It took only 20 good minutes of basketball for both No. 13 Duke and Illinois to advance to the semifinals of the Maui Invitational.
Forty good minutes likely will be needed for a spot in the championship game as the two teams face each other Tuesday in Hawaii.
Both the Blue Devils (3-0) and Illini (3-0) used impressive first-half surges that turned the second halves of their respective games into little more than glorified practice sessions. Freshman forward Kyle Singler continued making an immediate impact for Duke, scoring 10 of his 21 points in a 16-0 run that extended into a 31-4 start spanning the first 9:40 of Tuesday’s 83-61 rout of Princeton.
Singler also grabbed 12 rebounds for his first double-double as coach Mike Krzyzewski was able to give every player extensive action and find areas that need improvement.
“After our sensational start when we came out like gangbusters, it really was a good game,” Krzyzewski noted. “I thought our first six guys played really well but we need to get more from our bench and they got a lot time tonight and I wasn’t pleased with their performance.”
The Blue Devils improved to 10-0 all-time at the Maui Invitational, with six of those wins coming by at least 20 points. Duke is the only team to win the event three times, doing so in 1992, 1997 and most recently 2001.
Sophomore guard Jon Scheyer again provided offense from the bench, contributing 10 points. He has reached double figures as a reserve in all three games, averaging 15.0 points and shooting 57.7 percent, including 8 of 12 from 3-point range.
Krzyzewski, who spent his summer coaching Team USA in preparation for the 2008 Olympics, has brought back an up-tempo offensive style that has paid early dividends. The Blue Devils are averaging 96.7 points through their first three games, shooting 50 percent overall and 41.1 percent from 3-point range.
Singler (15.3 ppg), Scheyer, Gerald Henderson (12.7), DeMarcus Nelson (10.3) and freshman Taylor King (11.3) all are averaging in double figures.
Illinois also left no doubt about the outcome of its game early against Arizona State, racing to a 20-0 lead en route to a 77-54 victory. Rodney Alexander scored 12 of his 17 points in the decisive spurt, making two 3-pointers and two traditional 3-point plays in a stretch where the Illini made seven consecutive shots while the Sun Devils missed their first nine.
Brian Randle added 17 points and eight rebounds as Illinois shot 57.4 percent (27-for-47) and made 10 of 17 attempts from 3-point range. The Illini have played stellar defense thus far, limiting opponents to 36.8 percent shooting and 62.0 points per game.
Illinois is 5-2 all-time at the Maui Invitational, losing in the semifinals in 1987 and reaching the championship game in 2000.
Duke has won the last three games between the teams, including a 72-62 victory in the regional semifinals of the 2004 NCAA tournament. The Blue Devils lead the all-time series 4-2, and the Illini have not beaten them since a 75-65 victory Dec. 2, 1995.
The winner of this game will play either No. 11 Marquette or Oklahoma State in the championship game Wednesday. The losers will meet for third place.