No. 1 Duke rolls as Coach K wins No. 800
Kyrie Irving didn't wait long to make his mark at Duke.
The freshman guard scored 17 points and did an outstanding defensive job on preseason All-America Jacob Pullen and the top-ranked Blue Devils beat No. 4 Kansas State 82-68 on Tuesday night to win the O'Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic.
Irving was a heralded recruit coming out of St. Patrick's H.S. in New Jersey and there weren't many who didn't think he would be a star in college before heading to the NBA.
Five games into his college career he 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 the 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.''
Did that make Irving nervous?
''Yeah, to start the game,'' he said. ''I really haven't been in an atmosphere where the whole entire crowd is against me. Most of my games have been at home, so this is my first official road trip. It was a great experience.''
Duke (5-0) made sure the sellout crowd of 18,696, 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 their 15th straight win.
The win was No. 800 at Duke for Mike Krzyzewski, making him the fifth coach to reach that figure at one school. His overall win total is 873, three behind Adolph Rupp for third place on the career list.
''It means I'm at a great school,'' Krzyzewski said of the milestone. ''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 the 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.''
And it was 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 inseason 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.''
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 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.
Duke took the lead for good when a 9-0 run took them from a 13-12 deficit into a 21-13 lead. The run started with a four-point play by Seth Curry and ended with a 3 by Dawkins on a nice pass by Curry.
The Wildcats trailed 47-39 at halftime and with the crowd imploring them on they could get no closer than six points. They were within 51-45 on a jumper by Nick Russell with 17:09 to play. The Blue Devils went on a 10-2 spurt with five players scoring in the run. Irving's drive with 11:51 to play made it 64-47 with 11:51 left and Duke was never threatened.
''Our guys battled and fought hard,'' Kansas State coach Frank Martin said. ''We lined up and played a heck of 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.
Kansas State is 3-14 all-time against No. 1 teams.