Two games into the season, top-ranked Duke's execution remains a work in progress. The Blue Devils' effort is another matter.
"I couldn't be happier with our intensity. Our kids played the whole game like it was a four-point game," coach Mike Krzyzewski said after Duke overcame another sloppy offensive performance and rode Trajan Langdon's 27 points to a 94-61 victory over Davidson Tuesday night.
The Blue Devils, who had 19 turnovers in a season-opening victory over Fairfield, lost the ball 21 times against Davidson.
"We're looking to lead the league in something," Krzyzewski joked.
On a serious note, Krzyzewski noted that just four of his team's turnovers were made by Langdon and William Avery, the Blue Devils' starting guards.
"I'd be more concerned if William and Trajan were the guys turning it over," he said. "We're still adjusting."
That line of reasoning didn't sit well with Avery, a sophomore who had 10 points, eight assists, four steals and two turnovers.
"We have no excuses for doing that. We need to take better care of the ball," he said. "We're a veteran team and we need to play like one."
Duke countered its poor ball-handling with some solid defense against the scrappy but overmatched Wildcats. Duke harassed Davidson into 25 turnovers and 33 percent shooting.
Elton Brand added 10 points and eight rebounds for the Blue Devils, who shot 55 percent and had a 43-33 rebounding edge.
Davor Halbauer and Chadd Holmes had 14 points apiece for the defending Southern Conference-champion Wildcats, who were playing their season opener.
"We had some moments where we were brilliant -- absolute brilliance in varying moments of th game," coach Bob McKillop said. "What we need to do obviously to become a championship-caliber team is to put more of those moments together. When you play Duke, you have to play them for 40 minutes."
Davidson couldn't use unfamiliarity as an excuse to be intimidated by the Blue Devils. The teams were original members of the Southern Conference and have played 94 times in a series that began in 1909.
But while the Wildcats have had plenty of exposure to Duke, they don't have the talent or the depth to stay with the Blue Devils for 40 minutes. It didn't help that Ben Ebong, their best inside player, had to sit out the final 17 minutes of the first half after picking up two quick fouls.
By the time Ebong came back on the floor, the Wildcats were already down by 19. They got no closer than 13 in the second half before Duke began pulling away again, stretching its lead to as many as 34 points.
The Blue Devils took control by forcing seven turnovers over the last 4½ minutes of the first half, powering a 16-3 run.
"All of a sudden, the sharks started smelling blood," McKillop said. "All of a sudden it's a 19-point lead when it could have very easily been a nine-point lead at halftime."
Brand started the surge with a jumper in the lane and added four more points, two rebounds and a steal as the Blue Devils built a 46-27 halftime lead. Avery got the final two steals in the run by stripping the ball from Jeff Bergmann on consecutive possessions and going the length of the floor for layups.
The game was played at the Charlotte Coliseum, where the Blue Devils expect a substantially larger crowd when they return in March for the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament. Tuesday night's game drew just 10,136 to a facility that holds more than 24,000 and is regularly sold out by the NBA's Charlotte Hornets.
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