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Duke Is Sluggish but Wins Opener

November 23, 2003|From Associated Press

Luol Deng scored 21 points and J.J. Redick had 19 to help No. 2 Duke rally to beat Detroit, 67-56, Saturday and improve to 22-2 in season openers under Coach Mike Krzyzewski.

The Blue Devils had to struggle to win for the 29th consecutive time at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, N.C., giving Krzyzewski his 664th career victory to tie UCLA's John Wooden for 18th place on the NCAA Division I list.

James Thues scored 12 points to lead Detroit, which was a 20-point underdog in its season opener.

The Blue Devils hardly looked like the nation's second-ranked team for most of the game. The Titans scored the first 12 points, and the Blue Devils didn't take the lead until midway through the second half.

Duke made only 16 of 45 shots, but was 29 for 36 from the line -- including 20 of 22 free throws in the second half.

No. 1 Connecticut 111, Sacred Heart 64 -- The Huskies got a strong game from their big three of Ben Gordon, Emeka Okafor and Denham Brown at Hartford, Conn. Gordon scored 27 points, Okafor had 23 and Brown 20 for Connecticut (3-0), which shot 71% in the first half in bolting to a 60-28 lead. Gordon, coming off a career-high 37 points three days ago against Nevada, made 10 of 13 shots, including all four of his three-point attempts. Brown hit seven of nine, including four of five three-pointers. Okafor had 10 rebounds for his third double-double this season. The victory was the 650th in the 32-year coaching career of UConn's Jim Calhoun, joining 22 others in Division I.

No. 9 North Carolina 90, Old Dominion 64 -- Roy Williams is back, and North Carolina might be too. The storied program lost a combined 36 games the last two seasons, but the Tar Heels gave their new coach an impressive victory in his debut at Chapel Hill, N.C.

Rashad McCants had 18 points and a career-high eight assists for North Carolina. Sean May, who sat out most of last season with a stress fracture in his left foot, was back in form with 17 points, seven rebounds and three blocks as the Tar Heels shot 61% from the field.

No. 12 Illinois 94, Western Illinois 66 -- Dee Brown had 23 points and five assists to lead depleted Illinois in its season opener at Champaign, Ill. Five Illini hit double figures on a night when Illinois had only nine players available. Luther Head, Aaron Spears and Richard McBride spent the game on the bench, serving suspensions for violating team rules. The Illini started the second half with a 16-6 run to build a 65-34 lead and were able to keep the spread at about 30 points through most of the second half.

No. 14 Oklahoma 84, Oral Roberts 68 -- Drew Lavender had 19 points and fellow freshman Lawrence McKenzie 16 at the Sooner Invitational tournament at Norman, Okla. Tournament most valuable player DeAngelo Alexander added 17 points for Oklahoma (2-0).

No. 18 Cincinnati 88, Akron 66 -- Reserve Tony Bobbitt scored 21 points, and Cincinnati got its 38th consecutive win in home openers. Nick Williams added 14 points for the Bearcats. Akron, where Bob Huggins coached before taking over the Bearcats in 1989, sustained its worst loss since falling to Bowling Green by 30 points on Feb. 23, 2002 -- a span of 33 games.

No. 19 Wake Forest 97, Elon 55 -- Eric Williams scored 16 points to lead the Demon Deacons at Winston-Salem, N.C. Jamaal Levy and Justin Gray added 13 points each for Wake Forest (2-0), which won its 15th consecutive home opener.

No. 20 Stanford 77, Sacramento State 59 -- Justin Davis had 17 points and 10 rebounds at Palo Alto to help Stanford win its 16th consecutive season opener. Matt Lottich added 13 points and Rob Little had 12 for Stanford, which shot 50% from the field. Stanford outrebounded the Hornets, 46-22. Stanford played without junior forward Josh Childress, a preseason All-American pick, who has a stress reaction in his left foot.

No. 22 Pittsburgh 90, St. Francis 69 -- Chevy Troutman and freshman Chris Taft wore down St. Francis inside and the Panthers (2-0), tested in the first half by the hot-shooting Red Flash, pulled away at Pittsburgh. Troutman scored 18 points, and Taft added 12 points and eight rebounds.

No. 23 Marquette 75, Valparaiso 70 -- Travis Diener scored 26 points, including a key driving layup with 23 seconds left, and Marquette rallied to win the Blue & Gold Classic at Milwaukee. It is the fifth consecutive year Marquette (3-0) has won its early-season tournament, coinciding with the arrival of Coach Tom Crean. Valparaiso (1-1) scored the first 11 points but missed four free throws in the final 49 seconds.

OTHER GAMES

Baylor 72, Texas Southern 59 -- After pausing before the game to honor slain teammate Patrick Dennehy, the Bears won their season opener at Waco, Texas. The game marked the debut of Scott Drew, the 33-year-old coach who took over after former coach Dave Bliss resigned when a scandal developed following Dennehy's killing. Former Bear Carlton Dotson has been charged in Dennehy's death. Dennehy, a 6-foot-11 post player, never played a game for Baylor. He sat out last season after transferring to Baylor from New Mexico.

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