By Rob Daniels
GREENSBORO, N.C. – The lights seemed brighter, the crowd was undeniably larger and the opponent was more than appropriate for the atmosphere on Wednesday night. Top-ranked Duke got 53 points out of Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler in a 108-62 victory over UNCG that lifted Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski over North Carolina's Dean Smith in career triumphs with 880.
A Greensboro Coliseum crowd of 22,178 – the largest gathering to attend a UNCG athletics event -- stayed until the end to witness the result, which lifted Duke to 12-0 and dropped the Spartans to 0-12. Krzyzewski is 880-279 in 37 seasons overall; Smith retired in 1997 after going 879-254 in 36 seasons.
The defending NCAA champions shot 72 percent from the floor in the second half and recorded the highest point total against a Division I Spartan team in a regulation-time game.
UNCG coach Mike Dement, an assistant to Krzyzewski in 1982-83, admitted to mixed emotions.
"Congratulations to coach," Dement said. "He's been good to me over the years and I wish we had given him a better fight and a better game. You could tell this was something special to their players and they played really well and really hard, and boy, did they shoot it well."
Krzyzewski said he has considered Dement a member of his basketball family for 27 years, and he said the Spartans shouldn't dwell excessively on Wednesday's margin of defeat.
"When we were shaking hands before the game, I said, 'It's a long way since 1982-83.' And I think Mike's a really good coach," Krzyzewski said. "The schedule they have played has been crazy. I thought his kids played hard. They're very young. What they need to do is say, 'That was 2010 and we're 0-0 (in 2011).' And if they do that and play as hard as they did tonight, they're gonna be OK."
Krzyzewski is now second on the NCAA career victory list in Division I competition. He trails only his mentor, Bob Knight, who retired midway through the 2007-08 season with 902 victories.
Although it was their home game, the Spartans acknowledged Krzyzewski's achievement with two congratulatory public-address messages. The UNCG team remained on the floor for a few moments and joined the Blue Devils in gathering around halfcourt as the coach conducted a postgame interview with ESPNU.
Although it fell behind early, UNCG didn't seem especially flustered by the identity and skill of its opponent. The Spartans were determined to avoid being trapped near half-court even if that meant shots that might normally be deemed too hasty.
"With Duke, you don't get very many second opportunities – especially because they're so good on the boards," said Spartan guard Korey Van Dussen, who delivered 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting. "When we got open looks, coach wanted us to take it."
Freshman forward Aaron Brackett had a career-high 14 for UNCG, which is hardly the first team to be overwhelmed by the Blue Devils this season. Eight of Duke's 12 victories have come by 26 or more points. They're now shooting 57 percent from the floor in the second half of all games. Only once have they made fewer than half of their field-goal attempts after the break.
The Spartans are off until Jan. 6, when they host Samford to begin a stretch of five home games in six outings. UNCG's only remaining non-conference game is Miami's visit to the coliseum on Feb. 15.
The crowd broke the previous UNCG attendance record by more than 1,000. Another game between the No. 1 Devils and the Spartans, a meeting on Dec. 31, 2005, attracted 21,124.
Duke 108, UNCG 62
Kyle Singler 10-13 3-4 27; Nolan Smith 8-12 7-10 26; Seth Curry 5-10 2-2 15; Miles Plumlee 5-6 1-2 11; Andre Dawkins 4-5 2-2 11; Ryan Kelly 4-10 2-2 10; Mason Plumlee 2-3 0-1 4; Josh Hairston 1-3 0-0 2; Tyler Thornton 0-2 2-2 2. Totals 39-64 19-25 108.
BRACKETT, Aaron 5-8 4-6 14; VAN DUSSEN, Korey 5-7 2-2 13; HENEGAR, Cody 4-8 0-0 10; HENRY, Aloysius 2-7 3-4 7; RANDALL, Kyle 3-11 0-0 6; EVANS, Brandon 2-4 0-0 5; COLE, Brian 1-5 2-2 4; SIMPSON, Trevis 1-4 0-0 2; WILLIAMS, David 0-1 1-2 1; DAVIS, Brandon 0-0 0-0 0; BONE, Elhanan 0-1 0-0 0; McNEELY, Tyler 0-0 0-0 0; PARKER, Drew 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 23-58 12-16 62.
Duke.......................... 53 55 - 108
UNCG.......................... 32 30 - 62
3-point goals--Duke 11-24 (Kyle Singler 4-7; Nolan Smith 3-4; Seth Curry 3-7; Andre Dawkins 1-2; Tyler Thornton 0-1; Ryan Kelly 0-3), UNCG 4-8 (HENEGAR, Cody 2-2; EVANS, Brandon 1-1; VAN DUSSEN, Korey 1-1; COLE, Brian 0-2; SIMPSON, Trevis 0-1; PARKER, Drew 0-1). Fouled out--Duke-None, UNCG-None. Rebounds--Duke 29 (Kyle Singler 6), UNCG 35 (EVANS, Brandon 7). Assists--Duke 24 (Nolan Smith 9), UNCG 7 (RANDALL, Kyle 5). Total fouls--Duke 16, UNCG 21. Technical fouls--Duke-None, UNCG-EVANS, Brandon. A-22178
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