Duke Ends Longest Skid in 11 Years

Thursday, February 15th 2007, 5:49 am
By: News On 6

Mike Krzyzewski finally had something to smile about.

Duke avoided its first five-game losing streak in Krzyzewski's 27-year tenure with a 78-70 win over No. 21 Boston College on Wednesday night.

Josh McRoberts scored 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to help the Blue Devils end their longest losing streak in 11 years.

``It's a big win for us. It's a huge win,'' said a smiling Krzyzewski. ``We're young. We're getting better. We just have to keep fighting.''

Playing their first game after dropping out of the Top 25 for the first time in nearly 11 seasons, Duke pressured BC's guards from the start and used an efficient halfcourt offense that led to a number of layups and dunks in beating the Atlantic Coast Conference-leading Eagles (18-7, 9-3).

``I was confident,'' McRoberts said. ``It wasn't like 'We've lost four straight so we're going to lose this one.'''

Duke played smoothly for most of the night until BC made a late charge.

``We still believe in each other,'' said Duke point guard Greg Paulus, who finished with 15 points. ``We've been right there in all the games.''

In other games Wednesday night, it was: No. 1 Florida 76, No. 25 Alabama 67; No. 2 Ohio State 64, Penn State 62; No. 3 Wisconsin 75, Minnesota 62; No. 8 Memphis 69, Tulsa 52; No. 9 Kansas 75, Colorado 46; No. 10 Washington State 65, Washington 61; No. 11 Nevada 68, San Jose State 60; DePaul 72, No. 12 Marquette 67; and No. 17 Air Force 69, Utah 43.

One day after turning 60, Krzyzewski saw his Blue Devils (19-7, 6-6) outplay a surging BC team for most of the game. The loss snapped the Eagles' four-game winning streak.

Sean Marshall led the Eagles with 23 points and Tyrese Rice had 22.

Demarcus Nelson, who spent most of his night containing ACC scoring leader Jared Dudley, added 15 points for Duke.

Dudley, held to one basket in the first half, got on track midway through the second half as BC closed a 24-point deficit to six in the final two minutes. He finished with 11 points.

The Blue Devils, who led 43-32 at halftime, forced five turnovers during a 16-6 run to start the second half that broke open the game. McRoberts had their first two baskets on an alley-oop and a short jumper in the lane.

``It was just a bad first half,'' BC coach Al Skinner said. ``There was nothing we did particularly well in the first half, and even at the start of the second.''

No. 1 Florida 76, No. 25 Alabama 67

At Gainesville, Fla., Taurean Green scored 20 points in the second half and Florida overcame an 18-point deficit to beat Alabama and extend the nation's longest winning streak to 17 games.

The Gators were down 22-4 and 42-31 at the break. Not coincidentally, Green was 0-for-6 from the field and 0-for-5 from 3-point range in the first half.

He was a different player after halftime, and Florida looked much more like the defending national champion.

Point guard Green, the team's leading scorer, made six of his seven attempts in the second half and helped rally the Gators (24-2, 11-0 Southeastern Conference), who matched a school record for consecutive wins.

The Tide (18-7, 5-6) dropped to 1-5 on the road in conference play.

No. 2 Ohio State 64, Penn State 62

At State College, Pa., Greg Oden had 15 points and 10 rebounds to help Ohio State hold off Penn State for its 10th straight win.

The Buckeyes (23-3, 11-1 Big Ten) led 40-19 at the half and by as many as 24 in the second half before Penn State stormed back.

Jamelle Cornley finished a break with a layup, Mike Walker nailed a 3-pointer and Geary Claxton hit two free throws to get Penn State (10-14, 1-10) within 64-62 with 11 seconds left. Walker's 3-point attempt hit off the back of the rim as the buzzer sounded.

Claxton had 19 points to lead Penn State, which has lost 10 straight.

No. 3 Wisconsin 75, Minnesota 62

At Minneapolis, Alando Tucker helped Wisconsin overcome a flat first half, scoring 29 points against rival Minnesota.

Kammron Taylor added 12 points and Michael Flowers had 11 for the Badgers (25-2, 11-1), who maintained their tie with Ohio State atop the Big Ten.

Lawrence McKenzie, who didn't start for the second straight game, led the Gophers (9-17, 3-9) with 21 points.

No. 8 Memphis 69, Tulsa 52

At Tulsa, Okla., Chris Douglas-Roberts scored 20 points and tied his career high with four steals, and Antonio Anderson returned from an ankle injury to score 15 points as Memphis clinched a bye in the Conference USA tournament.

Memphis (22-3, 12-0) took control with a run late in the first half and led by at least nine throughout the second half en route to its 14th straight win.

Tulsa (15-9, 5-6), with the lowest shooting percentage in Conference USA, struggled against Memphis' stingy defense.

No. 9 Kansas 75, Colorado 46

At Boulder, Colo., Russell Robinson scored 14 points and Darrell Arthur had 11 in the Jayhawks' latest rout of Colorado.

As usual, the Jayhawks (22-4, 9-2 Big 12) had little trouble dispatching the Buffaloes (6-15, 2-9), whom they've lost to just once in their last 37 meetings, a one-point shocker in 2003.

In an apparent disciplinary move, Colorado coach Ricardo Patton, who is 1-25 against Kansas, didn't start his top two scorers, junior Richard Roby and freshman Xavier Silas.

Roby, who finished with seven points, had started every game of his three-year career except for senior day his first two seasons. Silas, who scored 11, had started 16 straight games.

No. 10 Washington State 65, Washington 61

At Seattle, reserve Taylor Rochestie scored a season-high 16 points and Derrick Low hit two free throws with 16.7 seconds left to help Washington State.

Freshman center Spencer Hawes had 22 points and sophomore forward Jon Brockman added 15 for the Huskies.

The Cougars (22-4, 11-4 Pac-10) won their fifth straight conference game this month after an overtime loss to Oregon.

The Huskies (16-9, 6-8) had won five of their previous six league games.

No. 11 Nevada 68, San Jose State 60

At Reno, Nev., Nick Fazekas had 20 points and 10 rebounds to lead Nevada to its 16th win in 17 games.

Kyle Shiloh added 16 points, Ramon Sessions 11 and Marcelus Kemp 10 for Nevada (23-2, 11-1 Western Athletic Conference), which scored the first nine points of the second half to turn a 31-29 deficit into a 38-31 lead with 17:26 left.

Tim Pierce had 20 points for the Spartans (4-21, 3-10).

DePaul 72, No. 12 Marquette 67

At Rosemont, Ill., Sammy Mejia scored 18 points and Draelon Burns hit a pair of free throws with 26 seconds as DePaul held on against Marquette.

Marquette (21-6, 8-4 in the Big East) got 17 points from Dominic James, who misfired on a pair of 3-point attempts in the game's closing seconds. Jerel McNeal and Dan Fitzgerald added 16 points each for the Golden Eagles, who lost their second straight, both on the road.

Wilson Chandler and Marcus Heard scored 14 points each for DePaul (15-11, 6-6), which beat Notre Dame in its previous game.

No. 17 Air Force 69, Utah 43

At Air Force Academy, Colo., Nick Welch tied a career high with 20 points and Dan Nwaelele added 19 as Air Force extended its home winning streak to 29.

The Falcons (22-4, 9-3 Mountain West Conference) are tied with Brigham Young for the longest home winning streak in the nation after Gonzaga's 50-game streak was snapped Monday night by Santa Clara.

The Utes (9-15, 4-7) were led by Luke Nevill with 16 points.