Redick finds a way to lift Duke
Published: Sunday, January 15, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 15, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
CLEMSON, S.C. - This wasn't J.J. Redick's typical game. But then again, that's why the Duke star came back for his senior season.
Redick hit only two 3-pointers and missed four of 16 free throws. Still, he finished with 34 points to lead the top-ranked Blue Devils to their 19th straight win over Clemson, 87-77 on Saturday.,
"A lot of people come in if they see us play, expect me to hit five or six 3s and be loud about it," Redick said. "But today we found an efficient way to get the job done."
Shelden Williams added 17 points and 11 rebounds for Duke (16-0, 4-0 Atlantic Coast Conference). It's the Blue Devils' best start since the 1992 NCAA champions opened 17-0. And after losses Saturday by Georgia Tech and North Carolina, Duke is the ACC's only unbeaten team.
Redick was a big reason why. Despite Clemson's perimeter defense - Duke took only nine 3-pointers - Redick found a way to work through screens and break out ahead for easy layups.
"I'm just a scorer," he says simply. "Every game that's my role, so I just find ways to score."
Duke hasn't lost to the Tigers (13-4, 2-2) since Rick Barnes was coaching them in 1997. But it took just about everything Redick had to keep the streak going.
The Blue Devils let an 11-point lead slip to 76-71 after Akin Akingbala's short jumper with 1:56 left.
But Redick dribbled up the court and found a wide-open Sean Dockery for a layup and Clemson could not get any closer.
Redick's improved variety didn't happen overnight. He says when he chose to return for one more year with the Blue Devils, he spent the offseason working to be more than a long-range specialist and dead-eye foul shooter.
"If you don't improve, it's your own fault. You have to put in the work," Redick said. "This offseason I worked as hard as I ever have in my life to improve my overall game."
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski says Redick's effort and what it means to the team is apparent each game.
"I don't take him for granted," Krzyzewski said. "When you have a special player, there's only so much you can teach him."
Redick, like many Duke players during the streak, has never lost to Clemson. He single-handedly kept the Blue Devils in this one in the first half with 17 points.
Redick's first 3-pointer put Duke ahead 16-12. Two minutes later, he made two free throws for a 20-18. And, after Clemson rallied to go up 31-30, Redick hit another long-range shot and a layup to put Duke ahead once again.
Redick's two free throws stretched Duke's lead to 57-46 with 15:03 remaining. The Tigers used a 14-7 run over the next 5 minutes to get within 64-60.
Redick, though, was there to answer. He scored six of Duke's next eight points to restore the comfortable lead.
Williams started the run with a slam, then Redick hit two free throws. He drove the right baseline for a basket on Duke's next possession and finished the spurt with a layup.
Williams followed up a triple-double in his last game against Maryland (19 points, 11 rebounds and 10 blocks) with his eighth game in double figure points and rebounds.
The way Duke handled Clemson's charge will serve it well the rest of the season, Williams said.
"They were probably the only team that played us tough the whole course of the game, for 40 minutes they weren't backing down," Williams said. "That was one of the things we haven't gotten a chance to be exposed to."
Guillermo Diaz scored 24 points - including a clutch 3-pointer with 1:37 left - to help Miami to its first win ever in Chapel Hill.
Robert Hite also had 24 points for the Hurricanes (10-6, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who beat the Tar Heels (10-3, 2-1) for just the second time.
The Hurricanes also recorded consecutive wins against ranked opponents for the first time, following last week's 84-70 win against then-No. 14 Maryland.
Freshman Tyler Hansbrough scored 25 points to lead the Tar Heels, while Reyshawn Terry added 18.
Craig Smith had 28 points and 14 rebounds to lead host Boston College to its first-ever ACC victory despite a career-high 37 points from Al Thornton of the Seminoles.
Jared Dudley scored 25 points for BC (12-4, 1-3), including a second-chance dunk that put the Eagles up 85-81 after Florida State (11-3, 2-2) hit two 3-pointers to cut a 14-point deficit to two.
Louis Hinnant had 12 points and six assists for BC, which trailed by 11 points in the first half before opening an 80-66 lead with 5:36 to play. The win snapped a two-game losing streak and a three-game slide in the ACC for the Eagles as they start their first season since defecting from the Big East.
Cameron Bennerman had 16 points and four of his teammates added 14 for host North Carolina State, which is off to its best start since the Jim Valvano era.
Engin Atsur, Tony Bethel, Cedric Simmons and reserve Andrew Brackman all had 14 points and Ilian Evtimov finished with 13 for N.C. State (14-2, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference). The Wolfpack last won 14 of their first 16 games in 1988-89, when Valvano led them to East Regional semifinals.
Jeremis Smith had 20 points for Georgia Tech (9-5, 2-1), which had a four-game winning streak snapped but lost to the Wolfpack for the seventh straight time.
Vernon Hamilton, who led Clemson with a career-high 31 points, was disappointed with the loss, but "it lets us know that we're capable of playing with anybody in the country," he said.
Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.
Comments are currently unavailable on this article