ACC Basketball: Duke 73, N.C. State 56: McClure makes a difference for Duke
By Bret Strelow
DURHAM ó Former Duke star J.J. Redick chatted with some current players Tuesday afternoon and introduced his girlfriend to David McClure.
“We were joking, and I said I didn’t know the NCAA gave him eight years of eligibility,” Redick said.
Redick watched from behind the Blue Devils’ bench as McClure, a fifth-year senior, played a pivotal role in second-ranked Duke’s 73-56 home victory against N.C. State on Tuesday night.
McClure contributed an important steal, dunk and assist during a 15-1 run that covered the final 51/2 minutes. Redick entered the locker room afterward, walked toward McClure’s chair and high-fived his former teammate.
“Those are the guys that showed me what it took to be a Duke player, so I’m happy that I’m able to show that I’m still around and that they taught me well,” McClure said.
Gerald Henderson scored 21 points and Kyle Singler added 17 for Duke, which made 17 of its first 21 second-half shots.
Brandon Costner and Ben McCauley had 15 points apiece to lead N.C. State (10-6, 1-3 ACC), but neither player scratched in the final 121/2 minutes.
The Blue Devils (17-1, 4-0) were behind 26-22 at halftime but went 20-for-26 from the field after the break. The 76.9-percent clip tied for the second-best second half for a Duke team under coach Mike Krzyzewski.
“Our offense, as bad as it was in the first half, it was that good in the second half,” Krzyzewski said.
N.C. State’s Courtney Fells picked up his third foul a minute into the second half, and Henderson scored 13 points in the next six minutes. Krzyzewski said sophomore Nolan Smith, who hit back-to-back jumpers to change a 49-46 deficit to a three-point lead, played the best game of his career. He finished with 13 points.
Duke has trailed at halftime of its last three meetings with the Wolfpack and won each of them.
“We were in it, and we couldn’t close it,” McCauley said. “We had them where we wanted them, and guys were playing tremendous basketball.”
A field goal from Fells pulled the Wolfpack within 58-55, but N.C. State committed turnovers on five of its next six possessions. Starting point guard Farnold Degand accounted for three.
Smith started Duke’s late run with a jumper, and McClure made a critical steal 21 seconds later. He was falling out of bounds near N.C. State’s bench as he lofted a pass to Henderson, who rushed ahead for a breakaway dunk.
“I thought we played about 33 minutes of quality basketball,” N.C. State coach Sidney Lowe said.
The Blue Devils jumped ahead by nine when McClure set a high screen for Henderson, rolled toward the rim, caught a pass and converted a wide-open dunk.
The margin extended to double digits when McClure drove down the left baseline, elevated near the basket and fired a pass to the right corner. Jon Scheyer drilled a 3-pointer.
“With the talent on our team, I try not to look down on myself and my game,” McClure said. “I know I can contribute in a lot of ways.”
McClure arrived in Durham two years later than Redick, who’s in his third season with the NBA’s Orlando Magic.
Redick was a Duke senior when a knee injury forced McClure to take a medical redshirt. He’s now an experienced senior who draws praise from Krzyzewski for his efficient play.
“He’s a guy that’s really stuck with it and given a lot to this program just in terms of effort and work,” Redick said. “It’s great to see him in his senior year out there balling like he is.”