Much has been made about Duke's freshman class, which includes such top prospects as point guard Jason Williams, swingman Mike Dunleavy and center Carlos Boozer. But in the Blue Devils' 80-70 victory yesterday over Maryland, it was Duke's veterans who shined.
Senior Chris Carrawell and junior Shane Battier led Duke's 15-3 run midway through the second half. After a jumper by Juan Dixon cut the Blue Devils' lead to 51-47 with 11 minutes 6 seconds left, Carrawell answered with a three-pointer on Duke's next possession.
Battier then drew Terence Morris's third foul and made both free throws to give the Blue Devils a 56-48 lead. Before the run ended, Carrawell made another three-pointer, Battier added a layup and a free throw and junior Nate James (St. John's/Prospect Hall) tipped in a miss. Duke held a 66-50 lead and never looked back.
The upperclassmen "are doing a great job," Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "They've won as much as anybody in the league. They bring that winning attitude to this young team."
Krzyzewski was effusive in his praise of Carrawell, who carried the team after Battier drew his fifth foul with 5:27 left and Duke holding a 14-point lead.
The 6-foot-6 forward ran the point on one possession, draining the shot clock before driving the lane and drawing Maryland's defense to him. At the last second, Carrawell passed to an open Boozer for a dunk with 4:06 left. Carrawell also made four consecutive free throws after Maryland had cut the lead to eight with a minute left.
"Carrawell was fabulous," Krzyzewski said. "I don't know how many things I asked him to do, but he did all of them: handle, shoot, lead, play defense, inbound the ball. He just did everything for us today.
"At the end of the ballgame, when I looked out on the court, I only saw confidence looking at [Carrawell]. He seemed under control. Carrawell has been the difference in the last two games."
Carrawell, who scored 20 points and was 7 of 12 shooting, said that he wasn't accustomed to playing so many roles in one game. He also had to guard many players, including Morris, a forward; Dixon, a guard; and Mike Mardesich, a center.
"That's the type of game it was," Carrawell said. "I guarded Morris, I guarded Mardesich, I guarded Dixon. I guarded all five positions, probably the first time I ever did that. But, hey, that's my game. I just want to be known as a great all-around player."
Battier made only 4 of 13 field goal attempts to finish with 14 points, but he had seven blocks and nine rebounds. Six of those blocks came in the first half. Battier was a big reason Morris and Lonny Baxter shot a combined 13 of 38, as he kept both quiet for the long stretches when Duke made its runs.
"Shane kind of erased five or six buckets that would have been high-percentage scores for them," Krzyzewski said.
James finished with 12 points and was 5 of 11 shooting. He was especially effective in the first half, when he scored eight points with two three-pointers. He also helped the Blue Devils keep their double-digit lead late, finding Boozer for an easy layin on the possession after Carrawell did almost exactly the same.