St. John's-Duke Preview

The Associated Press

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski saw his club earn two wins over Michigan's "Fab Five" in its 1991-92 national championship season.

He's getting ready to face another all-freshman lineup that he believes will pose a challenge.

The eighth-ranked Blue Devils put their 93-game non-conference home win streak on the line Saturday when they meet St. John's, expected to start five freshmen for the second straight game.

The Red Storm (9-11) are the last non-ACC team to win at Cameron Indoor Stadium with an 83-82 victory Feb. 26, 2000. St. John's will travel to Durham in a confident mood after ending a four-game slide with Wednesday's 78-62 home victory over West Virginia.

Interim coach Mike Dunlap, filling in for Steve Lavin, inserted Sir'Dominic Pointer into the lineup for junior college transfer God'sgift Achiuwa. That gave St. John's five freshmen starters for what is believed to be the first time since the 1927-28 season with the team that went on to be known as "The Wonder Five."

Krzyzewski took notice as the Red Storm built a 16-point halftime lead and were never threatened.

"They're calling themselves the "Wonder Five," a take-off on the "Fab Five," that they have talent and attitude, that they're good, that they can conquer the world and this week it's paid off," Krzyzewski said.

Duke (17-3) had won seven straight in this series before a 93-78 loss Jan. 30, 2011, though all five Red Storm players who scored in double figures that day are no longer with the team. Still, that defeat is fresh in the minds of the Blue Devils, who were ranked No. 3 at the time.

"We're playing them when they're at their best this year," Krzyzewski said. "We played them last year when they were at their best and we didn't do very well against them."

Lavin and Dunlap discussed the lineup change in the build-up to Wednesday's game. The move worked since St. John's - one of the Big East's worst shooting teams at 42.5 percent - finished at 48.4 and reached 70 points in regulation for just the second time in 16 games.

"It is a lineup that coach Lavin has spoke about in our team meetings," Dunlap said. "So it was a matter of feel and we will eventually try many lineups as far as the versatility of seven or eight players."

Moe Harkless had 23 points and 13 rebounds, and D'Angelo Harrison added 19 points.

"I've seen Duke play on TV countless times," Harkless said. "It's definitely a great environment. I can't wait. It's Duke, the name speaks for itself. They have a great coach, great players. We have to be ready to play."

Harkless and Harrison are among the nation's freshmen leaders in scoring at 16.0 and 15.5 points per game, respectively.

"Those two kids, they can play with anybody," Krzyzewski said.

Krzyzewski has a freshman star of his own in Austin Rivers, Duke's top scorer at 14.2 points per game.

The Blue Devils' major advantage Saturday, though, should be their tandem of 6-foot-10 forwards Mason and Miles Plumlee. No Red Storm starter is taller than Harkless at 6-8.

Mason Plumlee had a season-high 23 points and 12 rebounds in Wednesday's 74-71 victory at Maryland. The Blue Devils bounced back from their first ACC loss last Saturday, 76-73 to Florida State as their 45-game overall home win streak was snapped.

St. John's is 0-7 against Top 25 teams this season, worst in the country.

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