Duke 101, Charlotte 59, Final: The Blue Devils finished with four players in double figures, led by Nolan Smith with 24. Duke shot a solid 52.9% from the field, an impressive 57.1% from 3-point range and scored 29 points off 17 Charlotte turnovers. Singler couldn't score 20 for the third straight game, but he came close with 17. All in all, a great turnaround performance for Duke after a less-than-impressive victory, albeit by 25 points, over Coastal Carolina last night.
Duke 100, Charlotte 54, 1:02 second half: Duke just cracked the century mark thanks to an offensive put-back from Zoubek, and the Crazies have begun the "Drive Home Safely" chant.
Duke 93, Charlotte 54, 3:21 second half: Things are pretty much over here, as Duke as about ready to open up a 40-point lead on the 49ers. Plumlee has a double-double with 13 points and 10 boards, and Czyz is back in the game. We'll let you know if he comes up with any highlight-reel dunks in garbage time.
Duke 88, Charlotte 54, 5:33 second half: Coach K has just put the starters back in, except Jordan Davidson is taking the place of Smith. The Duke offense has slowed a bit, and the Blue Devils haven't had a lot of easy baskets recently, getting the line more instead.
Duke 85, Charlotte 50, 7:01 second half: Even though he didn't start the game, and didn't get any minutes in the first half, Olek Czyz scored five points in less than two minutes—off a 3-pointer and a nice layup in traffic under the hoop—and is now seeing extended action in the second half of this closing period.
Duke 75, Charlotte 41, 10:47 second half: Smith comes out of the game after flushing home a monstrous slam off the fastbreak that was set up by a big swat by Scheyer on the defensive end. The Blue Devils are really clamping down on D, as the 49ers can't get anything inside, except for the occasional offensive put-back. After scoring 12 points in the first half, Shamari Spears only has four in the second half.
Duke 68, Charlotte 32, 15:48 second half: Scheyer delivered a beatiful alley-oop dunk to Plumlee, and Smith forced a loose ball at halfcourt off the inbounds pass that resulted in another easy lay-in for the guard. Kelly showed his inside presence immediately after coming into the game, picking up a nice block on Shamari Spears under the basket.
Duke 57, Charlotte 27, Halftime: Smith's play was the story of the first half for the Blue Devils, as the junior guard posted 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting to go along with five assists, four rebounds and no turnovers. Duke has only four turnovers as a team, compared to 12 for Charlotte. As a team, the Blue Devils shot 7-of-13 from beyond the arc and pretty much got any shot they wanted. The 49ers' man-to-man defense proved porous in the first 20 minutes of play, as Smith especially got into the lane at will. We'll see if continues to stay hot in the second half, but he's already made quite the statement in his first game back from suspension.
Duke 57, Charlotte 24, 2:42 first half: Singler showed off his slashing ability, getting a step on his man at the top of the key and plunging right down the middle of the lane for an easy layup that he almost decided to dunk instead. Smith continues to play like he has something to prove, this time turning distributor and dishing to Ryan Kelly off the dribble-drive for a short jumper on the baseline.
Duke 46, Charlotte 22, 6:51 first half: The Crazies couldn't have said it any better—Nolan's rollin' and he's showing no signs of slowing down with 16 points in just over 13 minutes of play. After beating his man one-on-one and hitting a pretty floater in the middle of the lane, Smith swished a 3-pointer from the left wing. After last night's sloppy performance in the first half against Coastal Caroline, Duke looks much more under control tonight on the offensive end.
Duke 32, Charlotte 15, 10:45 first half: Coming out of the timeout, Smith nailed a deep 3-ball, and Miles Plumlee followed it up with his second massive tomahawk dunk of the game after the big man found himself wide open thanks to a Duke steal near midcourt.
Duke 27, Charlotte 14, 11:11 first half: Singler's block off the backboard really got the Crazies fired up, and he answered Shamarr Bowden's deep ball with a 3-pointer of his own on Duke's very next possession. The Blue Devils need to keep Bowden's open looks to a minimum, however, as the redshirt freshman knocked down 6-of-11 from downtown in Charlotte's first game. For the most part, Duke has played tough man-to-man defense, but the big men, especially Zoubek, need to continue to move their feet against Charlotte's quick guards.
Duke 17, Charlotte 4, 15:56 first half: Smith has returned to Cameron with a vengeance, scoring eight quick points off a drive, a fastbreak layup, a short jumper and two foul shots. Singler drained his first three-point attempt of the game and Scheyer has added four more, giving the Blue Devils a big lead early. The 49ers have seven turnovers already and their fan section practically lifeless after only four minutes of play.
Tipoff: Charlotte has a solid fan contingent opposite the student section, and they even brought the 49er mascot, complete with a synthetic bushy brown beard that makes Zoubek's facial hair look like a Fisher Price "My First Mustache."
Duke starters: Nolan Smith, Kyle Singler, Lance Thomas, Miles Plumlee, Jon Scheyer
Charlotte counters the Blue Devils' size inside with 6-10 center Phil Jones, but the 49ers' second-tallest starter is 6-6 forward Shamari Spears. Despite being undersized, Spears posted 23 points last night against Elon.
Pregame: We're about 15 minutes away from game time here at Cameron Indoor Stadium, as Duke gets ready to take on Charlotte in the second round of the NIT Season Tip-Off. The Blue Devils (2-0) are coming off a 74-49 win last night against Coastal Carolina, while the 49ers (2-0) handled Elon 75-61. Junior guard Nolan Smith will make his debut tonight after missing the first two games of the season because of his participation in an unsanctioned summer league. Freshman Mason Plumlee is still out of action due to a wrist injury, leaving his brother Miles, Lance Thomas and Brian Zoubek to carry the load inside. It will be interesting to see if Olek Czyz gets the starting nod again, as the 6-7 sophomore cracked the first unit in both of Duke's previous games. But the return of Smith will probably push the Polish high-flyer back to the bench.
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