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December 19, 2006DURHAM, N.C. (AP) -- Josh McRoberts had 11 of his 19 points in the second half and sparked the decisive spurt to help No. 6 Duke rally past Kent State 79-72 on Tuesday night.
DeMarcus Nelson scored 18 points for the Blue Devils (10-1), who had to fight off a determined opponent to extend their nonconference home winning streak to a national-best 49 games. Freshman Jon Scheyer added 17 points.
Omni Smith scored a career-high 33 points on 14-for-20 shooting to lead the Golden Flashes (5-4), who shot 51 percent and led by three points midway through the second half before Duke pushed ahead for good.
Haminn Quaintance had 10 points, 10 assists and six rebounds for Kent State.
McRoberts -- a 6-foot-10 sophomore -- led the way for Duke with a terrific all-around effort. He finished with six rebounds, six blocks, four assists and four steals in 36 minutes.
With the score tied at 57, McRoberts put Duke ahead to stay with a hook in the lane over Quaintance at the 8-minute mark. He followed that by rebounding a missed jumper from Mike Scott and taking it the length of the court to draw a foul and hit a free throw.
Then, after connecting on another hook over Quaintance, he leaped for a high alley-oop pass from Nelson and tipped it in with his right hand for a 67-57 lead with five minutes left.
Kent State managed one late push, cutting an 11-point lead to 72-67 and getting a steal that sent Smith on his way for what looked to be a layup. But Greg Paulus managed to strip Smith on the way up, giving the ball back to Duke with a little over a minute left.
Nelson also knocked down a 3-pointer during the 10-0 run.
Scheyer scored 10 points in the opening four minutes to help Duke to a 14-4 lead.
The Blue Devils helped themselves at the free throw line, hitting 23 of 32 compared to a 6-for-11 performance by Kent State.
Still, Duke had trouble defending Kent State all game, allowing Smith to get some wide-open 3-pointers that at one point prompted coach Mike Krzyzewski to call a timeout and scream at his team through the stoppage.
Click here for photos from the game.