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Sunday, March 23, 2003

Duke runs over Central Michigan, earns date with KU

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— For one night at least, this season's Duke team lived up to the program's storied reputation, and the young Blue Devils looked like a serious threat in the NCAA West.

Dahntay Jones scored a career-high 28 points and J.J. Redick added 26 as the third-seeded Blue Devils ran past No. 11 Central Michigan 86-60 Saturday night.

The Blue Devils, a 45 percent shooting team during the season, made a season-high 62 percent (32-for-52 overall, 10-for-15 on three-pointers).

"All four of their guys on the perimeter can take you off the dribble," the Chippewas' J.R. Wallace said, "and that's what they did to us all night."

Duke (26-6) gave coach Mike Krzyzewski his 60th NCAA Tournament victory, second only to Dean Smith's 65. The Blue Devils advanced to the regional semifinals for the sixth year in a row and the 20th time in their 28 NCAA appearances.

Duke has won five in a row -- three in the ACC tournament and two in the NCAAs -- after losing two of its last three games in the regular season, and advanced to a West Regional semifinal showdown with No. 2 seed Kansas University.

The Blue Devils seem to be escaping the long shadow cast by previous Duke powers.

"They're growing up," Krzyzewski said. "That's the thing not many people have allowed them to do."

The blowout was anticlimactic at the Jon M. Huntsman Center following Arizona's thrilling double-overtime victory over Gonzaga.

"Duke really asserted themselves and pushed their will on us defensively," Central Michigan coach Jay Smith said.

After struggling to beat No. 14 seed Colorado State 67-57 Thursday, Duke came out strong and never let up against the outmanned, slower champions of the Mid-American Conference.

"We didn't want to relax at any point in time," Jones said.

Central Michigan (25-7) knocked out No. 6 seed Creighton 79-63 Thursday by building a 26-point lead, then holding on. The only lead the Chippewas had Saturday was 2-0.

Redick missed Duke's practice Friday because of illness, but his shooting touch was healthy as ever on Saturday. The freshman sank nine of 13 shots, going 5-for-7 on three-pointers.

Central thought it had a big weapon against the smaller Blue Devils in 7-footer Chris Kaman. He scored 25 points and added 10 rebounds, but teammate Mike Manciel managed just five points on 1-for-9 shooting.

Central Michigan was coming off its second NCAA Tournament win ever, in its first NCAA appearance since 1987, a sharp contrast to Duke's history of tournament triumphs.

"'It's something Duke has done, and they obviously relay that to their players," Smith said. "Right now, hopefully, we can build on this."

Duke started the second half with a 9-0 run. Redick scored five in the spurt, including an NBA-length three-pointer. Daniel Ewing blocked a shot by Kaman and Chris Duhon sank one from just inside the three-point line.

The run reached 11-1 on Duhon's steal and breakaway stuff that put the Blue Devils ahead 58-34.

Duhon had 16 points, eight assists and six steals. Ewing scored 10 points.

"Chris played a great game tonight," Krzyzewski said, "and as a result, we got some unbelievable shots."

Central Michigan managed a 10-0 run, with three-pointers by Wallace and Tony Bowne, to cut it to 48-44 with 14:34 to play, but the Chippewas couldn't get any closer.

Just as he did against Colorado State, Jones dominated the Blue Devils' offense early, scoring 16 of his team's first 24 points.

Redick's consecutive three-pointers capped an 11-1 run that put Duke on top 40-25 with 3:33 to go in the half. Wallace and Bowne sank three-pointers to help Central Michigan cut the lead to 43-31 at the break.

Wallace finished with 14 points.

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