Duke's combination of youth and experience, a lot of the former and a little of the latter, figures to cause more and more trouble for the opposition as the season goes on.
It sure looked formidable Saturday.
Chris Carrawell, the only senior on the Duke roster, scored 24 points as the 16th-ranked Blue Devils rolled to an 81-68 victory over Southern California in the sixth annual Wooden Classic.
"I thought we played really well," said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, whose team lost three underclassmen to the NBA after last season. "We're really pleased, we've got to keep getting better."
Nate James, a junior, had 14 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, and freshmen Mike Dunleavy and Jason Williams each scored 13 points for Duke. Dunleavy, whose father Mike coaches the Portland Trail Blazers, also had five assists and four steals.
"They're playing hard," Krzyzewski said of his young players. "It's like learning under fire. It's just a learning curve we've got to go through."
Williams and Carlos Boozer, who had six points and five rebounds, are freshmen who start, while Dunleavy, who played 31 minutes against USC, plays the sixth man role.
Sam Clancy led the Trojans (2-3) with 19 points and eight rebounds. Brian Scalabrine added 17 points, and Jeff Trepagnier had 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Battier had nine points and seven rebounds, but shut down Scalabrine when it counted the most.
The 6-foot-9, 250-pound Scalabrine scored 13 ponts in the first 11:40 to help USC take a 24-23 lead. He didn't score again until making a pair of meaningless field goals in the final 1:10.
"He made me react to him," Battier said of Scalabrine's early success. "At halftime, I made some adjustments. After that, I made him react to me."
Scalabrine was aware of Battier's reputation as a defensive standout.
"After 10 points or so, I knew he wasn't going to give me any more baskets," Scalabrine said. "He shut me down."
USC coach Henry Bibby said it was all mental.
"He analyzes the game too much," Bibby said of Scalabrine.
As far as the game was concerned, Bibby said, "We didn't have enough guys playing well to match up with them. We didn't work hard enough to get open to get the basketball. We gave up too many points.
"Can you come out and stop people? That's what we have to work on."
The Blue Devils led at halftime 45-38, and extended their advantage to 65-50 before a three-point play by Clancy and a pair of flying dunks by Trepagnier drew the Trojans within eight points with nearly eight minutes left.
However, Dunleavy made back-to-back 3-point shots and assisted on a dunk by Carrawell to make it 73-57 with 6:22 to play, and the Trojans weren't closer than 11 points after that.
"He's just a baby pup," Bibby said of Dunleavy. "He's going to get better each year."
Said Krzyzewski: "Mike Dunleavy hitting some shots was big. Somebody had to pass him the ball. He called for the ball. In his fifth game (at Duke), for him to make plays like that is big."
USC didn't help its cause by missing five straight foul shots while holding the Blue Devils scoreless. By the time the Trojans managed to score again, the outcome was decided.
The Trojans finished 5-of-12 from the foul line, while Duke was 12-of-16.
Duke went ahead for good by scoring seven straight points on dunks by Carlos Boozer and Carrawell sandwiched around a 3-point shot by Dunleavy, making it 30-24 with 6:55 left before halftime.
USC point guard Brandon Granville, who had eight of his nine assists in the first half, picked up his fourth foul one minute into the second half, further crippling the Trojans' hopes.
Freshman reserve Curtis Borchardt scored 15 points to lead No. 9 Stanford past No. 2 Auburn 67-58 in the opening game of the doubleheader at Anaheim Arena honoring Hall of Fame coach John Wooden.
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