No. 5 Duke 59, Princeton 46
DURHAM, N.C. (AP)—In 65 mostly glorious years, Cameron Indoor Stadium has been the site of many memorable games for Duke.
This one likely won’t make the list.
J.J. Redick made all 14 of his free throws and scored 21 points, helping No. 5 Duke celebrate the anniversary of Cameron with a 59-46 victory over Princeton on Wednesday night.
Shelden Williams had 14 rebounds for the Blue Devils, who improved to 10-0 for the fourth time in five seasons despite shooting only 36 percent. No other player reached double figures in points as they played their first full game without forward Reggie Love.
Love broke his foot earlier this week against Clemson, and he joined forward Shavlik Randolph (mononucleosis) on the bench. That gave Lee Melchionni his first career start, and he finished with six points in a career-high 28 minutes.
“Any time you beat Princeton, you have to be pleased about it,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “Our defense, overall, was very good. I didn’t think our offense helped our defense, especially in transition.”
The game was played almost exactly 65 years to the day of the first at Cameron, when Duke beat Princeton 36-27 on Jan. 6, 1940.
To commemorate the occasion, Duke wore “throwback” uniforms from no particular year, although the shorts were as baggy as the current ones— complete with the Nike swoosh—and the players’ names were on the back of the jerseys.
“They’re a little more baggy,” Redick said. “But I didn’t even think I had them on until I to take them off.”
A halftime ceremony honored coaches and players from the past six decades, including Lefty Driesell, Jeff Mullins, Gene Banks and Vic Bubas.
Thanks to Princeton’s patient offense, the score was a bit retro, too. The previous low for the Blue Devils this season was 62, which they reached in that victory over Clemson. Krzyzewski decided to hold the ball in the final five minutes, instructing someone to stand near midcourt until the shot clock wound down to 10.
“Our main focus is always on defense,” Redick said. “Hopefully, our offense will come around.”
Will Venable had a season-high 21 points for the Tigers (8-5)—including 14 of their 18 in the first half—but they couldn’t overcome their woeful shooting from long range. Princeton finished 1-for-17 after making at least four in its previous 12 games.
“If you want to beat Duke on their home court, you’ve got to be perfect,” Princeton coach Joe Scott said. “We played Princeton basketball for maybe 20 of those 40 minutes, and that’s nowhere near good enough for this venue, against this team.”
Still, a 9-1 run for the Tigers early in the second half cut Duke’s lead to 38-31, and the margin was only nine a few minutes later when the Blue Devils took control.
Sean Dockery started the spurt with a layup, and freshman DeMarcus Nelson had a steal and a dunk.
“I was trying to get us going on defense,” Nelson said. “Defense leads to offense, and that’s what I was thinking.”
After a basket by Princeton’s Judson Wallace, Redick converted two free throws and followed them with a three-point play over Venable. Redick was helped when Scott Greenman, furiously backpedalling on defense, tripped over his own feet and fell.
That was one of only three baskets for Redick, who improved to 95 percent this season from the free-throw line.
“J.J. was in a position where they were taking away his jump shot with zone, so one of our things was to have him drive,” Krzyzewski said. “You’re going to have to foul him then, because he’s too good of a player.”
Later, Daniel Ewing made two free throws to make it 57-39, and Duke withstood seven unanswered points to hold on.
Wallace added 12 points and 10 rebounds for Princeton.
“They’re able to make our guys not be able to do what we’re supposed to do,” Scott said. “That’s what Duke was trying to do, and they accomplished that with their pressure.”