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March 18, 2006Any questions about Duke's ability to match athletes with eight seed George Washington should be answered now.
Shelden Williams and Josh McRoberts combined for 31 points and 20 rebounds and the Blue Devils ended the Colonials' season with a 74-61 victory at Greensboro Coliseum.
Duke built a solid working margin in the first half, but had its lead whittled to 37-26 at halftime when George Washington ended the half on a small 6-1 spurt.
The second half lead got as big as 18 points when J.J. Redick scored two of his 20 points on a backdoor assist from McRoberts with 16:00 remaining, but the Colonials kept themselves within striking distance by responding with a quick 9-0 spurt.
Duke's seniors refused to let this lead get away though. Sean Dockery made a free throw and Redick followed that up with a clutch three pointer to once again put George Washington at comfortable distance away.
The Colonials' ability to pressure the ball 94 feet was thought to have been something that could potentially bother Greg Paulus and the rest of the Duke offense, but the freshman kept his cool by turning in a 10 point, six assist performance and only turned the ball over three times.
George Washington only tallied eight steals on the afternoon, a couple of thefts below its season average while Duke turned the ball over just 13 times overall.
Duke also held its own on the boards after a slow start. George Washington pounded the Blue Devils in the opening minutes of the game but Duke battled the Colonials to a draw the rest of the way, ultimately losing the board battle 40-33 for the game.
Redick's 20 points paced Duke in the scoring column, but the balance in the box score is what made the difference.
After putting six players in double figures in its opening round win over UNC-Wilmington, George Washington only had three players reach 10 points against Duke.
Pops Mensah-Bonsu wasn't one of them, as Duke's interior defense, which blocked six shots, held the GW star to just four points in only 13 minutes of play.
Omar Williams led GW with a 16 point, 13 rebound double-double performance.
Duke awaits the winner of Texas A&M/LSU in the Sweet 16, which will tipoff at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta Thursday night.