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Duke Discovers Its Shooting Star in 90-62 Victory

March 21, 2004|Don Markus | Baltimore Sun

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

When Redick's three-point shot from right 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 on that shot by the Pirates, and little slowing down Redick or the suddenly rejuvenated Blue Devils the rest of the game.

Redick, who had been in a shooting slump, did a lot more to silence talk of Duke's vulnerability with a virtuoso first-half performance during a 90-62 demolition of Seton Hall (21-10).

The sophomore guard made 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 round of 16 at the Georgia Dome Friday in Atlanta. He scored 14 of Duke's first 31 points.

"I'm a rhythm player," said Redick, who also made all seven of his free throws. "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 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 consecutive regional final 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."

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

Senior point guard Chris Duhon, who has been battling a rib injury, played 32 minutes. Duhon was efficient running the offense with nine points and five assists, as well as helping 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. .... "I think because he's out there, these kids picked it up."

Duke also made 34 of 38 free throw attempts, including 18 in a row, and had a 40-22 rebounding advantage against a team that was tired from its comeback victory Thursday against Arizona.

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