Coach K reaches another milestone with No. 1 Duke
Mike Krzyzewski's latest milestone win came with an impressive dismantling of one of the best teams in the country.
Top-ranked Duke's 82-68 victory over No. 4 Kansas State on Tuesday night in the championship game of the O'Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic was Coach K's 800th win at Duke.
As usual, he deflected the attention from himself to the school that he has worked at since 1981 and the many players who have scored those points and defended all those opponents.
''It means I'm at a great school,'' said Krzyzewski, who became the fifth coach to win 800 games at one school. ''It has afforded me the chance to recruit great kids. I feel really comfortable coaching at a high caliber and you're much better able to form a team with kids with good character. We try to develop the good character they bring us. Duke allows us to recruit nationally and for me being there for 31 years. ... I'm a lucky guy to be there.''
He's been lucky enough to win 873 games overall including his stint at West Point, his alma mater where he played under Bob Knight, the all-time wins leader at 902. Krzyzewski's win total is three behind Adolph Rupp for third place on the career list.
This was also another November win for Duke. The Blue Devils have won 27 straight games in the 11th month of the year and under Krzyzewski they are 107-10 in November.
This was the fourth straight year Duke won an in-season tournament and the Blue Devils won the one that comes after the season last April, their fourth national title under Krzyzewski.
''Our guys played great. We beat an outstanding team in a great environment,'' Krzyzewski said. ''Our defense was just really good. I thought we never let up. We won a big-time game.''
Freshman guard Kyrie Irving and senior guard Nolan Smith both scored 17 points and combined on an outstanding defensive job on preseason All-America Jacob Pullen.
''They were terrific,'' Krzyzewski said of his starting backcourt, ''but I can say that about every single one of our players tonight. We have to be really good or else we would not beat a really good team. Our guards combined for 34 points and controlled the ball and played good defense, so we had a good chance to win with that production.''
Duke (5-0) made sure the sellout crowd of 18,696 - most wearing something purple to support the Wildcats - was never a factor, taking the lead for good 7 1/2 minutes into the game and then going on to lead by 17 points midway through the second half on the way to its 15th straight win.
Five games into his college career, Irving gave quite a performance in a neutral-site game that certainly wasn't.
''I definitely saw a lot of purple shirts in the crowd, so it felt like an away game,'' Irving said of a game played in the Sprint Center, about two hours from the Kansas State campus. ''That's how we approached it. We had to block them out and just play our game.''
Irving wouldn't take the credit for holding Pullen, who led Kansas State's run to the Elite Eight last season and made wearing a beard at a college basketball game fashionable, to four points on 1-for-12 shooting, including 1 of 8 from 3-point range.
''First of all it wasn't a single job on my part. It was a team effort,'' Irving said. ''When we were going through our walkthrough we had to really lock in on him. We had an awareness on him the whole entire game. I think we did a great job on the defensive end, which gave us offensive momentum.''
Pullen sounded like a senior veteran.
''It's early in the season. The ball wasn't going in on shots I normally take,'' said Pullen, who entered the game averaging 16.5 points on 46 percent shooting, 41 percent behind the 3-point line. ''They have a really good team. I probably won't see a lot of defenses like that all year. I still got a lot of looks that I like, a lot of looks that usually go in.''
Kyle Singler and Andre Dawkins both had 11 points for Duke, while Mason Plumlee added 10.
Curtis Kelly led the Wildcats (4-1) with 19 points.
''Our guys battled and fought hard,'' Kansas State coach Frank Martin said. ''We lined up and played a heck of a basketball team today. We are a very young team and we will use this as a great learning experience. ... It did not work out today, but that is what happened and we'll be better next time.''
Kansas State finished 27 for 56 from the field (46.8 percent), although the Wildcats made just three of 17 3-point attempts. They finished with 21 turnovers that Duke turned into 25 points.
''You cannot turn it over 21 times and be 11 of 23 from the foul line and have any chance at beating the No. 1 team in the country,'' Martin said. ''Duke does a great job defensively. We are not the only team in the country that they have done that to before.''
Duke shot 48.1 percent overall (26 for 54), but the Blue Devils made half of their 12 3-point attempts.
''We didn't take as many 3s as we usually do,'' Krzyzewski said. ''But our guards did such a great job of driving to score as well as create shots for others.''
Duke's next three games are at Oregon on Saturday, home for No. 2 Michigan State on Dec. 1, and versus Butler, the team it beat in last season's national championship game, at the Meadowlands on Dec. 4.