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November 18, 2008

Duke's Singler starts season in fine fashion

The Atlantic Coast Conference got off to a fast start last week, going 16-0.

Duke and Clemson led the way, each going 3-0.

The Blue Devils' victories came over Presbyterian (80-49), Georgia Southern (97-54) and Rhode Island (82-79). Rhode Island pushed them to the limit, leading in the final minute and with a shot to go ahead in the final 10 seconds.

That's when Duke's best defender, and the Rivals.com Big Six Conference Player of the Week, got put on Rhode Island guard Jimmy Baron, whose 21 second-half points had kept the Rams afloat.

BIG SIX CONFERENCE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Duke F Kyle Singler

Singler, a 6-foot-8 sophomore, was the last of several defenders Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski ran at Baron, a 6-3 senior and the son of the URI coach of the same name.

"In the second half, Baron had one of the great halves of any kid that's played against us," Krzyzewski said. "It's not like we didn't guard him. He had one shot that had to be 28 or 30 feet and we're right there. We could have switched a little bit better on two of them, but it's not like he's just open.

"The really good thing that we did with him was on the last couple of possessions I put Kyle on him so that we had someone really big, and Kyle didn't foul. He took his vision away and being the really good player he (Baron) is, he was trying to get fouled and Kyle had the discipline (not to foul) and we won."

It was the culmination of a solid start for Singler, a former Rivals.com five-star prospect. He averaged 19.7 points, 7.7. rebounds and 3.0 assists and shot 48.5 percent for the week.

"Baron is a good player and a good shooter," Singler said. "It is kind of deflating when you see him just knock down basket after basket. We knew we were going to score the ball, but it was just a matter of getting stops. We weren't able to get a lot of stops throughout the game, but when we needed to and when it counted, we got stops."

Also considered:

Oklahoma forward Blake Griffin had 24 points on 9-of-11 shooting and 18 rebounds in an 83-54 blowout of American.

Arizona State swingman James Harden had 24 points, 10 assists and three steals in an 80-64 victory over Mississippi Valley State.

Virginia forward Mike Scott had 26 points on 11-of-13 shooting and 18 rebounds in 107-97 victory over VMI.

FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK: Virginia G Sylven Landesberg

Landesberg, a 6-6 Brooklyn native and former four-star prospect, made quite a splash in his debut, setting a new Cavaliers' freshman scoring record.

Landesberg scored 28 points on 10-of-17 shooting in a 107-97 victory over VMI. He added eight rebounds, eight assists and three steals in 36 minutes.

"Sylven is a very talented player," UVa coach Dave Leitao said. "I think the biggest thing with him is that he showed some poise and some wherewithal to make big shots and big plays at big times."

Also considered:

Memphis guard Tyreke Evans had a team-high 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting to go with five rebounds, three assists and two steals in a 90-63 drubbing of Fairfield.

North Carolina forward Tyler Zeller had a team-high 18 points on 5-for-8 shooting in the absence of the injured Tyler Hansbrough to help the Tar Heels subdue Penn, 86-71.

North Carolina forward Ed Davis added 10 points and a team-high 14 rebounds against the Quakers.

NON-BIG SIX PLAYER OF THE WEEK: VMI G Travis Holmes

VMI gave Kentucky a head-scratching non-conference loss similar to last season's early shocker against Gardner-Webb. The Keydets outscored the Wildcats 111-103, with Holmes going for 30 points, seven rebounds, three assists and four steals.

A 6-4 senior, Holmes was 10-of-13 from the floor and 9-of-9 from the free-throw line as VMI stunned the Rupp Arena crowd.

VMI lost at Virginia two nights later, but Holmes had 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting with four rebounds, four assists and three steals. He also made all four of his free throws.

Also considered:

Portland forward Robin Smeulders had 20 points on 7-for-9 shooting and six rebounds in the Pilots' 80-74 upset of Washington.

Creighton guard P'Allen Stinnett had 30 points on 11-of-16 shooting, including three 3-pointers, as the Bluejays beat New Mexico 82-75.

Bob McClellan is the college basketball editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at bmcclellan@rivals.com.



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