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November 20, 2007

Duke stays perfect with win over Illinois

LAHAINA, Hawaii — Duke has a chance at another title on Maui.

Gerald Henderson scored 23 points and DeMarcus Nelson added 16 to lead the 13th-ranked Blue Devils to a 79-66 victory over Illinois on Tuesday night in the semifinals of the EA Sports Maui Invitational.

Duke (4-0) will meet No. 11 Marquette, which beat Oklahoma State 91-61, on Wednesday night for the shot at title No. 4.

The Blue Devils are 11-0 on the island, having won the championship in 1992, 1997 and 2001. No other school has more than two Maui titles in the 24 years of the tournament.

Brian Randle had 16 points to lead the Fighting Illini (3-1), whose best offensive weapon was a missed shot. They outrebounded Duke 22-5 on the offensive boards and finished with 31 second-chance points compared to eight for the Blue Devils.

Illinois shot 32.3 percent (21-for-65) as Duke played a lot of zone defense and that allowed the Illini to crash the boards the way they did.

As bad as Illinois' shooting was, Duke's was very good. The Blue Devils shot 57.7 percent (15-for-26) in taking a 44-36 halftime lead and finished at 56.5 percent for the game (26-for-46), including 6-for-13 from 3-point range.

Henderson was 8-for-15 from the field and Nelson was 6-for-8.

Duke's biggest lead in the first half was 42-25 on a 3-pointer by Henderson with 2:36 left. Illinois closed the half with an 11-2 run to keep the sellout crowd of 2,500 at the Lahaina Civic Center interested.

The Illini kept the run going at the start of the second half with five straight points to make it 44-41 with 18:14 left on a layup by Randle, but the Blue Devils answered with a 9-2 run capped by a 3-pointer by Greg Paulus and Illinois was never closer than seven points the rest of the way with Duke leading by as many as 19.

It was a physical game with 49 fouls called, 27 against Illinois, and there was one scrap when Illinois' Chester Frazier and Duke's Kyle Singler got in each other's face with 15:41 to play, but the officials got both teams to their benches for a TV timeout and there were no more problems.

The win was Mike Krzyzewski's 779th and moved him into a tie for eighth place on the career list with former Illinois and New Mexico State coach Lou Henson.

For more coverage of Duke, visit DevilsIllustrated.com. For more coverage of Illinois, visit Orange&BlueNews.com.

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