No. 5 Duke defeats North Carolina State

Published: Friday, January 14, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 14, 2005 at 1:15 a.m.
RALEIGH, N.C. - Duke's supposed lack of depth might not matter much if Shelden Williams keeps playing this well.
Williams scored 18 of his 22 points in the second half to help the fifth-ranked Blue Devils beat North Carolina State 86-74 on Thursday night.
Daniel Ewing added 17 points for Duke (12-0, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference).
Behind Williams, the Blue Devils scored on nine straight possessions midway through the second half to charge ahead after trailing by 10 early. Duke got strong performances from inexperienced players Lee Melchionni and freshman DeMarcus Nelson, who have been pressed into significant minutes because of the Blue Devils' thin bench.
It was hardly a vintage Duke win, filled with the quick scoring runs that carried the Blue Devils to three national championships in 14 years. But with just eight recruited scholarship players on the roster, it's the way they will have to grind through a tough ACC season.
Not that their Hall of Fame coach seems to mind.
''I really love my team and they are so much fun,'' Mike Krzyzewski said. ''They're not (Christian) Laettner or (Elton) Brand, but they make plays. I enjoy watching the evolution of this team and I'm just so proud of what they're accomplishing.''
It was a different feeling for the Wolfpack (10-5, 0-2), who have lost four straight games for the first time since the 1999-00 season. N.C. State reached No. 12 in the nation last month, but its once-promising season appears headed in the wrong direction.
That included another shaky outing from Julius Hodge, the league's reigning player of the year. Hodge finished with 13 points and five turnovers. ''I think our team is going through a tough stretch and I think we're all frustrated,'' Wolfpack coach Herb Sendek said. ''We understand the answer is not to panic or flinch. We've got to come closer together and work harder.''
Duke had taken 29 of 34 meetings coming into Thursday's game, but the Wolfpack had beaten the Blue Devils at the RBC Center in each of the past two seasons. Last year, N.C. State's 78-74 win knocked Duke from the No. 1 ranking.
The Blue Devils appeared on their way to a third straight road loss to the Wolfpack. They trailed 28-18 midway through the first half against the Wolfpack's aggressive and physical defense, which had seven steals in the period to take a 41-38 lead at the break.
But Williams - a rugged 6-foot-9, 250-pound junior - took charge right when the Blue Devils needed him most. After taking just two shots in the first half, he went 7-for-10 from the floor after the break and was virtually unstoppable in the paint.
He did all of that despite picking up his third foul with 19 minutes left. ''It was one of those things where (teammates) kept going to me until they found an answer for me,'' Williams said. ''And fortunately, they didn't.''
Williams also got plenty of help from Melchionni and Nelson. Melchionni had a career-high 16 points, which included a 3-pointer and basket during that nine-possession run. Nelson added 15 points.
Those numbers helped the Blue Devils offset an off night from J.J. Redick, who came in averaging 21.5 points but finished with eight points and seven rebounds.
The Blue Devils were playing without forwards Shavlik Randolph, who has mononucleosis, and Reggie Love, who has a broken right foot. Randolph returned to practice this week, but Love is expected to be out several more weeks. ''When they come back, we're going to be an even deeper team,'' Melchionni said. ''People want to say we're not deep. We know we are and we know what our strengths are.''
Duke tied it at 48 when Williams scored over Ilian Evtimov inside. Williams then scored off a feed from Ewing to put the Blue Devils ahead to stay at 50-49 with 13:28 to play.
The Blue Devils went on to score on their next seven possessions, getting two more baskets from Williams. The run ended when Ewing hit a 3 off a screen from Williams for a 67-59 lead with 8:37 left.
The Wolfpack, 10-for-28 from the field in the second half, got no closer than four points the rest of the way.
Cameron Bennerman scored 20 points to lead the Wolfpack, but Hodge went just 3-for-10 from the floor. ''I have to play better for us to win a game like this,'' Hodge said.
Women's Top 25
  • NO. 4 RUTGERS 69, GEORGETOWN 33: Michelle Campbell scored 20 points and Freshman Matee Ajavon added 18 as Rutgers won its seventh straight game in Piscataway, N.J. The Scarlet Knights (12-2, 3-0 Big East) forced 25 turnovers and held the Hoyas without a basket for 12 minutes in the first half. Bethany LeSueur had 10 points for Georgetown (5-9, 0-3).
  • NO. 5 OHIO ST. 80, NO. 21 IOWA 57: Marscilla Packer and Michelle Munoz scored all of the points in host Ohio State's key 11-0 first-half run. Jessica Davenport led the Buckeyes (16-2, 4-1 Big Ten) to their fifth consecutive victory with 19 points. Jamie Cavey had 17 points for the Hawkeyes (13-3, 2-3).
  • NO. 8 TENNESSEE 72, ARKANSAS 54: Shanna Zolman scored 16 points for Tennessee, which held visiting Arkansas to 17 in the first half. The Vols (11-3, 1-0 SEC) won their 55th straight home game in league play. Brittany Vaughn had a career-high 13 points for the Razorbacks (10-5, 0-4).
  • NO. 9 MICHIGAN ST. 74, WISCONSIN 66: Liz Shimek had 22 points to punctuate the best start in Michigan State history. Lindsay Bowen and Kelli Roehrig added 14 points apiece for the host Spartans (14-2, 3-1 Big Ten). Wisconsin (6-8, 1-4) was led by Jolene Anderson's 16 points.
  • NO. 11 MINNESOTA 58, NO. 20 PURDUE 38: Shannon Schonrock scored a career-high 25 points, and Minnesota won for the first time in the last 18 visits to Mackey Arena. Schonrock made a career-high 7-of-11 3-pointers, and the Gophers (14-2, 4-0 Big Ten) held Purdue to 32-percent shooting to win their sixth game in a row. Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton had 10 points and 10 rebounds for Purdue (10-5, 3-2).
  • NO. 15 MARYLAND 72, GEORGIA TECH 65: Maryland's Shay Doron scored 28 points in Atlanta. The Terrapins (12-2, 2-1 ACC) used a 10-0 run early in the second half to open a 40-23 lead. Georgia Tech (10-4, 1-2) got 20 points from Stephanie Higgs.
  • NO. 17 VANDERBILT 73, AUBURN 67: Carla Thomas had 32 points and nine rebounds to lead Vanderbilt over host Auburn in the SEC opener for both. Ashley Earley added 22 points for the Commodores (12-2). Natasha Brackett led the Tigers (9-5) with 18 points.
  • KENTUCKY 71, NO. 18 GEORGIA 63: Freshman center Sarah Elliott scored 15 points to give host Kentucky its first victory over a ranked opponent in five seasons. Samantha Mahoney added 14 points for the Wildcats (12-5, 1-1 SEC). Tasha Humphrey had 23 points and Alexis Kendrick 18 for Georgia (13-5, 2-2).
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