CHICAGO - If anyone questioned Jon Scheyer's ability to deliver under pressure, his 31-point performance in Duke's 21-point victory over Iowa State likely silenced such doubters.
In a homecoming of sorts and playing before a large contingent of relatives and friends, guard Jon Scheyer turned in a strong performance on 10 of 19 shooting, 3 rebounds and 4 assists.
"Big time, man. You're big time," former Dukie and current Chicago Bull Luol Deng said to Scheyer through the gaggle of reporters surrounding him after the game, as if to confirm the recent ascendance of the Northbrook, Il. native to the upper echelon of college basketball talent.
Approximately 500 of Scheyer's friends and family attended the game, including former teammates and coaches from high school, childhood friends and his grandparents. In his first game ever in the United Center, Scheyer said he almost shed a tear at the start of the second half due to the emotion from playing before his relatives and friends on such a big stage.
"[Scheyer's] just a veteran," said Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski."He’s been outstanding, and he was just himself [tonight].... He really has great body control and a soft touch and obviously a determined heart."
Scheyer's game-high 31 points continues his ACC-best streak of 26 straight games in double figures and ups his scoring average to 19.7 points per game, bringing the guard to within shouting distance of Virginia Tech's Malcolm Delaney, who leads the ACC with 19.8 points per game.
Additionally, Scheyer's performance - just five points short of his career high - puts him at 1625 for his Duke career and 22nd on Duke's list of all-time scoring leaders. At this rate, Scheyer has a realistic chance of breaking the 2000-point barrier and becoming one of Duke's top ten most prolific scorers.
When Scheyer left the game with a minute remaining, the 500-strong crowd of Scheyer supporters made its presence known as the Duke fans in attendance gave the senior a standing ovation, despite being the minority in a crowd wearing mostly Cyclone red.
“This morning I was a little nervous at our shootaround because I've been [in the UC] so many times to watch games and seen so many great players here," Scheyer said. "Not too many floors I walk on that I feel it’s a big deal, but for me it was tonight, and it ended up being a good night.”
Beyond Scheyer's superb performance, guard Nolan Smith and forward Kyle Singler contributed 20 and 15 points, respectively, to the winning effort. And although the two teams finished with similar shooting percentages - around 45 percent - Duke hit eight more free throws and seven more three-pointers than the Cyclones (10-4), some of which resulted from Iowa State's 18 turnovers.
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The Blue Devils (13-1) travel to Atlanta to face No. 17 Georgia Tech Saturday afternoon. The Yellow Jackets (11-3) lost 73-66 to the Georgia Bulldogs last night.