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Redick, Williams lead way for Blue Devils

1/17/2004

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) -- Shelden Williams controlled the boards,
swatted shots and provided a rugged low-post presence for No. 2
Duke. It was the perfect complement to its balanced offense
Saturday.

J.J. Redick scored 23 points, and Williams had 16 points, 14
rebounds and eight blocked shots to lift the Blue Devils past No. 4
Wake Forest 84-72.

Chris Duhon added eight points and 14 assists for the Blue
Devils (14-1, 4-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), who have won 11
straight overall and 36 in a row at home. The win gives the Blue
Devils sole possession of first place in the ACC, where they are
chasing an unprecedented sixth straight championship.

Duhon's 14 assists and Williams' eight blocks were career-highs,
part of a terrific all-around effort by the Blue Devils.

"We needed those types of performances to beat this basketball
team," coach Mike Krzyzewski said.

Duke has dominated Wake Forest (11-2, 2-1) here in recent years,
winning the previous six meetings by an average of 24 points a
game. The Demon Deacons haven't won at Cameron Indoor Stadium since
Tim Duncan led them to an 81-69 victory in January 1997.

Duke had about 36 hours rest after beating North Carolina State
76-57 on Thursday night, but showed no signs of fatigue in winning
for the 15th time in 16 meetings.

The Blue Devils are poised to rise to No. 1 for the seventh
consecutive season after No. 9 North Carolina beat top-ranked
Connecticut 86-83 later Saturday.

The Blue Devils used a 14-2 run in the game's opening minutes to
take a double-digit lead they would maintain for most of the way.
Wake Forest hung around and closed the gap to three points midway
through the second half, but never could dig out of its early hole.

"It's so hard to play catch-up with those guys," said Taron
Downey, who had 14 points. "You know they're going to keep hitting
shots and you've just got to play those guys for 40 minutes strong
and not play catch-up with them."

The 6-foot-9, 245-pound Williams led a defensive effort that
locked down an offense ranking third nationally at 87.7 points.
When the Demon Deacons managed to get past the perimeter pressure,
Williams and the Blue Devils closed the door by blocking 12 shots
and altering countless more.

"I knew it was going to be a very physical game because they've
got three or four big guys they can throw in there," Williams
said. "I came in with the mind-set of, 'I know it's going to be
physical, so I have to be physical first."

He certainly did that, getting the best of his matchup in the
post with the 6-9, 275-pound Eric Williams. Eric Williams scored
just six points, 10 below his team-leading average, and was not a
factor.

"Shelden Williams was just a horse inside," Wake Forest coach
Skip Prosser said, "and we had no answer."

The Blue Devils also had a balanced offense to match their
defensive effort. Redick, Williams, Daniel Ewing (20 points) and
Luol Deng (15 points) made big shots to answer any runs the Demon
Deacons put together.

Duke shot 52 percent, including a 10-for-19 effort from 3-point
range.

"We just had different guys step up in different situations,"
said Redick, who went 7-for-11 from the floor. "It just seemed any
time they cut into our lead, a different guy stepped up and made a
big play."

Justin Gray scored 18 points to lead the Demon Deacons, who shot
35 percent for the game.

After Gray's 3-pointer pulled Wake Forest to 45-42 with 15:53 to
play, the Blue Devils responded with a 10-2 run, which included 3s
by Redick and Ewing.

Eric Williams got the Demon Deacons off to a good start with the
game's first basket, but Duke answered with a 14-2 spurt.

The only blemish for Duke during the spurt was when Redick
missed his first free throw of the game, snapping his ACC-record
streak of 54 straight dating back to last season. Redick hit his
next five free throws and is 50-for-51 at the line this season.

Duke led 41-30 at halftime.