Section 17: Scary, Scary Good (Duke vs. Princeton)

The regular season officially started Sunday night as the Devils faced the Princeton Tigers, one of the favorites to win the Ivy League this year, in the O’Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic.  After a bit of a slow start, Duke pulled ahead and won by a final score of 97-60.  To see some of our coverage from the game, be sure to check out our live blog, led by the Jake himself, all the way from Ireland.

Arun is really proud of his artwork. (Photo courtesy of DukeBluePlanet.com)

The two senior captains, Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler (who gets buckets, as mentioned above), led the way for Duke tonight, finishing with 22 and 16 points, respectively.  Nothing unexpected there.  Singler and Smith combined to shoot a very solid 17 of 25 from the field.  Kyrie Irving, in his first regular season game donning a Blue Devil jersey, had an impressive 17 points and 9 assists (not to mention a quite a few crossovers and trick dribbles).

The Devils struggled offensively in the first half but combined to shoot 67% (20-30) after the intermission.  Joining Singler, Smith, and Irving in double digit scoring were sharpshooters Andre Dawkins and Seth Curry, who scored 13 and 14 points, respectively.  Dre and Seth combined for six three pointers and a bevy of pretty jumpers and floaters. The team as a whole shot 53.8% from beyond the arc, going 14 of 26.  Princeton switched from a man-to-man to a zone midway through the first half, and the boys in royal blue took full advantage.

Though the game ended in a blowout, this team still has a bit of work to do on the interior.  No frontcourt player reached double figures, and no player had more than four rebounds for the entire game. For the second week in a row, Duke was outrebounded in the first half.  Luckily, that didn’t factor too much into the final score, but I’m sure it’s something Coach K will focus on in the coming days.  Too many times did the Duke big men allow a smaller opponent to get the rebound.  Before we get too critical though, let’s remember the season’s only just begun, and this was an incredible way to kick it off.  Check out highlights straight from Section 17 below.

On Sunday night, the Cameron Crazies wore Viking helmets in memory of Line Monitor Drew Everson, who recently tragically passed away.  Everson could always be found wearing his Viking helmet in Cameron.  Duke is not the same without him, and he is truly missed.  Rest in peace, Drew.

Crazie-Talk Live! Duke vs. Princeton

…and here we go.

Duke opens its season today at 5 PM in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Our opponent? The Princeton Tigers, upon whose campus in New Jersey Duke’s West Campus was modeled. Thanks, guys.

Princeton is coming off an encouraging OT victory over Garden State rival Rutgers on Friday night. Although the Scarlet Knights of unfortunately named Piscataway, N.J. are certainly rebuilding under new coach Mike Rice, it’s always cool to see a Big East team go down to an Ivy. Right, MidMajority?

Princeton is no longer the class of the classiest group of American U’s, Cornell and Penn having usurped that role several years ago. Nonetheless, they managed a second place finish in conference play last season, and return their top 5 scorers from a team that won 22 games.

For our side, we’re less worried about the outcome of this game—we should win this one, yeah?—than with how we go about winning. Several top teams have struggled in opening games thus far, including the eighth ranked North Carolina Tar Heels, who eked out a win against Lipscomb Friday night. I don’t want to see an iota of struggle. Not an iota!

Coach K is not in the habit of overlooking anyone, and hopefully he can instill a sense of purpose in this team from the opening tip against Princeton. With senior leaders like Smith and Singler in the starting lineup, Duke should be hungry to start pursuing another great season. Let’s get after it, Devils.

As I did for the Cal Poly Pomona game, I will be monitoring a liveblog of the game right here on the website starting at 4:45 EST. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU and ESPN3.

Stop by C-T for a lively and (hopefully) focused discussion of the game. Let’s get this season off to blistering start.

Crazie-Talkers inside Cameron will also be updating our Twitter throughout tomorrow’s game. If you’re not already following us, please do, sirs and madams.