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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Top 25 Basketball: Georgia Southern no match for eighth-ranked Duke, 97-54

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— Kyle Singler scored 19 points for the second straight game, and No. 8 Duke rolled into the 2K Sports Classic semifinals by routing Georgia Southern, 97-54, on Tuesday night.

Nolan Smith added 13 points, and Gerald Henderson and Greg Paulus each finished with 11 to help the Blue Devils (2-0) win their 61st straight nonconference game at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Now, after they play host to Rhode Island this weekend, they will head to Madison Square Garden - where last season's team suffered its first loss - to meet the Massachusetts-Southern Illinois winner in a semifinal.

Willie Powers scored 17 points and Julian Allen had 10 to lead Georgia Southern (1-1). The Eagles went at least five minutes between field goals twice in the first half, and they shot just 28 percent while allowing Duke to shoot 48.5 percent.

The Blue Devils were in control from start to finish of their second straight blowout win. They opened the game with a 16-4 run and took command late in the half by running off 15 straight points over a two-minute stretch. That pushed their lead past 20 points for good, and it grew to 30 just 12 seconds into the second half on Smith's three-pointer.

They won this one mostly without their three blue-chip freshmen. Miles Plumlee, Elliot Williams and Olek Czyz spent the entire first half on the bench after they were a combined 3-for-9 with five turnovers against Presbyterian on Monday.

Then again, nobody at Duke was terribly content with that 31-point victory. The Blue Devils had 21 turnovers in that one and were too sloppy on both ends of the court for coach Mike Krzyzewski's liking. They were sharper this time, giving it away only 11 times.

Singler keyed the game-opening spurt with seven quick points, and David McClure closed it at the 131â2-minute mark by grabbing the rebound of Greg Paulus' missed three and slamming it home.

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