Williams leads No. 1 Duke to NIT title
New York, NY (Sports Network) – Shelden Williams tipped home the go-ahead
basket with 30 seconds remaining and top-ranked Duke overcame 11th-ranked
Memphis, 70-67, to capture the NIT Season Tip-off at Madison Square Garden.
Williams scored a career-high 30 points and recorded eight rebounds for the
Blue Devils (5-0), who won this tournament for a third time in school history.
J.J. Redick added 15 points, but did not score in the second half, for Duke,
which also won the Preseason NIT in 1985 and 2000.
Shawne Williams led Memphis with 15 points and eight boards, but his three-
point attempt bounced off the rim as time expired, as the Tigers (3-1)
failed to follow up their semifinal win over No. 16 UCLA with another victory
over a ranked opponent.
The game was close throughout with Duke taking the largest lead of the second
half for either team at 64-57 with five minutes remaining when Greg Paulus
drained a pair of free throws.
Shawne Williams sparked a 10-3 run and the Tigers rallied to tie the game.
Williams started the run with a layup at the 4:44 mark and ended it with a
pair of free throws with 57 seconds remaining to tie the contest at 67-67.
Williams had six of the 10 points during the burst for Memphis, which failed
to scored the rest of the way.
On Duke’s ensuing possession, Sean Dockery missed a running layup attempt, but
Memphis failed to block out Shelden Williams, who tipped home the go-ahead
bucket with 30 seconds on the clock.
Darius Washington had his mid-range bank attempt on the Tigers next trip down
the floor bounce out with 10 seconds left and Duke’s Lee Melchionni grabbed
the board and was fouled.
Melchionni, however, missed both free throws, but his second miss was tipped
by Shelden Williams out to Dockery, who was immediately fouled by Washington
with seven seconds remaining.
Dockery also failed to put the game away, hitting only the second free throw
to give the Tigers one last shot at forcing overtime.
Shawne Williams, though, had his three-pointer bounce off the rim and out as
time expired and the Tigers dropped their first-ever meeting against the Blue
Washington ended with 11 points for the Tigers, who trailed 42-41 at halftime.
Redick shot 0-for-3 in the second half…Shelden Williams was named the
tournament’s MVP. He was joined on the All-Tournament team by Redick, Drexel’s
Bashir Mason, UCLA’s Arron Afflalo and Memphis’ Rodney Carney…Carney
finished the game with 12 points…Duke shot 49 percent for the game…Memphis
shot 41 percent for the contest…Paulus ended with five points and eight
assists…This is the first game this season that Redick did not lead Duke in
scoring…Duke played without starting guard DeMarcus Nelson, who is sidelined
indefinitely after suffering a hairline fracture of his right ankle in
Wednesday’s win over Drexel.