DURHAM, N.C.—Jon Scheyer’s floating jump shot sure seemed a lot like salvation Wednesday night for the Duke Blue Devils: After pushing their lead against the Florida State Seminoles to a game-high 16 points, the Devils froze on their home court, going without so much as a point for five minutes. Layups, free throws and steals by the Seminoles had trimmed the lead to four. What’s more, Lance Thomas picked up his third personal foul in that span; Kyle Singler, his fourth. Though the Seminoles had only three team fouls, Duke had already gathered nine, giving Florida State an early bonus with nearly nine minutes left. Duke’s big men weren’t scoring, and Schmingler wasn’t hitting, either.
But Scheyer, who led the Devils with 22 points en route to a 70-56 victory, stepped just under the arc and nailed a difficult shot under pressure. The team seemed to rebuild around the make. It certainly wasn’t a panacea for Duke—Scheyer, after all, turned it over as the shot clock expired 40 seconds later, and the Devils continued to struggle with mediocre shooting. After the crowd erupted with Scheyer’s hit, though, Duke’s lead wasn’t questioned for the next eight minutes.
“When it got down to 51-47 and they’re shooting free throws, it’s a game that, when you’re playing at home, there is almost more pressure on you,” explained Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski, “because you can be a little hesitant.”
That swing in momentum came in part from a defensive shift by Duke: Coming out of a timeout, the Devils switched briefly from man-to-man defense to a zone. They took the ball away from Florida State the first time down the court, resulting in a Brian Zoubek put-back off of a Nolan Smith miss. Kyle Singler followed with a crucial three off of a Smith rebound and Scheyer assist, pushing the advantage back into double digits. Smith, who scored 11 points, missed another drive, but Lance Thomas sustained Duke’s push with a tap-in.
N.C. Central got a big game out of C.J. Wilkerson (pictured) and again put up a good fight on the road, but finished with a 70-57 loss at Youngstown State.
DeAndre Mays led the Penguins (8-12) with 17 points, followed by Sirlester Martin and Kelvin Bright with 13 points each and Vytas Sulskis 11.
Wilkerson had 26 points to lead NCCU (4-18), while Nick Chasten added 13.
The Eagles return to the Triangle for Saturday's 2 p.m. game against N.C. State before hosting their next five games.
N.C. State lost its second straight game to a nationally-ranked women's basketball team, falling 73-60 at No. 21 Virginia.
In the other game involving a Triangle Division I women's team, N.C. Central lost its second straight women's basketball game, falling 64-43 as host Maryland-Eastern Shore revenged its earlier defeat in Durham.
Monica Wright had 26 points to lead the Cavaliers (15-5, 4-2 ACC), who avenged a loss to the Wolfpack in Raleigh last season.
Bonae Holston (pictured) led the Wolfpack (12-9, 2-4) with 20 points while Nikitta Gartrell chipped in 17.
Lexie Gerson had 11 points while Chelsea Shine and Whitney Edwards each added 10 for Virginia.
RALEIGH, N.C.—When the N.C. State Wolfpack lose at home, watching the stands at RBC Center feels a bit like watching a bloodstain leave cotton fabric in a spin cycle: Every few minutes, or with each new timeout or stop in play, another chunk of the school colors—deep red T-shirts and sweaters and twisted-balloon hats, or black blazers and North Face jackets—lifts from the cushioned chairs of the arena, disappearing up the concrete stairs. Staring down a loss, N.C. State fans are notorious for their expedient escape, and in its vibrant hue, the exodus always seems more dramatic than it should.
Tuesday night, that stain lifted a bit slower than one might have expected against the UNC-Chapel Hill Tar Heels, college basketball’s defending national champions. Of course, the Tar Heels haven’t had an easy year themselves, having dropped seven games coming into Raleigh tonight, including their last three by a combined 34 points. Ed Davis, the sophomore forward who was second in scoring for UNC coming into the contest, was questionable for action with an ankle injury.
And for a bit, it seemed as if the Wolfpack were going to prevent UNC from landing their first true road victory of the season. N.C. State, who stopped the Duke Blue Devils from earning their first away win just last week, led by five points five minutes into the second half, thanks to a 22-8 run that stretched back into the first half. But the Pack went disastrously cold after that lead stalled at five, making just one field goal during the next 14 minutes of play. When the Pack offense finally began to show signs of life with under four minutes left in the game, it was too late: The 28-9 run had put the Tar Heels up by 14 points, and the seats were emptying with urgency. During an official timeout with 49 seconds left, the stairways suggested diaspora, flooded with a stream of disappointed red, headed back into the encroaching January cold.
North Carolina traveled to Raleigh to face rival N.C. State tonight, and the Tar Heels defeated the Wolfpack 77-63 in a game that State fans had every right to believe they could win despite UNC's recent dominance of the series.
The Tar Heels weathered their customary offensive woes thanks to outstanding defense, perhaps the best they’ve played in several weeks. Carolina limited the Wolfpack to 39 percent shooting, including an atrocious 29 percent in the second half.
Pre-game drama surrounded the availability of stud big man Ed Davis, who missed the Wake Forest debacle due to an injured ankle. But while Davis clearly was hobbled against the Wolfpack, he gamely suited up and contributed 12 points and nine rebounds.
Meanwhile, maligned point guard Larry Drew enjoyed what may have been his finest 40-minute performance since the Michigan State game in early December, scoring 18 points on 5-for-9 shooting and adding seven assists against only one turnover. If he consistently can play anywhere near that level, the Tar Heels’ place in the NCAA Tournament should be secure by the end of the season.
The Heels’ other primary guard, Dexter Strickland, continues to impress. He added 14 points on 6-for-7 shooting and hit a couple of timely jump shots. The guards’ confidence and success handling the ball enabled the club to commit what, given the season’s results to date, might be considered a miraculously low 11 turnovers for the game.
N.C. Central continues to look for both its first road win and first victory over a Division I team for first-year coach LeVelle Moton (pictured) tonight, when the Eagles make their first visit to Youngstown State.
The Penguins (7-12) aren't having a storybook year either.
It's the last game outside the Triangle for NCCU for over four weeks, as the Eagles will visit N.C. State on Saturday before playing their next five games at home.
N.C. State and N.C. Central hit the hardwood in women's basketball again tonight, and both are hoping to bounce back after losses.
Kellie Harper's Wolfpack has a tough assignment, heading to No. 21 Virginia in a key ACC test two nights after a hard-fought home-court loss to archrival UNC.
Bonae Holston (pictured) is the leading scorer and rebounder for the Wolfpack, while Monica Wright leads Virginia in every major statistical category.
The Wolfpack's biggest victory of last season was a 60-54 home-court win over No. 17 Virginia.
NCCU, which beat UMES 69-60 twenty days ago in Durham, had a four-game winning streak snapped in a 64-58 loss at UNC Asheville on Friday night.
The Eagles' game is the second of a six-game road swing.
REYNOLDS COLISEUM/RALEIGH Kellie Harper gets her first test of her ability to coach a big home-court upset for N.C. State tonight.
The opponent is archrival UNC, Sylvia Hatchell's Tar Heels being the preseason favorites in the ACC and currently ranked No. 14 nationally. And the regional TV cameras are in the house.
Truth be told, the Wolfpack has performed a little better than expected so far while the Tar Heels have hit a couple of unexpected bumps.
UNC has won 17 of the last 19 meetings, although the Wolfpack has more wins against the Tar Heels than anybody and is looking for its 50th victory in the series.
One of the most interesting games in the ACC last season was UNC's 75-66 win over the Wolfpack in the Smith Center for Hatchell's 800th victory. The Tar Heels came back stronger in the second meeting, rolling to a 74-57 win.
Kellie Harper (pictured) gets her first chance to coach against N.C. State's biggest rival tonight.
The first-year Wolfpack coach will lead her team against visiting archrival UNC at 7 p.m. at Reynolds Coliseum, in a game which will be cablecast to much of the Southeast.
Both teams picked up nice victories at home on Friday night, as the Wolfpack held off Wake Forest on an Amber White buzzer beater and the Tar Heels rallied over the final five minutes to break open a close game and dismiss Clemson comfortably.
The Tar Heels took both decisions last season, actually winning easily in Raleigh but struggling to an overtime victory at the Smith Center to get Ccoach Sylvia Hatchell her 800th career win.
Jasmine Thomas did just about everything she could to win the game for Duke, and she succeeded.
Thomas (pictured) finished with 20 points, including 13 straight in one second-half stretch and the clinching free throw in the closing seconds, giving the No. 6 Blue Devils a 58-57 road victory over a determined Maryland team.
Thomas was the only player in double figures for the Blue Devils (17-3, 5-0 ACC), who have won their first five ACC games in a season for the first time under Joanne P. McCallie as head coach.
Joy Cheek had nine points to go with her 11 rebounds for Duke, which took the lead for good on Bridgette Mitchell's bucket that made it 55-54 with 1:29 left. Cheek added a pair of free throws with 20 seconds left before Thomas added her last one, making moot Anjale Barrett's 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Lori Bjork had 11 points to lead Maryland (14-6, 2-4), which has lost three straight.
Duke will host Florida State on Friday night at 8:30.