DURHAM, N.C. (AP)—Duke doesn’t have many guards. The ninth-ranked Blue Devils sure haven’t lost their long-range touch.
They matched a school record with 18 3-pointers in a 104-67 romp against Radford on Saturday behind a season-high 20 points from freshman Andre Dawkins.
“We’re just trying to take the shots the defense gives us,” Dawkins said, “and today, those were 3s.”
Nolan Smith added 20 points and Jon Scheyer had 18 for the Blue Devils (4-0), who overwhelmed Radford during a first half in which they shot 50 percent, matched the school record with 13 3s in a half and put this one away with a huge run.
After that, the only question was whether they’d make enough 3s to reach the school record set in 2000 and matched against Monmouth in the first round of the 2001 NCAA tournament. They finished 18 for 32 from behind the arc, shot 48.6 percent overall and had assists on 25 of 35 baskets.
“We were connecting passes which led to shots. … There was a really good rhythm,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “Andre coming off (the bench) and shooting the way he did, he got them all in rhythm. … That says a lot for our veteran guys. They got him the ball.”
Artsiom Parakhouski had 23 points and 14 rebounds in his third straight 20-point game for the Highlanders (2-1).
The schedule will get tougher in a hurry for Duke, which heads to Madison Square Garden to face Arizona State—and Herb Sendek, who spent a decade coaching at rival North Carolina State—in the semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off.
In having its nine-game road winning streak snapped in emphatic fashion, Radford was held to one field goal during a 6 1/2 -minute stretch of the first half. At the other end of the floor, it couldn’t stop Duke from shooting over its zone defense.
“With any team, when that ball starts going in, that basket gets bigger and bigger for them,” Radford coach Brad Greenberg said. “I think they saw a huge basket.”
The Blue Devils, who won their first three games by an average of nearly 34 points, cruised to their NCAA-record 72nd straight nonconference win at Cameron Indoor Stadium and earned their 32nd straight home win against an unranked team.
But this game probably wasn’t supposed to be quite this easy. Radford returned four starters from last season’s NCAA tournament team—including the 6-foot-11 Parakhouski, the Big South’s preseason player of the year, and 6-8 Joey Lynch-Flohr.
“We wanted to try and protect those two big guys by playing zone, but obviously, it wasn’t very effective,” Greenberg said.
Both players scored at least 20 points in both of the Highlanders’ previous games, and they were expected to test Duke’s bulked-up interior that Coach K had called his biggest team in three decades at the school. His lineup returns only two guards—Scheyer and Smith—who played significant minutes last season.
Instead, with the Highlanders throwing a zone defense at the Blue Devils, they simply went back to their long-range ways.
“Once I hit that first shot, I was just kind of ready to go from there,” said Dawkins, who finished 6 for 8 from beyond the arc.
Duke hit seven 3s during its game-breaking run midway through the first half, with Smith and Scheyer hitting three apiece. Scheyer capped the burst and pushed the lead into the 20s with a 3 from the left wing that made it 43-22 with about 6 1/2 minutes left.
By the time Dawkins made his fourth 3 of the half, stretching the lead to 24 with 1:20 before the break, the Cameron Crazies bowed toward him and chanted his name. He responded by raising his arms in appreciation.
“We watched guys that have that experience on TV, and you just wish you could be that one day,” Dawkins said. “I just got caught up in the moment.”
Kyle Singler scored 13 points and Miles Plumlee added 12 points and 11 rebounds for Duke, which made 16 of 17 free throws.
Phillip Martin scored 12 points and freshman Blake Smith added 11, but Lynch-Flohr had just eight on 3-of-13 shooting for Radford, which fell to 0-17 against ACC teams.