Blue Devils root for IU to win it

Blue Devils root for IU to win it

By Andy Graham, H-T Sports Writer

March 21, 1987

CINCINNATI – Duke’s Blue Devils, in defeat, became Indiana fans.

“Indiana’s my team to win it all now,” said Duke forward Billy King after the Blue Devils fell to IU, 88-82, Friday night in Midwest Regional play at the Riverfront Coliseum. “I’ll be rooting for them all the way.”

King’s sentiments were shared by his teammates.

“I wish Indiana all the luck now,” said sophomore Danny Ferry, who did his best to derail IU with 20 points (including 4 of 4 firing from 3-point land), seven rebounds and four assists. “I definitely think they are a major contender for the title, which is one thing that makes our loss a bit easier to take.

“Plus, I like them because they make themselves national contenders in the right way. They run a very honest, classy program. They have great people and we have all the respect in the world for them.”

Duke senior Tommy Amaker, who scored a game-high 23 points including 3 for 3 in 3-pointers) in his final appearance for the Devils, said, “Indiana’s got great character as a team. They showed that, because we made a lot of runs at them, but they responded every time.

“They just did a tremendous job. I just say ‘Congratulations and all the luck.'”

Ferry cited IU’s experience as one factor in the Hoosiers’ ability to rise to challenges.

“The fact that they have experienced players is a big reason they’re in the NCAA final eight,” Ferry said. “They have a lot of intangibles working for them. They’re not just a great team on paper. You have to give them credit for knowing how to make the plays they need to make.”

King agreed and also noted IU’s 38-28 rebounding edge and the 27-8 IU run that superceded the 29-21 lead Duke built in the innitial 10 minutes of the first half.

“With a good experienced cllub ahead of you, it’s tough to play catch up because they know how to stay patient and control the tempo,” King said. “I really think they won the game, though, with their rebounding.”

Ferry joined in: “Yeah, I think they were up on us something like 2-1 in rebounds at halftime (actually, 18-10). “They play in a good, tough, physical conference and they know how to hit the boards.

“Getting offensive boards like they did can really break another team’s back. We had a good first 10 minutes and then lapsed, seeming like we were satisfied, and they just began killing us on the boards and in about every other respect.

“We just didn’t put a complete game together which, again, is something I attribute to our relative lack of experience as opposed to theirs.”

Amaker added that the Hoosiers can count considerable talent among their other attributes.”

“I don’t know that Indiana has the most talent, but they’ve sure got their share,” Amaker said. “Both of our teams pride themselves on their defense, but I think Indiana’s offensive punch is underrated.

“You can’t just concentrate on Steve Alford or Daryl Thomas. They’ve got quick guys, big guys. They can come at you in a lot of ways and they know what they’re doing out there.”

King and Amaker shared much of the defensive duties on Alford, who was the final Hoosier starter to attain double-figure scoring but who finished with 18 points.

“Coach (Mike) Krzyzewski told me that I’d be guarding Alford, but really Tommy Amaker and I shared that assignment and e got good help off our bench from Quin Snyder,” King said. “I was to guard Alford whenever (Keith) Smart was bringing the ball up.

“But, Alford and Smart exchanged bring the ball up quite a bit, so Tommy and I did a lot of switching, with me takling Smart if he ended p the off guard. They both impressed me and their whole club did. Their whole starting five and then guys like Eyl and Hillman coming off the bench. They all know how to play and they can all hurt you.”

That, said Ferry, is another Indiana key.

“We knew coming in that all their starters were averaging in double figures, so you know you can’t just concentrate on one or two guys,” Ferry said. “The other guys being threats make it easier on Alford jus as Alford being such a great threat makes it easier on his teammates.

“Let’s just say they are a very tough tea to defend against. I thought we played good defense early and we’re intense defensively through the whole second half. But, they matched our intensity and, at the end, our shots didn’t drop and they made the plays.”

Duke junior guard Rod Strickland also admired IU’s stretch-drive performance, saying, “They dug down deep and waned it and won it,” Strickland said. “You just have to credit them. We played a great cllub tonight. Great players.

“We had a great season (finishing 24-9, rebuilding successfully after their NCAA runner-up finish last year). Now, we just wish them the best of luck.”

King summed up by discussing the mutual-respect garnered by the connectcion of Krzyzewski and IU coach Bob Knight, whom Krzyzewski played for at Army and later assisted at IU.

“Our teams are similar in that nothing but your best effort is cceptable and that defense comes first,” King said. “From within that basic approach, we have some differences. But with both Coach Krzyzewski and Coach Knight, every proceeds from that initial basis.

“We’re disappointed right now, but we lost to a great team that we respect and, after a couple of days, we’ll remember that we had a great year, one that exceeded some expectations.

“As for Indiana, as I said, I think they are the team to beat because they know how to play the defense.”