Duke applies heat, leaves C. Michigan high and dry, 86-60

Jones' 28 lead Blue Devils to sixth straight Sweet 16

No. 2 seed Kansas next

South Regional

Ncaa Tournament

March 23, 2003|By Don Markus | Don Markus,SUN STAFF

SALT LAKE CITY--Winning the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament last week in Greensboro, N.C., seemed to take its toll on the Duke Blue Devils. They came here tired, sick and vulnerable, as evidenced by Thursday's shaky, opening-round NCAA tournament win over 14th-seeded Colorado State at the Huntsman Center.

Central Michigan hoped to finish last night what the Rams couldn't quite accomplish. But with a strong first half, third-seeded, seventh-ranked Duke didn't allow the Chippewas to get the same sniff of an upset in this city's rarefied air.

Led by senior forward Dahntay Jones, who scored 18 of his career-high 28 points in the first half, the Blue Devils marched to their sixth straight Sweet 16 with a convincing, 86-60 victory. Duke (26-6) will meet second-seeded Kansas, which won easily last night over Arizona State, Thursday in Anaheim, Calif.

"I think we wore them down," said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. "We got healthier. [Utah coach Rick] Majerus told me that if we came out here, we'd get healthier and we did. We're going to go home and get better and hopefully go out to Anaheim and play a little better."

Of all the Blue Devils, freshman guard J.J. Redick made the biggest recovery. After missing practice Friday and spending most of the day in bed with a sinus infection, he seemed to get progressively better as the game went along. He finished with 26 points on 9-for-13 shooting.

"It was the most out of shape I've felt in a long time," Redick said between sniffles afterward.

It took a three-pointer by freshman guard Daniel Ewing and two straight by Redick with Central Michigan (25-7) trailing by only 31-24 for Duke to feel a lot better as a team. The Blue Devils built their lead to 15 on Redick's second three and led by 47-33 at halftime.

"They hit those three straight threes and we never recovered," said Central Michigan coach Jay Smith.

Things didn't get better for the Chippewas in the second half. In fact, things got worse as Duke built its lead to as many as 25 at 59-24. Only an 11-0 run by Central Michigan and some early bench-clearing by Krzyzewski kept the margin of victory under 30.

Unlike Thursday's win over Colorado State, when Jones and senior center Casey Sanders fouled out and the Rams took the Blue Devils into the last two minutes, Duke didn't give Central Michigan a chance. After watching its lead shrink to 14, Duke built it quickly back to 20.

"It was very important to keep focused and keep our defense up," Jones said.

The defense, in general, and Jones, in particular, never allowed Chippewas forward Mike Manciel to get going. After scoring a career-high 29 in Thursday's upset win over sixth-seeded Creighton, Manciel was limited to five points, all in the first half.

Chippewas center Chris Kaman finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds, but was disappointed in the way he and his teammates allowed Duke to score so many uncontested baskets. The Blue Devils shot over 60 percent in each half - hitting 32 of 52 shots in the game - to 21 of 57 (36.8) for Central Michigan.

"We just didn't come to play," Kaman said. "Maybe they are better than us, but there's no way we should have lost by so many points."

In reaching the Sweet 16, Duke set up an NCAA tournament rematch with the Jayhawks. The Blue Devils beat Kansas (coached by Larry Brown) in the 1986 national semifinals, and the Jayhawks returned the favor two years later. Duke then beat Kansas for the title in 1991 and again in a second-round game in 2000.

Central Michigan's Smith, who as an assistant at Michigan was on the losing end of several big games with Duke, saw some similarities to the past.

"Defensively, they were very good," Smith said. "If they continue to play defense [against Kansas] like they are now, they will be difficult to beat."

CENTRAL MICHIGAN-Bowne 1-3 1-2 4, Manciel 1-9 3-4 5, Kaman 10-20 5-6 25, Wallace 5-10 0-0 14, Meerman 0-0 0-0 0, Robinson 2-6 0-0 6, Quinn 0-1 0-0 0, Voorhees 0-0 0-0 0, Pantlind 0-1 0-0 0, Nelson 0-1 0-0 0, Carr 2-3 0-0 5, Brigitha 0-2 0-0 0, Dentlinger 0-1 1-2 1. Totals 21-57 10-14 60. DUKE-Redick 9-13 3-3 26, Williams 2-2 0-0 4, Jones 9-14 8-9 28, Ewing 4-7 1-1 10, Duhon 7-10 0-2 16, Buckner 0-1 0-0 0, Horvath 0-0 0-1 0, Melchionni 0-0 0-0 0, Dockery 0-3 0-0 0, Sanders 1-1 0-0 2, Thompson 0-1 0-0 0, Johnson 0-0 0-0 0, Means 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 32-52 12-16 86. Half-Duke, 47-33. 3-point goals-Central Michigan 8-17 (Wallace 4-5, Robinson 2-4, Bowne 1-2, Carr 1-2, Nelson 0-1, Manciel 0-3), Duke 10-15 (Redick 5-7, Duhon 2-3, Jones 2-3, Ewing 1-2). Fouled out-Sanders. Rebounds- Central Michigan 33 (Kaman 10), Duke 27 (Williams 7). Assists-Central Michigan 8 (Bowne, Manciel 2), Duke 14 (Duhon 8). Total fouls- Central. Michigan 14, Duke 18. A-NA.

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