Duke crushes Winthrop to open title defense

Posted: Friday, March 15, 2002

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Jason Williams and Juneau's Carlos Boozer had towels over their shoulders with eight minutes left. Mike Dunleavy had bags of ice on his knees and Mike Krzyzewski barely moved from his seat.

It all signaled another NCAA tournament first-round blowout for Duke on Thursday night.

The Blue Devils, the top seed in the South Regional, made 12 of their first 13 shots to race past Winthrop 84-37 just hours after the day's other No. 1 seed -- Kansas -- struggled with Holy Cross.

The winning margin matched the fifth largest in tournament history.

"No complaints with the first half," Dunleavy said. "That's the way you start these things off."

Boozer and Williams scored 19 points each, and Dunleavy added 18 as the defending national champions (30-3) won their seventh straight NCAA game by double digits and gave Krzyzewski his seventh 30-win season.

The Blue Devils advanced to play Notre Dame and former Krzyzewski assistant Mike Brey, whose club knocked off Charlotte 82-63.

"We've come into this tournament not trying to hold any bullets back," said a well-rested Williams, who played a season-low 20 minutes. "We want to shoot every one we have and go out there and play our style."

That included one awesome 24-0 run.

Winthrop coach Gregg Marshall was asked if he felt powerless watching the Blue Devils from his bench.

"The solace I can take is that I'm not the only guy to go against coach K and feel that way," Marshall said. "Even though it was embarrassing at times -- downright embarrassing -- we continued to fight. Duke played a dynamite game."

Greg Lewis led the Eagles with 15 points.

Marshall gave his wife a thumbs-up prior to tipoff and blew a kiss to his 3-year-old daughter Maggie in the stands, who blew one back.

But that's the most fun Marshall would have all night with his club playing just 85 miles from campus.

The 16th-seeded Eagles (19-12), the Big South champion a fourth straight season, turned the ball over five times in the opening 2:24 to fall into a hole early as Williams, a first-team All-American, hit an NBA-range 3-pointer and turned a steal into a reverse layup to get things going for the Blue Devils.

Boozer was also a key in Duke's early surge. The 6-foot-9, 280-pound center had hit 76 of 91 shots over a 10-game period coming in, and made his first five against Winthrop to help break it open against a team that didn't start a player taller than 6-6.

Boozer's fastbreak slam from Williams less than eight minutes in gave Duke a 27-7 lead and Winthrop was well on its way to the same fate as Radford, Florida A&M, Lamar and Monmouth -- Duke's other first-round victims since 1998.

The four-time Atlantic Coast Conference champion beat those teams by an average of 37 points.

It was worse for the Eagles.

"We're not the only team Duke has dominated," Tywan Harris said. "They beat N.C. State by 30 in the ACC tourney. We really wanted to come out and give it our best effort, but it just didn't work out."

Winthrop went scoreless for a 7 1/2-period stretch as a Dunleavy alley-oop from Dahntay Jones put the Blue Devils up by 30 more than 8 minutes before the break as Duke rolled to a 52-15 halftime lead.

The 37-point margin at the break was the largest for Duke in 96 NCAA tourney games. The previous best was 35 against Connecticut in 1964.

While the Blue Devils shot 64 percent in the first half, Winthrop's stats likely made Marshall cringe. His club missed 24 of its 30 attempts, including 10 straight misfires from beyond the arc, and had 15 turnovers.

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