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November 27, 2007

No. 7 Duke handles No. 20 Wisconsin

DURHAM, N.C. — Duke figured out how to make up for its size disadvantage against Wisconsin: Turn up the tempo.

Greg Paulus scored 13 of his 18 points during the decisive first half, and No. 7 Duke ran No. 20 Wisconsin right out of Cameron Indoor Stadium in an 82-58 rout Tuesday night.

Freshman Taylor King added 15 points in his second straight strong game off the bench for the Blue Devils (7-0), who entered wondering how they'd contain a Wisconsin front line that featured three players in the rotation who are 6-foot-10 or taller.

Fellow freshman Kyle Singler had 13 points, Gerald Henderson added 11 and Jon Scheyer scored 10 for the Blue Devils.

Duke's up-tempo offense and swarming, aggressive defense dominated from the opening tip, helping the Blue Devils improve to 9-0 in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge and remain the only team with a perfect record in the annual event.

Duke, which didn't start a player taller than 6-8, held its own on the glass - Wisconsin had just a 42-40 rebounding advantage - and that helped turn the Blue Devils' first legitimate test at home into a blowout, their NCAA-best 55th straight non-conference home-court victory.

Jon Leuer and Trevon Hughes scored 12 points apiece and Brian Butch had 11 for Wisconsin (5-1), which was denied its first 6-0 start since 1996-97. Hughes, the team's leading scorer, was held more than seven points below his average.

Duke wasted no time pressuring the half-court-oriented Badgers into an up-and-down game, never allowing them to feel comfortable in their first visit to Cameron.

The Blue Devils capped a decisive 19-7 first-half run with a spectacular 15-second sequence that had the volume at the always-noisy arena at its loudest decibel level all season.

Henderson got things going when he blocked a layup by Leuer to start a fast break, and Paulus buried a 3-pointer from the top of the key to extend Duke's lead to 22-14.

Then, DeMarcus Nelson stole the ball from Michael Flowers and found Paulus in the left corner. The point guard swished another 3 at the 11:30 mark to give the Blue Devils their first double-figure lead of the game at 25-14, sending the Cameron Crazies into earsplitting delirium.

Singler's 3 from the top of the key 2 minutes later made it 28-16 and put Duke's lead in double figures to stay.

For more coverage of Duke, visit DevilsIllustrated.com; for more on Wisconsin, visit BadgerBlitz.com.



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