Monday, December 30, 2002

Duke 85, Dayton 74

The Associated Press

DURHAM, N.C. - Duke freshman J.J. Redick can no longer say he hasn't had a hot streak this season.

He hit his last eight shots Sunday night and scored a career-high 26 points as the third-ranked Blue Devils beat Dayton 85-74, giving them a 7-0 start for the third consecutive year.

Dahntay Jones added 15 points, Casey Sanders had a career-high 13 and Chris Duhon came up with two big defensive plays late for the Blue Devils, who jumped to a big lead and then held off a rally by the Flyers (7-3).

The 6-foot-4 Redick, who came into the game shooting 38 percent from 3-point range, was 5-of-7 on 3s and went 5-for-6 at the free throw line.

Redick missed two 3s in the first three minutes of the game, but didn't miss from the field after that.

"Neither (miss) felt good at all," Redick said. "The last eight shots were definitely the best I've felt shooting the ball."

Duke improved to 162-8 against non-conference teams at Cameron Indoor Stadium under coach Mike Krzyzewski. The Blue Devils are 127-23 in December under Krzyzewski.

The Blue Devils hadn't played since beating North Carolina A&T 91-57 in Greensboro on Dec. 17, but they showed few signs of rust early, taking a 10-1 lead that would not dip below six points the rest of the way.

Dayton, a veteran club that started a senior, three juniors and a sophomore, committed just three turnovers in the second half after having 11 in the opening 20 minutes, but they never were able to overtake the young Blue Devils.

"I felt they would be as veteran a team as we could play," Krzyzewski said. "And then after a 12-day break, I knew it would be a difficult situation for our guys. And I thought they responded well."

Duke won for the fifth time in six games against Dayton, but it was the first meeting between the schools since 1971. The Flyers won the first meeting 71-63 in December 1959.

For much of the game, the Blue Devils appeared in control, pushing the lead to 54-31 on a free throw by Jones with 16:14 to play. Redick was the key to Duke's charge, hitting eight straight shots - five of them 3-pointers - spanning halftime.

"He's our best shooter," said Duhon, who finished with nine points and seven assists. "Whenever he's open, he has a double-green light to shoot it. If he hesitates just once, there will be four guys all over him."

The Flyers battled back, slowing Duke's onslaught and going on a 13-4 run to pull within 66-54 when Jones was called for goaltending on a layup by Brooks Hall with 8:35 left.

Dayton pushed even closer as Keith Waleskowski scored 11 straight points, and Ramod Marshall hit two hanging jumpers that pulled the Flyers within 75-69 with 3:08 to play.

But Duhon stole the ball on Dayton's next two possessions, the second time intercepting D.J. Stelly's pass intended for Marshall and racing in for a two-handed slam that made it 79-69 with 1:47 left.

Waleskowski led Dayton with 20 points, while Stelly added 16.

"I thought our kids did a great job of gathering themselves in the second half," Dayton coach Oliver Purnell said. "We didn't turn it over at all in the second half until right there at the end, and Duke's defense had something to do with that."

Things started poorly for the Flyers, who missed their first three shots and committed five turnovers in the opening 4:20. They missed 10 of their first 15 shots and finished the half shooting 33 percent.

Duke shot 62 percent in the half, with Redick scoring 15 points on 5-for-7-shooting.

Redick hit two 3s in the final 21/2 minutes of the half, including an NBA-distance 3 from the right wing with 27 seconds left that made it 40-25. On the next possession, Daniel Ewing drove inside and found Sanders open for a two-hand slam and a 42-25 halftime lead.

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