ACC Basketball: Duke 76, Georgetown 67: Devils secure emotional win
By Bret Strelow
DURHAM ó Gerald Henderson shoved a smiling Jon Scheyer in the chest several feet away from coach Mike Krzyzewski, who enthusiastically slapped hands with Kyle Singler.
The final minute of third-ranked Duke’s 76-67 home victory against 13th-ranked Georgetown allowed for a wide-spread expression of emotion that continued in the hallway outside the Blue Devils’ locker room.
Debbie Savarino, Krzyzewski’s oldest daughter, hugged assistant coach Nate James and congratulated associate head coach Chris Collins.
“That was a big win,” Savarino told Collins. “That was a Final Four win.”
Henderson scored 23 points and Singler put together a 15-point, 16-rebound performance for Duke (16-1) in a matchup of major conference powers. DaJuan Summers had 21 points to lead the Hoyas, a representative of the rough-and-tumble Big East.
Krzyzewski repeatedly voiced his opinion that the ACC is the nation’s best league during the week leading up to Saturday’s game, which featured a controversial technical foul on Georgetown freshman and former Duke target Greg Monroe.
“I went on the Obama campaign for the ACC yesterday, and I’m back to just being the Duke coach now,” Krzyzewski said. “They’re an elite team, and we’re an elite team. They’re in an elite league, and we’re in an elite league.”
Duke’s 17-2 run in the last eight minutes of the first half was one of many momentum swings in the chippy contest.
The Blue Devils, who led 40-29 at the break, pushed their advantage to 15 points before Georgetown (12-4) answered with a 13-2 run.
One free throw from Summers cut Duke’s edge to 46-42, and Henry Sims was called for a foul as Singler collected a defensive rebound at the end of the Hoyas’ next possession.
Georgetown coach John Thompson III had a lengthy discussion with official John Cahill and later said Cahill warned him that the Hoyas were at risk for a technical foul if one of their assistants kept standing up.
Duke had begun dribbling toward the other end when Cahill jogged past Thompson and whistled a seated Monroe, who already had three fouls, for a technical. Cahill was looking up the floor, not at Georgetown’s bench, when he stopped play.
“A lot of people were saying things,” said Monroe, who looked stunned as he pointed at fans behind the team’s bench. “I don’t even believe (Cahill) was really looking at the bench, but I know I definitely didn’t say anything.”
Two free throws from Scheyer started a 15-3 run, most of which occurred with Monroe out of the lineup due to foul trouble.
The Hoyas didn’t trim their deficit to fewer than eight points until the final minute.
“The technical was a key part of the game; let’s not try to run from that,” Thompson said.
Krzyzewski called the 6-foot-11 Monroe a point guard for the way he plays in Georgetown’s offense and said the Blue Devils defended him like they were rushing a quarterback. Monroe finished with 12 points, four assists and four turnovers in 28 minutes.
Singler also picked up his fourth foul in dramatic fashion. Omar Wattad grabbed a defensive rebound after Singler missed a layup and a tip. He swung his right arm at Wattad, was called for an intentional foul and left the lineup with 9:24 remaining.
He returned with six minutes left and needed only 26 seconds to drill a 3-pointer that pushed Duke ahead by 12.
Singler, who had 14 rebounds against Georgia Tech on Wednesday, accounted for half of Duke’s 32 boards against Georgetown.
“That’s a spectacular performance,” Krzyzewski said.
The Blue Devils received an additional boost from backup point guard Greg Paulus, who contributed 10 points in 23 minutes.
He made a short jumper and a 3-pointer early in the run after Monroe’s technical.
“It was by far his best performance of the year,” Krzyzewski said. “What he showed was fight.”
He nearly started a few.
Paulus exchanged words with Summers late in the first half and bumped shoulders with Julian Vaughn during a second-half stoppage that followed a sequence in which he ripped the ball away from Summers.
Paulus sprinted toward Duke’s bench at the beginning of a timeout later in the game and brushed Jessie Sapp’s left shoulder.
“It’s just one of those things where it’s our court,” Paulus said, “and I don’t want to have anybody come in here trying to push us around.”