DURHAM, NC - In a tale of two halves, No. 11 Duke outscored Georgia Southern 34-16 in the second half and overcame a six-point, first-half deficit to win 72-48 Monday evening in the CBE Classic at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Georgia Southern (1-1) controlled play for most of the first half. Senior Donte Gennie started the scoring with a jumper in the opening minute and junior Louis Graham added a basket on GSU’s next trip down the floor for an early 4-0 advantage.
Junior Diogo Salazar gave the Eagles their biggest lead of the game, six, to that point with a 3-pointer at the 13:14 mark, setting the score at 15-9. After three Duke free throws, Foreman responded with a trey to double the lead again.
Foreman’s field goal was the team’s last over a four and a half minute stretch and the Blue Devils took advantage. Gerald Henderson cut the margin to two points (18-16) and after a GSU turnover, Josh McRoberts’ second-chance lay-up with 7:47 left in the half tied the game for the first time since the opening tip-off.
The two teams traded the lead back-and-forth over the next seven minutes and neither squad led by more than a point. McRoberts hit four free throws in the final minute and the pendulum swung in favor of Duke when DeMarcus Nelson’s trifecta at the buzzer sent the Blue Devils into the break with their largest lead, 38-32.
Duke continued the momentum after intermission. Dunks by Nelson and McRoberts in the first minute put Duke up 42-32 but buckets by Graham and Foreman brought the Eagles back to within six points.
The Devils’ Greg Paulus answered immediately with a lay-up but shortly after, Foreman’s 16th point of the game made the score 44-38. From there, Duke took over as back-to-back dunks by Lance Thomas began a 9-0 run and the lead ballooned to 15, 53-38. Gennie finally stopped the bleeding with a jumper to snap the 4:30 drought.
Duke led by no fewer than 14 the rest of the way.
“I thought we played hard, for the most part,” said GSU head coach Jeff Price. “I’m very disappointed in the final margin. I don’t think the final score is indicative of the game. This is a place where you have to have tremendous poise. And I thought for a spell in the second half we lost our poise and got mentally weak. I thought it really affected the game and allowed them to go on a run.”
The teams were almost even from the floor in the first half with Duke holding a slight advantage, 41.7 percent to 41.4 percent. But the second half was a different story as the Blue Devils hit 58.3 percent from the field and held the Eagles to 21.2 percent.
“Our defense wasn’t nearly as good in the second half,” Price added, “and their defense was a heck of a lot better.”
Free throws helped tell the story as Duke went 22-of-32 from the line to Georgia Southern’s 6-of-14. In the first half, the Blue Devils hit 17-of-25 from the stripe while the Eagles went just 5-for-6.
“It’s hard to overcome the discrepancy at the line in a place like this,” said Price, “but with that said, we missed a lot of free throws. We missed six in a row at one point in the second half. We like to press, but you can’t get into the press if you don’t make your free throws.”
“We played a really good team tonight,” said Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski. "They were really prepared. The two games we’ve played against were against really well-coached basketball teams. You could tell why Georgia Southern has won the (South Division three of the last five years). They really execute well and their kids are unselfish and they have good ball handlers. It’s tough to pressure them. I don’t think we had as much energy as we had yesterday but I think a lot of that had to do with the way Georgia Southern played. They take the energy out of you.”
Foreman finished with a game-high 18 points, tying his career high. He went 7-for-13 from the floor, 2-for-5 from 3-point land, and added five rebounds and three assists.
Gennie, who tallied a career-high 26 points Sunday night vs. UC Davis, was held to four points on 2-for-15 shooting, but pulled down a team-high eight rebounds.
Nelson notched a double-double with 16 points and 10 boards. He led a group of four Duke players in double-figures.
- From GSU Media Relations -