Smith, Scheyer lift No. 7 Duke to rout of No. 15 ‘Zags

It wasn’t an official point guard reunion for Duke at Madison
Square Garden, but the man who currently runs the offense must have
made the old-timers proud.

So did their alma mater’s defense.

Nolan Smith scored 24 points, point guard Jon Scheyer added
20 points and eight assists and No. 7 Duke held No. 15 Gonzaga to
its lowest point total in 25 years in a 76-41 victory Saturday in
the Aeropostale Classic.

Among those in the crowd of 14,554 on a snowy day were Jay
Williams, Chris Duhon, Greg Paulus and current assistant Steve
Wojciechowski, all players who ran the point successfully at Duke
for coach Mike Krzyzewski.

“I didn’t know who was here until after the game and that’s a
good thing because you play a little differently if you do,”
Scheyer said. “I’m not one of those guys. They were obviously great
guards and it was fun for Nolan and I to have a game like that.”

Fun was not a word heard much in the Gonzaga locker room with
the Bulldogs being held to their lowest point total since a 62-40
loss to Iowa on Nov. 28, 1984.

“We got throttled in every aspect of basketball,” coach Mark
Few said. “Their physical play bothered us as far as finishing
shots around the rim. They outrebounded us. We turned the ball over
more and they took more free throws. They beat us in every aspect.
It was an old-fashioned take you out to the woodshed and beat you
down.”

This wasn’t a perfect game for either team for most of the
first half.

Duke (9-1) missed 12 of its first 15 shots from the field and
it was only that the Bulldogs (8-3) were struggling as well, making
only two of their first 10 shots, that the game was close for the
first 15 minutes.

The Blue Devils were able to straighten things out enough to
take a 31-17 halftime lead, but they missed all six of their
3-point attempts.

Smith then hit two 3s and Scheyer added another in a 9-1 run
to open the second half and the rout was on.

“It was a matter of the shots being open because we were
moving the ball better,” Scheyer said of the start of the second
half. “Nolan found me for a great look and he had a couple of great
looks.”

Scheyer, who was coming off a career-high 36 points against
<fstl:categorylink categoryId=”110725″>Gardner-Webb when he
was two rebounds and an assist shy of a triple-double, also had
eight assists. Scheyer, who entered the game leading the nation
with a 6.4:1 assist-turnover ratio, had two turnovers.

“I don’t remember the second turnover,” Scheyer said with a
laugh before dismissing again that he deserves to be included with
the former Duke point guards. “I like to think I make other plays
besides scoring. As long as I’m out there playing I’m OK. It
doesn’t matter to me. Call me whatever you want.”

Krzyzewski said Scheyer “doesn’t have a position. He is just
a good, smart basketball player.”

Robert Sacre led the Bulldogs with nine points on 2-of-11
shooting. The Bulldogs came into the game averaging 79.5 points and
were shooting 49.3 percent from the field and 37.5 from 3-point
range.

Their numbers Saturday weren’t even close. Gonzaga shot 27.8
percent (15 of 54) and made one of 10 3-point attempts while
committing 18 turnovers.

“Against a top team like that, to put together a defensive
effort like that let’s us know even if we have an off game we can
score 50 points and win a game,” Smith said.

The win was the sixth straight at Madison Square Garden for
the Blue Devils and the third this season. They beat Arizona State
and Connecticut in the semifinals and finals of the NIT Season
Tip-Off.

Duke has an all-time record of 26-14 at the Garden, 21-6
under Krzyzewski. Gonzaga fell to 1-4 all-time at Madison Square
Garden.

“We have to put this one out of out minds fast. This was an
aberration,” Few said. “They have been great at stepping up to
challenges all season.”