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Williams' Play Goes Unnoticed In A Good Way

Photo by Chase Olivieri/The Chronicle

ATLANTA -- Elliot Williams pumped his fist, Gerald Henderson screamed with excitement and assistant coach Nate James jumped off the bench in approval-all for a simple forced turnover.

With Duke clinging to a 44-43 lead midway through the second half, Williams hounded Boston College's Rakim Sanders near the midcourt line. The athletic freshman, who played 36 minutes in Duke's 66-65 win and has contributed a defensive presence previously missing on this squad, forced Sanders to take a step back over the midcourt line for a backcourt violation. The Duke bench erupted, and Henderson, Williams' mentor, held up his protégé for a quick high-five.

It's a play that won't show up in a box score, but it certainly wasn't forgotten by Williams.

"I saw he was dribbling pretty high, and I'm pretty good with ball pressure, so I wanted to just pressure him," said Williams, who remembered the seemingly minute play with ease. "He kept dribbling high, so I kept going after it, and he went backcourt. That was key."

What made the play even more critical, though, was what happened next. On the ensuing possession, Jon Scheyer swished home a 3-pointer from the top of the key to push Duke's lead to 47-43 and seal the momentum swing.

On the game's last sequence, Williams made sure he stayed out of the highlights, in a good way. Assigned the task of guarding Boston College's explosive guard, Tyrese Rice, Williams denied Rice the inbound pass, forcing the Eagles to change their strategy on the fly.

"I knew he was probably going to get the ball, so I tried to front him," Williams said of the game's final play.

How did Williams know he was successful? He stayed out of the box score for all the right reasons.

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