Nov. 30, 2005
Wednesday night in Bloomington, Indiana, was like a heavyweight fight. It was Duke's J. J. Redick on the perimeter against Indiana's Marco Killingsworth on the interior.
|Killingsworth dominated the middle to the tune of a career-high 34 points.|
Both players put on quite a show, but in the end, the No. 1 Blue Devils found a way to get to the winner's circle.
Every time Indiana made a run, Redick found an answer. Leading 67-65 late, Redick split the defense and made a big play, sliding to the basket and converting a driving layup while drawing a foul. The three-point play was crucial for the Dukies and the sign of a true superstar.
Killingsworth was a man playing against boys, dominating inside. His toughness in the lane and efficiency around the basket kept Indiana in the contest. The former Auburn player, enjoying his senior season as a Hoosier, did it against one of the nation's best defenders, Shelden Williams.
A key was the great position established down low by Killingsworth. Wait until D. J. White comes back from his broken foot -- Indiana should have the best 1-2 inside punch in the Big Ten.
I was also impressed with Killingsworth's versatility. He is a great interior passer who finds the open man, and he can even hit the trifecta. The one area where he needs improvement is on the foul line.
Duke started the game on a 16-2 run, making an early statement. Indiana was able to answer, converting steals in transition to get back into the game.
The Blue Devils also did a great job defending on the perimeter. In the first half, the Hoosiers did not make a three-pointer after coming in averaging 14 made per game in the first three outings.
Remember, while White was out for Indiana, DeMarcus Nelson was sidelined for Duke. His presence gives the Blue Devils an athletic player, an exceptional defender and another potential scorer.
Both of these teams will get better and better. Come March, you will be hearing plenty from Duke and Indiana.
Hoosiers fans, climb on the bandwagon now. Yes, there have been those critical of the program for not keeping players like Josh McRoberts and Greg Oden in the state of Indiana. Mike Davis has been able to land several players from the state of Alabama, led by Killingsworth, White and another transfer, Lewis Monroe.
College basketball is going to be special in Bloomington again this season. Wednesday night was awesome with a capital A, an incredible atmosphere with most fans wearing white. Indiana fans, while disappointed with a loss to Duke, have plenty to be excited about for the rest of this campaign.
There was so much emotion and passion. The bottom line is, while Killingsworth and Redick put on a great show, the Dukies got the big "W" and remained unbeaten in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge at 7-0.
Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979. Send a question for Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.