DURHAM, N.C. (AP)—The game turned into another rout for No. 1 Duke. The side competition between the Blue Devils’ guards was much tighter.
Nolan Smith and Kyrie Irving kept finding teammates open for baskets all night long, and that led to both the Blue Devils’ highest-scoring performance of the season and some impressive assist totals for a pair of guards who take pride in that stat.
Smith scored 18 points while Irving added 13, and they each had nine assists in Duke’s 110-58 romp against Colgate on Friday night.
“We’re both trying to get double-doubles every night,” Irving said. “We can definitely do it on this team, (with) the amount of weapons we have on this team. We’re always in competition with one another.”
Kyle Singler and Andre Dawkins had 16 points apiece and Seth Curry scored 11 for the Blue Devils (3-0). They never trailed, outscored the Raiders 27-9 during a 9 1/2 -minute span, held them to one field goal in 6 1/2 minutes of the first half and put up 66 points in the second half.
Mike Krzyzewski earned victory No. 798 with the Blue Devils, who extended their decade-long nonconference winning streak at Cameron Indoor Stadium to 80 and hit the 100-point mark for the first time this season. They had little trouble winning their 13th straight game and 22nd in a row at Cameron, finishing with 24 assists and totaling at least 20 in two of their three wins.
“If a team can learn to really like to pass, that’s still, I think, the most beautiful part of our game—our connecting passes,” Krzyzewski said. “People like the dunk and the 3-point shot—and I do, too, if they’re ours— but I really like connecting passes.”
There’s also plenty to like about the way his team plays defense.
Duke, which has won three home games in six days against outmanned competition by an average of nearly 38 points, forced at least 20 turnovers for the second time and turned Colgate’s miscues into 40 points.
The Blue Devils held the Raiders to 1-for-10 shooting during that cold stretch midway through the first half. Yaw Gyawu scored nine points—10 below his average—on 4-of-14 shooting to lead Colgate (0-3), which was held to 31 percent shooting and turned it over 26 times.
“Duke just does a tremendous job with their ball pressure and their denials and forced a lot of turnovers,” Colgate coach Emmett Davis said. “Certainly, they force you to do things you don’t want to do. This is an outstanding team, and there’s a reason they’re No. 1 in the country.”
Duke coasted through one final breather before things get significantly tougher next week. The Blue Devils will play Marquette on Monday in the CBE Classic semifinals, will face either No. 11 Gonzaga or No. 3 Kansas State two nights after that and later will play No. 2 Michigan State at home and No. 16 Butler in New Jersey.
“One thing we’ve got to do is continue to keep our defensive intensity up,” Smith said. “We’re going to have to play defense and really get after them.”
Irving, the first freshman to start a season as Duke’s point guard since Jason Williams in 1999, is looking quite comfortable running the show for the reigning national champions. He tossed up an alley-oop dunk to Ryan Kelly less than 10 seconds in, and the highlight-reel move during the game-breaking run was his double-clutch reverse layup that made it 31-17 with 8 1/2 minutes left in the half.
His 3-pointer early in the half started the overwhelming burst that put this one well out of reach. Mason Plumlee capped that spurt with a free throw that made it 36-17 with 6:14 left. Duke made it a 20-point game with about one minute left in the half when Smith hit a reverse layup to stretch it to 44-24, and pushed the lead to 30 with just under 16 minutes left on Smith’s 3—one of 12 made by Duke.
By then, the Blue Devils were on their way toward improving to 14-0 against the Patriot League under Krzyzewski, who played for Bob Knight at Army and spent five years coaching there before coming to Duke in 1980.
“Once we started hitting 3s,” Krzyzewski said, “the points just kind of go up there real quick.”