Duke University 93
(Davis 30, Blalock 16)
Brighton Bears 85
(Ewing 18, Williams 14)
Brighton Bears came
so close to blowing Duke University off the floor. Instead they simply
blew up as the touring Blue Devils ripped from 22 points down to claim
a second victory of their four game pre-season tournament on Monday afternoon
at Crystal Palace.
Combusting in the
final quarter of what had begun an ultra-physical game, Nick Nurse’s team
lost Rico Alderson to a technical foul with three minutes left and then
saw Sterling Davis summarily ejected by ACC referee Mike Wood moments after
as the Blue Devils breezed by for a fortunate win.
“It was really unfair,”
said Nurse afterward, perhaps justifiably. And it undid the earlier dominance
which the Bears had displayed in giving the Americans an early lesson in
the pneumatics of professional basketball.
losing to London the previous night, the trip has been a positive learning
experience for Mike Krzyzewski’s youthful squad. “It’s been great,” he
acknowledged. “We just wanted to see a lot of our players and help them
It’s been an instructive
spell for some of those who had come along for the ride. “Why are they
dunking in warm-ups?” asked Paul Doran of the Duke Chronicle, oblivious
to the fact the BBL players have to take these chances when they come.
Others had a harder
time with the variants of the English language. Andy Katz, esteemed scribe
from ESPN, wasn’t so sure what happened when the scores were levelled at
16-16 late in the opening period.
“What’s that mean?”
he cried, proving beyond reasonable doubt that our linguistic legacy to
the New World was somehow squandered along the way. Just be grateful that
a tape of Derby Storm never found its way into Sportscenter’s hands. National
Lampoon, eat your heart out.
There has been some
genuine surprise that college basketball in the UK, to quote the Harlem
globetrotting Katz, does not “even register a blip on England's sports
radar screen.” Yet Duke’s players will not forget in a hurry the emphasis
laid down by their coach after a lethargic first half display.
Sparked by Davis
– who would score a game-high 30 points – Brighton pulled ahead at the
close of the first and rolled away, Duke struggling horribly to convert
from the closest of ranges.
Down 50-28 after
a 21-7 burst midway through the second quarter, it looked like a lop-sided
rout on the cards despite an 8-0 rally from Duke which cut the gap to 16
at the half.
However with Randy
Duck benched for the entire third quarter after picking his fourth foul
just before the interval, Brighton ceded momentum.
Dahntay Jones trimmed
the deficit again after Emiko Etete picked up a technical and a further
eight without reply around the final break awoke the smattering of Dookie
JJ Redick proved
himself an assassin, living up to his billing as a shooting supremo. After
missing his two previous attempts, he buried a trey to bring Duke back
to 75-70. Then highly-touted freshman gunner Daniel Ewing drive the nail
in, firing 13 of his team-best 18 points in the closing ten minutes as
the Bears feel miserably away.
He converted from
the line after Alderson’s departure and the Nick Horvath put Duke in front
for the first time since the opening period with 2:38 left.
That was game over.
Davis soon departed, followed by Etete after his fifth foul. And it was
left to Redick and Ewing to complete the comeback.
“That’s a good team,”
said Krzyzewski in praise of the BBL outfit. “Those guys can shoot but
when Duck got in foul trouble, it really hurt them.”
He added: “Even if
we had lost that game, with that effort it would have been a win for us.
That we won was a real plus.”
Ralph Blalock added
16 for Brighton.
In Monday night's
second game, Duke avenged their loss to Towers of 24 hours earlier with
an 89-70 win, giving many of their lesser lights an extended show.
The Blue Devils,
who were led by Redick's 16 points, did not trail after taking a 5-3 lead
in the first quarter on a Casey Sanders' lay-up just 1:35 into the game.
The collegians controlled
the game's tempo from the start, running when available and pacing themselves
when necessary while Towers saved their energies for domestic trials ahead
- going scoreless in the final three minutes as Duke closed with a 10-0
"Everything has been
great," Krzyzewski said. "Now if we just get through customs without any
problems then everything should be fine."
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