LIVE BLOG: Duke 70, Purdue 57 FINAL

Duke 70-57, FINAL: The Blue Devils got the job done with a relentless rebounding effort and great second-half contributions from Smith and Singler. Duke is headed to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2004.

Duke 63-51, SECOND HALF 1:26 remaining: We're at that point when Purdue's only hope is to foul and pray that Duke misses its free throws. So far, that isn't the case. The Blue Devils are doing an adequate job of breaking the press and Singler just made his last two foul shots to keep the lead at a comfortable margin.

Duke 57-46, SECOND HALF 3:48 remaining: Duke may be putting this away because Scheyer just refuses to quit. He can't hit from outside, but he is controlling the pace of the game, muscling his way inside and making shots in the lane every which way possible. At this point, nothing he does is surprising.

Duke 51-43, SECOND HALF 7:19 remaining: Nolan doin' work.

It's been a game of short runs, and the Blue Devils are on one right now. Smith scored seven consecutive points for Duke, even though he appears to have hurt himself on the first score of that stretch, prompting Andre Dawkins to head to the scorer's table. Smith's no worse for the wear, though, and even knocked down his first 3-pointer of the contest.

The Blue Devils may have gotten lucky on the last play heading into the media timeout. Miles Plumlee brought it down for a powerful dunk on a nice pass inside from Lance Thomas, but he hung on the rim long enough to potentially be whistled for a technical foul. Fortunately, Duke only received a delay of game warning.

Duke 42-35, SECOND HALF 11:16 remaining: Scheyer is finally providing an offensive lift for the Blue Devils, and Singler is pure money, although the junior appeared to hurt his right wrist on that last play. He's clutching his right wrist and he punched the basket support with his left hand in frustration.

Purdue has its own issues to deal with. Apart from being unable to score, Zoubek just laid out Chris Kramer on a screen, much to the chagrin of the Boilermaker fans behind me, and head coach Matt Painter.

Tied 31-31, SECOND HALF 15:48 remaining: Credit the Boilermakers for being resilient. E'Twaun Moore just hit two long jumpers to tie the score after Duke extended its lead, and you get the feeling that this one's going to be back-and-forth all the way till the end. Coach K certainly feels it--he's ditched his stool and is kneeling courtside now.

Meanwhile, the Blue Devils have to keep track of their fouls. Only one player has three (Zoubek) but the team already has four in this period, and the last thing Duke wants is to put Purdue in the bonus.

Duke 31-26, SECOND HALF 17:49 remaining: Huge sequence for Duke to start the half. Singler just drew Johnson's third foul, even if he failed to convert on the and-one, and Scheyer has finally found the bottom of the net. An aggressive Smith drove into the lane in transition, and found a wide-open Scheyer in the corner for his first bucket of the game. Predictably, the crowd goes nuts for the senior captain, and the Blue Devils just tied their largest lead of the contest.

HALFTIME: Some noteworthy stats from that ugly first session: Purdue has 13 total rebounds, Brian Zoubek has 11. Duke is leading in second-chance points 9-0. Duke is shooting 24.1 percent; Purdue is managing a mildly respectable 30.8 percent. The Blue Devils also have 11 turnovers to four for the Boilermakers.

Duke 24-23, END OF FIRST HALF: JaJuan Johnson is torching the Blue Devils. He has two fouls, but that isn't limiting his aggressiveness on offense, and Duke doesn't seem to be exploiting that disadvantage on defense. He has 13 points on 6-of-9 shooting in what is becoming a real slug fest on both ends.

Singler is keeping Duke alive. He's hit three 3-pointers and got a steal on the last possession as Purdue was trying to run out the clock to end the half. In a moment befitting the Blue Devils' offensive output in the opening period, his fast-break dunk attempt was blocked by the rim, but Smith bailed the team out with his second jumper--on ten attempts--as time expired to regain the lead for the Blue Devils.

Purdue 19-17, FIRST HALF 3:47 remaining: The Boilermakers are exploiting the Blue Devils' sloppy ballhandling on the perimeter. Every time Brian Zoubek or Lance Thomas gets the ball on the 3-point line after a ball screen, Purdue is pressuring them and causing a lot of takeaways.

The shooting woes continue for Smith and Scheyer, who are a combined 1-of-12 tonight. Right now, Scheyer's performance is ominously reminiscent of J.J. Redick's last game in a Blue Devil uniform.

Duke 15-13, FIRST HALF 6:07 remaining: A fellow reporter noted that this is starting to look a lot like the Duke-North Carolina game in Chapel Hill. The Blue Devils can't buy a bucket and have eight turnovers to go with four field goals. Nevertheless, that game did end well for Duke, but one wonders if Purdue's cold streak will last as long as the Tar Heels' did that night in the Dean Dome.

Duke 15-12, FIRST HALF 7:58 remaining: I mentioned the foul situation for Duke earlier, and that's still a matter of concern as Scheyer just picked up his second to put the team in the single bonus. But Purdue is in some serious trouble in that department. JaJuan Johnson, the Boilermakers' only source of offense in the early going, already has two fouls and Patrick Bade, the only backup big man, has picked up three fouls. With both teams in the bonus, the rest of this half will take some time and both teams are going to need some offense from the free-throw line: Duke is shooting 26.7 percent from the field and Purdue is besting (not quite) that mark with a 22.2 percent clip.

Can't emphasize enough how weird it is playing without a backdrop. The benches are slightly beneath the court, which doesn't suit head coach Mike Krzyzewski, so he has a nifty little stool that he's sitting on courtside--quite an awkward image.

Duke 11-10, FIRST HALF 11:09 remaining: Both teams are tightening it up, making for cleaner basketball, but still not too much scoring. I'm going to sound like a broken record, but Kyle Singler has really thrived since Duke started running more of a motion offense in February, right around the away Boston College game. He has accounted for 10 of Duke's points, scoring eight and assisting on one Smith jumper. Scheyer heads to the line now for two shots.

Duke 6-4, FIRST HALF 14:59 remaining: An ugly start to the game for both teams. Duke is being sloppy with the ball, but Purdue is failing to capitalize on opportunities in transition. The lack of a backdrop in this football stadium seems to be hurting both teams, but the Boilermakers in particular. Purdue has already airballed three shots, pretty badly at that. For Duke, Jon Scheyer has failed to connect on his first three attempts, including a WIDE-open 3-pointer right before the media timeout. Scheyer hasn't shot particularly well in the month of March, so we'll see if he can rebound from a subpar start.

Something else to keep in mind: Nolan Smith and Scheyer each have one foul apiece.



2 Nolan Smith, G

12 Kyle Singler, F

30 Jon Scheyer, G

42 Lance Thomas, F

55 Brian Zoubek, C


3 Chris Kramer, G

5 Keaton Grant, G

23 Lewis Jackson, G

25 JaJuan Johnson, F/C

33 E'Twaun Moore, G

MORE PREGAME: It appears I may have mistaken some Purdue yellow for Baylor fans because the Boilermakers just came onto the floor and heard a really, really loud ovation. The Blue Devils got no such love. For those of you keeping score at home, both teams are in the Sweet 16 for the second consecutive year, but no player on either roster has ever reached the Elite Eight. The last time these two teams met was in the ACC-Big 10 Challenge last season when Duke comfortably defeated Purdue 76-60.

PREGAME: We're here at Reliant Stadium in Houston, TX as the No. 1 seed Blue Devils prepare to take on No. 4 Purdue. Before that game tips off in about 45 minutes, No. 3 Baylor is putting the finishing touches on a complete manhandling of the Gaels of St. Mary's in front of a decidedly pro-Bears crowd. The Chronicle's Will Flaherty posited earlier this week that Bears fans wouldn't affect a potential Duke-Baylor matchup, but that opinion seems a bit suspect given the hordes of green and yellow in the stands tonight.


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