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March 16, 2006

Williams, Redick lead Duke over Southern

Box score

GREENSBORO, N.C. - Shelden Williams and J.J. Redick were as good as advertised. Their teammates? Well, that's another story altogether.

Duke's dynamic duo combined for all but 12 of their team's points to help the top-seeded Blue Devils overcome a sluggish start in a 70-54 victory over Southern University on Thursday night in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Williams finished with 29 points, 18 rebounds and four blocks, while Redick matched those 29 points and made five 3-pointers. The rest of the team was 2-for-12 from the field, with Josh McRoberts having those two baskets on his way to eight points.

Still, it was enough to help Duke (31-3) advance to play George Washington next in the Atlanta Regional. The Colonials rallied to beat UNC Wilmington 88-85 in overtime.

Chris Alexander had 19 points for the Jaguars (19-13), who gave an inspired effort in trying to become the first No. 16 seed to win in the first round. They led twice in the first half and trailed only 40-37 with 16 1/2 minutes remaining in the game.

Williams started a 16-4 run with deft baby hook in the paint, and Redick added a couple of 3s. Just like that, the Blue Devils led by 15 points, and Southern never got closer than 11 the rest of the way despite the support of a small, enthusiastic group of fans.

The pep band was a hit, too, as were their cheerleaders. Too bad none of them could help guard Williams and Redick.

The Jaguars tried Jerrid Campbell and Peter Cipriano - plus a variety of zones - on Williams, but nothing slowed down the burly, 6-foot-9 center. He nearly had a double-double in the first half, going to the locker room with 18 points and nine rebounds.

Redick was just as spectacular from outside and now has at least 20 points in four straight games. He also drove past Deforrest Riley-Smith for a three-point play to give Duke a 64-47 lead, then left the game along with Williams with about 2 minutes on the clock.

That's the good news. The Blue Devils finished with 17 turnovers and shot only 43 percent in the second half, hardly the type of effort coach Mike Krzyzewski expected. Maybe it had something to do with the opponent.

Last season, Duke narrowly beat 16th-seeded Delaware State in the first round, a result that was reminiscent of their seven-point victory over Mississippi Valley State in 1986. Like Southern, those are a part of the historically black college and university system.

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