the news: Gerald Henderson picked up his second foul just 34 seconds into the game, depositing him on the bench for who knows how long? Replacing him was Nolan Smith, playing for the first time since Feb. 25, but the Blue Devils haven't skipped a beat. Duke is just 1-of-5 from 3-point land--Jon Scheyer made one--but the Blue Devils, thanks to Elliot Williams, have been able to push the ball in transition. Smith, too, looks like his normal self, or at least the player he was before he was relegated to a reserve role midway through the ACC season. He's already driven by his defender, and while he missed the contested layup, Lance Thomas was there for a one-handed slam on the putback.

Another bright point for Duke: Rakim  Sanders, Boston College's leading scorer last night, also picked up his second foul at the 17:29 mark, putting two of the game's best players on the bench for the foreseeable future.

The pressing questions at this point: When will Henderson return? And does Duke need him to come back right now?

PREGAME: Starting lineups are being announced. Raji, Trapani, Southern, Rice and Sanders for Boston College; Singler, Henderson, Williams, Scheyer, Thomas for Duke, sporting its new white jerseys. Boston College is wearing maroon with gold trim.

PREGAME: Finally, Duke is on the court. The players have been here for more than 24 hours, and the Georgia Dome has played host to seven games before the Blue Devils ran out of the locker room. It should be noted, though, that we haven't heard many boos over the course  of the Tournament--until, that is, Duke showed up. There is a decent amount of Duke blue in the crowd, but it's far overwhelmed by Tar Heel blue, and almost every other color. After all, everyone's favorite team, besides their own, is whoever's playing Duke, and tonight, that's Boston College.

Given the Blue Devils' long layover, we wouldn't be surprised to see them come out with a fire, or start the game flat. Yes, that's a broad statement, but it's hard to predict what will happen to a team that's been sitting around a hotel for a while. Either way, I've been thinking about what Boston College head coach Al Skinner told me last night, and I think he's correct: Duke is a better team when it has a reliable second scorer. The Blue Devils have three scorers to choose from--Gerald Henderson, Kyle Singler and Jon Scheyer--and if they can get productive nights from at least two of them, it's going to be hard for the Eagles to follow up their last win.

PREGAME: After Maryland lost 85-44 to Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium Jan. 24, no one would have picked the Terrapins to make the NCAA Tournament. But after their 75-64 win over No. 3 Wake Forest in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament Friday, the Terrapins appear Tournament-bound--and they could be Duke's next opponent, if the Blue Devils get past Boston College in a few minutes. Greivis Vasquez, Maryland's feisty junior guard, posted 22 points to give his team the upset it needed to advance in the ACC Tournament.

If Duke wins, the re-match between the Terrapins and Blue Devils might be even chippier than usual. After all, it was against Maryland when Nolan Smith left with a mild concussion, and Gerald Henderson admitted after the contest that he elevated his play when he saw his teammate go down. Henderson scored 19 points that night to give the Blue Devils a 78-67 victory on the road.

But first things first, right? Duke still has to avenge a loss to the Eagles before it can start looking ahead to the Terrapins, although that's exactly why Chris Collins, Steve Wojciechowski and Nate James were scouting the 7 p.m. game instead of hanging out with the team. Headed to the locker rooms now, then back to press row for the Duke tip. Anything you want asked in the Maryland locker room?

PREGAME: Sitting here on press row of the Georgia Dome, waiting to see who the winner of Duke's 9 p.m. matchup with Boston College will play Saturday afternoon. Maryland leads Wake Forest 36-31 early in the second half, but you might chalk that up to the Demon Deacons' sitting around for a few days while the Terrapins were at least slightly fresher from last night. We've been busy blogging the day away, and even though Duke is the last team to play in the Tournament, the players have been busy, too. According to Duke Blue Planet, the Blue Devils held their shootaround at Philips Arena in downtown Atlanta, thanks to a connection with Hawks assistant coach Bob  Bender. What else have the players been up to? Well, we saw a fan stop Kyle Singler and Elliot Williams for a photo in the lobby of the Marriott Marquis, but beyond that, we'll have to ask in the post-game press conference.

We'll keep you posted with the progress of this game. Duke fans are likely pulling for Maryland, a team the Blue Devils have beaten twice this year and would be playing its third game in less than 48 hours.


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