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Saturday, December 4, 2010
Rapid Reaction: Duke 82, Butler 70

By Kieran Darcy



Recap | Box score | Photos

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A quick take on Saturday's national championship game rematch, an 82-70 win by Duke over Butler.

WHAT IT MEANS: Duke goes to 8-0 on the season and will retain its No. 1 ranking for at least another week. Also, coach Mike Krzyzewski notches career win No. 876 -- which ties him with Adolph Rupp, behind only Bob Knight and Dean Smith.

Butler drops to 4-3 on the season. But the Bulldogs will feel better about this loss, hanging with the No. 1 team in the nation, than they did about getting blown out by Louisville and picked off by Evansville.

HOMETOWN KID: New Jersey product Kyrie Irving, who had the entire college basketball world buzzing after his scintillating 31-point performance in a win over Michigan State earlier this week, got off to a slow start on Saturday. He had just four points in the first half, to go along with four turnovers. But Irving was much more aggressive early in the second half, scoring seven quick points, and hit two huge 3s later on, finishing with 21 points.

CRAMPING THEIR STYLE: This game was tied at halftime, and with 12:46 remaining in the second half Duke still led by only one -- that's when Shelvin Mack, Butler's best player, was forced to leave the game with severe leg cramps. Duke ripped off nine straight points after that, to extend to a 10-point lead, its biggest of the game. Butler battled admirably without Mack, even cutting the deficit to three briefly. But Mack never returned, and that really hurt.

SHOOTING WOES: Duke got plenty of open looks in the first half, but couldn't knock many of them down -- they finished the first 20 minutes shooting just 12-for-31 from the field (38.7 percent) and 4-for-16 from downtown (25 percent). The Blue Devils were much better from the field in the second half (13-for-22, 59.1 percent) and from long range (4-for-10, 40 percent).

WHAT'S NEXT: Duke will play Bradley at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Wednesday. Butler will play at Xavier on Thursday. And ESPNNewYork's next college hoops game is on Tuesday night at Carnesecca Arena, when 5-1 St. John's hosts St. Bonaventure.