- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 11, 2006

While J.J. Redick inched closer to the NCAA’s career 3-point field goal record, the next potentially great long range bomber at Duke busted out of a slump in the Blue Devils’ 96-88 victory against Maryland at Comcast Center.

Before yesterday, freshman point guard Greg Paulus had gone five games without making a shot from beyond the 3-point arc. But thanks to the anybody-but-him attention Terrapin defenders paid to Redick, Paulus had some wide open looks and took advantage.

“In my mind it had been longer than three weeks,” Paulus said of the five-game stretch. “This was definitely a good chance for me to step out of my slump and hopefully it helps us build.

“When so much attention goes to J.J. and Shelden [Williams], guys like me and Sean [Dockery] and DeMarcus [Nelson] are going to get our opportunities and today they fell for us.”

Paulus calmly knocked down three 3s in the first half and four of five overall to finish with a career-high 16 points. He also had seven assists and always appeared in control running the offense — not an easy task for a freshman floor leader in one of the ACC’s toughest environments.

While Redick still managed 35 points, it was clear from the outset that Maryland’s defensive strategy centered on limiting his open shots. Paulus drilled a 3-pointer and found fellow role player Dockery for one of his two quick 3s as the Blue Devils quieted a raucous Comcast crowd with an 11-4 opening spurt.

When Redick ran off double screens, Maryland defenders were quick to help out but not always quick enough when returning to their man. Paulus exploited that, twice feeding Williams for uncontested dunks in the first 20 minutes.

“Sometimes guys put so much emphasis on J.J. that whoever sets the screen for him is going to be wide open,” Paulus said. “That can be a very tough play for teams to stop.”

On some nights Redick and Williams are enough for the Blue Devils. But it is when players such as Paulus and Dockery, who scored 15 points, burn opposing teams that Duke lives up to its title contender expectations.

Both coach Mike Krzyzewski and his teammates suggested after the game that Paulus sometimes needs a bit of encouragement to fire away from beyond the arc.

“For me it just doesn’t make sense. If someone says, ‘Shoot J.J.,’ I’m like ‘All right.’ I’ll shoot it every time,” Redick said. “It was great for Greg though. It has to do wonders for his confidence.”

Paulus, one of the nation’s most sought-after prep point guards last year, doubled as one of the country’s top quarterback prospects. The two-sport star at Christian Brothers Academy in Syracuse, N.Y., had contemplated playing both sports in college before settling on quarterbacking the Blue Devils basketball team.

“I watched every [college football] game on Saturdays,” Paulus said. “That is one of my favorite things to do in the fall. You know, I missed it then but this is why I came here.”


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