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Duke storms to victory over Central Michigan

Duke was probably caught looking ahead when it was nearly ousted from the NCAA tournament by Colorado State in the Huntsman Center Thursday.

The Blue Devils learned their lesson.

The West's third-seed played like a Duke team of the early '90s in storming to an 86-60 victory over No. 11 seed Central Michigan to advance to the Sweet 16 for the sixth straight year.

Next up for the Devils is a date with Kansas in Anaheim next Thursday.

If Duke shoots like it did against the Chippewas, the Jayhawks could be in serious trouble. Right from the outset, the Blue Devils were reining shots in, and it didn't matter from what distance. Duke finished by shooting 62 percent from the field and 66 percent from the 3-point range.

Senior Dahntay Jones and freshman J.J. Redick led the way with 28 and 26 points, respectively.

"I was very proud of J.J., because he was really sick (yesterday)," said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Redick has been sick for three days, and the illness finally forced him to miss Friday's practice.

Don't try convincing the Chippewas of that. Not only did he play incredible perimeter defense, but Jones canned five 3-pointers, three of which came from at least six feet behind the arc.

"J.J.'s 3's have a way of inspiring the team, including me," joked Krzyzewski.

Early on though, it was the "Dahntay Show."

Jones scored 16 of Duke's 24 points as it raced to a 24-17 lead midway through the first half.

"He kind of played like the senior star," said Krzyzewski. "He's developed into that because he wasn't that at the beginning of the year. You need that at this time of year."

Duke was able to build the lead to 47-33 by halftime, and then it stormed to a 56-33 lead two minutes into the second half thanks to a 9-0 run.

The Chippewas, who upset Creighton in the first round, were able to shave the lead down to 64-50 with 11:11 remaining, but that was as close as they got.

In Krzyzewski's mind, the game plan was working to perfection. Not only were his guards getting into the lane to create open looks for their teammates, but they also were making Central Michigan center Chris Kaman run.

"What we were trying to do was get Kaman to run so he wouldn't be as aggressive on the offensive end," said Krzyzewski about the MAC Player of the Year.

In a sense, whoever was defending Kaman was designated as the screener for the penetrating Duke guards at the top of the key. Not only did that enable Daniel Ewing and Chris Duhon to get into the lane, but it also kept the 7-foot Kaman out of the lane.

"Chris (Duhon) played a great game and as a result we got unbelievable shots," said Krzyzewski.

Duhon finished with 16 points, eight assists and six steals.

Kaman, meanwhile, still scored 25 points in making 10 of 20 shots. His teammates didn't fare nearly as well. Central Michigan shot 37 percent, but 23 percent if you take away Kaman's production.

"Duke came out and played a good game," said Central Michigan coach Jay Smith. "If they continue to play defense like they are now, they will be difficult to beat."


E-mail: jedward@desnews.com