We have been waiting three games and one half for Gerald Henderson to show the explosiveness that made him a preseason all-acc selection. If the second half is any indication on how Henderson’s season will be, we are for a real treat.
After a miserable first half that saw Duke fumble the ball like a pee wee league team, they ratcheted up and played a flawless second half. If it wasn’t for a few key players for Duke in the first half, it would have been an up hill battle.
Brian Zoubek had one of his best games in his career at Duke. He was aggressive under the post, and when Duke feed him the ball inside he used nice footwork to either convert, or draw the foul. He only went 2-2 from the field, but shot 6-8 from the free throw line. I forgot what a sweet stroke he has. He really controlled things down in the post. He added 6 rebounds and 2 blocks. As in the game against Rhode Island free throws were the answer in the first half. When the shots weren’t falling, Duke penetrated and caused SIU to foul many many times. Duke went an outstanding 40-47 from the free throw line.
Duke was able to finally show their muscle in the second, and started forcing SIU to take bad shots and finally converted on the opportunities they had. Singler and Henderson both went scoreless in the first half, but finished with 13 and 20 respectively. Singler had a rough night going 3-11 from the field. His worse night of the season still ended with him getting double digits and 7 rebounds.
There was some great highlights in the game. Singler with the steal and then a dunk and crash. My heart stopped when he laid on the ground for that second. Smith with a powerful jam against two bigger players. And then of course Gerald Henderson launching in the lane and then throwing it down was just icing on the cake.
This was a fun game to watch. Of course it was a little ugly in the first but Duke played like a final four team in the second. It was a solid team effort, and I am sure we are all glad to see Henderson finally come out of his shell. After of couple of his shots fell at the beginning of the second, he was just dripping with confidence.
Duke will likely face UCLA tomorrow and what a great early season test. UCLA is a loaded team that will match up really well with Duke. It should be a good one.