Redick's hot hand lifts No. 1 Blue Devils

Sophomore breaks slump with 21 against Seton Hall

Ncaa Regional Atlanta

March 21, 2004|By Don Markus | Don Markus,SUN STAFF

RALEIGH, N.C. - With less than six minutes left in the first half and Seton Hall making a run to get back into its second-round NCAA tournament game yesterday against Duke at RBC Center, Pirates coach Louis Orr got to see up close what his players were experiencing in trying to guard J.J. Redick.

When Redick's three-point shot from directly in front of the Seton Hall bench went in to extend Duke's lead to 12 points, Orr could do little but shake his head. There was no defense by the Pirates on the shot, and very little slowing down Redick or the suddenly rejuvenated Blue Devils the rest of the afternoon.

Redick, who showed signs of coming out of his recent shooting slump during Thursday's opening-round rout of No. 16 seed Alabama State, did a lot more to further silence talk of top-seeded Duke's vulnerability with a virtuoso first-half performance during a 90-62 demolition of No. 8 seed Seton Hall.

The sophomore guard hit his first four shots and six of 10 overall, scoring 17 of his game-high 21 points before halftime to help Duke (29-5) advance to the Sweet 16 at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Friday.

"I'm a rhythm player," Redick, who also made all seven of his free throws, said later. "If I can hit my first couple of shots, I think I'm going to be pretty good for the day."

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski compared Redick's sudden burst of hot shooting - he had missed 17 of 21 three-point shots in the four games before the NCAA tournament - to the feeling that comes from having air conditioning turned on in the middle of a scorching summer day.

"When you have air conditioning, you take it for granted," Krzyzewski said after the Blue Devils advanced to their seventh straight regional semifinal and 10th in the past 19 years. "All of a sudden the air conditioning came on and we felt a hell of a lot better."

But Redick's shooting was not the only reason Duke felt refreshed.

Senior point guard Chris Duhon played 32 minutes - double the time he did in the opening round. He was efficient running the offense with nine points and five assists, and he helped hold Seton Hall point guard Andre Barrett scoreless in the first half and to eight points overall.

"I thought Duhon had one of those courageous performances," Krzyzewski said of his team captain, who again played with a tightly wrapped brace to protect the ribs he bruised in last Sunday's ACC tournament final against Maryland. "I think because he's out there, these kids picked it up."

Freshman forward Luol Deng finished with 20 points and seven rebounds, and sophomore center Shelden Williams scored 13 and pulled down 11 rebounds. Duke held a 40-22 advantage on the boards against a team that was obviously tired from its comeback win Thursday against Arizona.

"Our defense has been our staple all season. Today we struggled," said Orr. "Our zone was good to us, but we didn't stop them defensively and they made their foul shots [34 for 38, including 18 in a row in one stretch]."

As for Redick, the Pirates had no answer.

Seton Hall (21-10) started out with Barrett guarding Redick, but Redick's seven-inch edge in height created problems.

At one point in the first half, Redick hit a three-pointer that forced Orr to call a timeout. As he got to the bench, Redick screamed at Duhon.

"I'm back," he appeared to say.

SETON HALL - Whitney 4-9 6-9 14, Barrett 4-11 0-0 8, Toney-El 1-3 0-0 2, Allen 6-12 1-2 14, Sweet 3-10 0-1 7, Morris 4-7 3-3 12, Copeland 0-2 0-0 0, Messy 1-2 1-1 3, Gambino 0-0 0-0 0, Fray 0-0 0-0 0, Billmeier 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 24-57 11-16 62. DUKE - Deng 6-9 7-8 20, Redick 6-10 7-7 21, Ewing 1-6 8-10 11, Duhon 2-5 5-5 9, Williams 3-9 7-8 13, Horvath 1-1 0-0 2, Melchionni 0-0 0-0 0, Dockery 3-3 0-0 6, Borman 0-0 0-0 0, Davidson 0-0 0-0 0, Randolph 4-5 0-0 8, Johnson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-48 34-38 90. Half: Duke, 42-28. 3-point goals-Seton Hall 3-17 (Allen 1-3, Morris 1-3, Sweet 1-3, Messy 0-1, Toney-El 0-1, Copeland 0-2, Barrett 0-4), Duke 4-11 (Redick 2-4, Deng 1-3, Ewing 1-4). Fouled out-Morris. Rebounds-Seton Hall 22 (Whitney 6), Duke 40 (Williams 11). Assists-Seton Hall 11 (Barrett, Sweet 5), Duke 16 (Duhon 5). Total fouls-Seton Hall 27, Duke 18. Technical-Allen. A-19,722.

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