Duke shrugs off GW

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Greensboro, N.C. -- George Washington entered the NCAA tournament as the nation's only two-loss team, but was unaccustomed to the second-round spotlight.

It was just another day at the office, meanwhile, for Duke.


The top-ranked Blue Devils got double doubles from senior center Shelden Williams and freshman forward Josh McRoberts in a commanding, 74-61 victory over the eighth-seeded Colonials yesterday.

Duke (32-3) advanced to the Sweet 16 for the ninth straight year, It will face LSU in an Atlanta Regional semifinal Thursday.


Duke led by 16 points after 15 minutes, and went ahead 51-33 on a basket by J.J. Redick with 16 minutes remaining. The lead fell below double digits just once the rest of the way as George Washington (27-3) couldn't duplicate Thursday's comeback from an 18-point deficit against UNC Wilmington, its first NCAA win since 1994.

McRoberts had 14 points and 13 rebounds, his second double double. Williams had his 20th of the season as he set a Duke single-season record with 14 rebounds, made all nine of his free throws in scoring 17 points, blocked seven shots and served as a safety valve against the Colonials' full-court pressure.

"At practice," coach Mike Krzyzewski said, "I told Shelden, 'You may be the most important release guy.' He doesn't get rattled, he makes his free throws and he can help J.J. with free throws. I've been waiting four years to needle J.J. about his free throw shooting."

Redick, the NCAA Division I record holder for career percentage at the line, missed five of seven. He made four of nine three-pointers en route to 20 points, seven below his average, and was charged with a fourth foul for the first time this season.

With 35.1 seconds remaining, Redick and Williams were removed and took one final bow in the state of North Carolina, where Duke is 28-4 all time in NCAA play. The Blue Devils improved to 7-0 in the tournament against the Atlantic 10 Conference, and went 6-0 at the Greensboro Coliseum this season.

The Colonials' made a season-low 30.5 percent of their field-goal attempts in a 21-point loss at North Carolina State on Dec. 30. Yesterday, they dipped to 30.9, 27.0 in the first half, when they lost their composure over some officiating calls that went Duke's way.

The Blue Devils never trailed and were up 20-16 with 9:40 left when Duke senior Lee Melchionni grabbed the arms of Omar Williams as he was attempting a layup. No foul was called.

A three-point play by Shelden Williams was pivotal in a 9-0 run that gave Duke a 36-20 lead. In putting back his own miss, Williams muscled through Danilo Pinnock and Mike Hall, who took an elbow to the face, but was called for a foul.


"I thought they let them [Duke] play a little more on defense than they let us," said Omar Williams, who guarded Redick, "but that isn't the first time we've been in that situation."

George Washington's pressure created 18 turnovers, but its desperation resulted in 29 personal fouls. Duke had just eight baskets in the second half, when it made 18 of 25 free throws. Hall, Omar Williams and Maureece Rice combined for 39 points for the Colonials.

While Redick and Shelden Williams were Duke's offense in the first round against Southern, freshman point guard Greg Paulus had 10 points and six assists, albeit offset by six turnovers. Senior guard Sean Dockery, who had one three-pointer in the previous seven games, hit a big one to start the second half.

"We knew if we showed any weakness, that they are capable of coming back," Dockery said. "We knew coming out in the second half we had to attack - on offense, defense.