Sunday , Dec , 31 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Duke goes in search of eighth straight win

Durham, NC (Sports Network) – The fifth-ranked Duke Blue Devils have been
better than expected this season, and they will attempt to extend their
nation-leading non-conference home winning streak to 50 games as they host
the San Jose State Spartans this afternoon.

It is hard to imagine San Jose State entering this game with any confidence,
as the club owns a 1-10 overall record that includes an 0-7 mark in true
road games. The last four outings have resulted in defeat, including a
104-77 thrashing at Cal State Fullerton last Saturday. The Spartans have only
held two opponents to fewer than 70 points this season, so shaky defense can
be blamed for the struggles.

Duke enters this game with an entirely different state of mind, as the club
owns an 11-1 record and has posted seven consecutive victories since suffering
its only loss to Marquette. The Blue Devils have been idle since December
21st when they posted a 61-54 decision over Gonzaga, and they have yet to
play a true road game.

This game marks the first-ever meeting between San Jose State and Duke on the

San Jose State is scoring a mere 64.3 ppg on 38.7 percent shooting from the
floor, including 29.8 percent from three-point range. Defensively, the club
is permitting opponents to post 76.6 ppg. Menelik Barbary is the leading
scorer for the Spartans, but his 12.4 ppg won’t scare many opponents. Tim
Pierce adds 11.4 ppg to the mix, but his 32.4 percent shooting from the floor
is simply horrendous. Barbary was impressive in defeat against Cal State
Fullerton, as he tallied 24 points and nine rebounds off the bench while
shooting 10-of-14 from the floor. Devonte Thomas pitched in 18 points, while
Carlton Spencer posted 12 points and seven assists in his first appearance of
the season. On a down note, Spencer did shoot 4-of-15 from the field,
including 0-of-6 from three-point range. San Jose State turned the ball over
23 times, crushing any hope the club had of winning the game.

Duke can not be considered an explosive offensive team anymore, as the squad
is only scoring a modest 68.5 ppg, despite shooting a stellar 42.9 percent
from three-point range. Fortunately, the Blue Devils have thrived at the
defensive end, limiting opponents to 53.5 ppg on 38.4 percent efficiency from
the field. DeMarcus Nelson is the leading scorer for Duke with 14.7 ppg on
52.7 percent shooting from the floor, including 44.9 percent from behind the
arc. Josh McRoberts adds 11.7 ppg and 7.1 rpg to the mix, and Jon Scheyer is
posting 11.1 ppg. In the win over Gonzaga last time out, Greg Paulus poured in
20 points to pace the Blue Devils. Scheyer finished that tilt with 14 points,
and McRoberts pitched in 11 points. Duke committed a season-low six turnovers
and limited the Bulldogs to 54 points, almost 28 points below their season
averaging heading into the contest.