EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP)—There was no doubt about the latest No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup.
There was no doubt who the top players were, either.
J.J. Redick had career highs of 41 points and nine 3-pointers and Shelden Williams added 23 points as No. 1 Duke beat No. 2 Texas 97-66 on Saturday, the third-biggest margin in a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup.
“J.J. is a special player, as good as they come,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said of the returning All-America. “I don’t think Shelden is far behind. This was a really good team performance.”
The Blue Devils (9-0) used some impressive defense to pull away early in the second half, holding Texas (8-1) without a field goal for a span of 8:25. In that time, Duke went on a 21-3 run and all that was left for the sellout crowd of 19,579 was to cheer for Duke and chant Redick’s name.
“I really don’t relish that,” the senior said of the chanting. “I’m more about people cheering for Duke, not for me. But it was a great atmosphere here.”
Sean Dockery, the other senior guard on Duke, was the game-changing player with his defense. He harassed Texas’ Daniel Gibson as soon as he crossed midcourt, and the Longhorns never got into their offense. The Blue Devils had 21 points off 16 turnovers.
“That was Sean’s man the whole game,” Krzyzewski said. “He didn’t let Gibson have a great game. That was such a gutty performance.”
And it was one Dockery was ready for.
“That’s what I do best, get after people,” Dockery said. “I kept turning their guards and got after Gibson. I think he got frustrated a little and that helped us. I was real excited to play this team. I keep a picture of him (Gibson) on my wall to remind me that I was facing him. I was looking forward to this game for a long time.”
Redick finished 9-for-16 on 3-pointers, bettering the eight he had against Florida State last season. His previous best for points was 38 against Wake Forest last season.
One of the biggest ovations he got from the pro-Duke crowd was when he drew a charging foul on P.J. Tucker. It happened with 9:52 to play, when Redick already had 36 points and the Blue Devils were up by 25.
“Before the game, one of the ball boys asked me how many points did I think I would score today and I told him, `I honestly don’t know,”’ he said. “I never thought I’d get a career high. I came out in the warmups and the rims were nice and the nets were good. So I had a good feeling.”
Duke was expected to have trouble rebounding with the Longhorns, but the Blue Devils finished with a 31-30 advantage on the boards. Williams had six rebounds and five blocked shots. Dockery had seven points, seven rebounds and four assists.
LaMarcus Aldridge led Texas with 21 points, and Tucker and Kenton Paulino each had 14.
“J.J. was terrific,” Texas coach Rick Barnes said. “He got comfortable and whether we allowed him to or not, he got going and they understand to get the ball in his hands.”
The biggest margin in meetings of the nation’s top two teams came in 1951, when No. 1 Kentucky beat St. John’s 81-40. In the national semifinals in 1968, No. 2 UCLA beat Houston 101-69. This one wasn’t expected to be a blowout, with Duke a slim favorite in most betting lines.
The win gave Duke a 3-3 record in No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchups. It also improved Duke’s record in Continental Airlines Arena to 17-1, extending its winning streak there to 10 games.
Texas was playing in its first No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup—the Longhorns are now 0-6 against No. 1 teams.
Duke led 45-33 at halftime, but Texas opened the second half with a 9-2 run to get within five. Krzyzewski called a timeout with 17:43 to play and things were never the same.
Redick hit a 3 on the play out of the timeout. Aldridge scored with 17:21 to go to make it 50-44, but that was Texas’s last field goal for what seemed like an eternity.
Duke had a 16-0 run during that 8:25 span, with half of those points coming from Redick, and when Tucker finally got a field goal for the Longhorns, it made it 71-49 with 8:56 to play.
`We came out after the timeout and got a couple buckets, then made a couple stops and we pretty much dominated from there,” Redick said. “Midway through the stretch, that’s when I felt the rhythm. We were all playing with emotion.”
Barnes said emotion was one of the things his team was missing.
“We hit them, they hit back and we didn’t respond,” Barnes said of the opening minutes of the second half. “We were not as aggressive as we needed to be, and allowed them to dictate to us our style of basketball.”
Redick’s 41 points were the most by a Duke player since Danny Ferry had 58 against Miami 17 years ago.
Texas forward Brad Buckman injured his right calf with 4 minutes left in the first half and didn’t return. He will be evaluated when the team returns home.