Wednesday , Dec , 06 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Duke to entertain Holy Cross

Durham, NC (Sports Network) – The seventh-ranked Duke Blue Devils welcome
the Holy Cross Crusaders to Durham for a non-conference clash.

Holy Cross began the season with five consecutive victories, but the team has
suffered back-to-back defeats since that point. On Saturday, the Crusaders
fell to 2-2 on the road with a 69-53 setback at Dayton, and the other road
loss came against Syracuse last week.

As for Duke, it is 7-1 and tied for seventh in the most recent AP poll
despite the fact that not one senior is on the active roster. The Blue Devils
have won three straight games since suffering their only loss to nationally-
ranked Marquette, and the most recent triumph came on Saturday over Georgetown
by a 61-52 final.

Duke won its only previous meeting with Holy Cross back in 1982, and the Blue
Devils carry a streak of 46 consecutive non-conference home wins into this

Holy Cross actually led Dayton by two points at intermission on Saturday before
allowing the Flyers to connect on 60 percent of their field goal attempts in
the second half. The Crusaders shot 27.3 percent over the final 20 minutes,
crushing any hope they had of scoring a victory. A 29-22 rebounding
disadvantage didn’t help matters, and neither did 15 turnovers. Keith Simmons
led the way in defeat with 15 points, and Torey Thomas checked in with 13
points. Simmons has now been the leading scorer for Holy Cross in four of the
eight games played, and he is averaging 17.5 ppg to go along with 6.0 rpg. As
for Thomas, he is posting 12.4 ppg despite his lackluster 39.7 percent accuracy
from the field. The Crusaders are scoring 65.2 ppg while limiting opponents to
61.8 ppg.

The Blue Devils shot a lowly 28.6 percent from the floor in the first half
against Georgetown on Saturday and trailed by seven points at intermission.
Fortunately, they were able to improve to 56.3 percent shooting in the second
half and hit 15-of-18 free throws over the final 20 minutes en route to the
victory. A 33-28 rebounding advantage over the Hoyas was impressive, especially
considering the size and strength of Georgetown’s frontcourt players. Josh
McRoberts put forth a strong all-around effort for Duke with 15 points, seven
rebounds, six assists and three blocks. Greg Paulus netted 13 points, and
DeMarcus Nelson pitched in 12 points. McRoberts is averaging 11.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg,
4.0 apg and 2.4 blocks per contest, as he is one of the nation’s most versatile
big men.