Duke’s Gerald Henderson, back center, blocks a shot by Wisconsin’s Jon Leuer, left, as teammate Kyle Singler assists during the first half of Tuesday’s game. - AP

Duke swats Wisconsin

DURHAM, N.C. — The way Mike Krzyzewski saw it, there weren't any complex plays he could design that would make Duke any taller.

So instead, the more athletic Blue Devils overcame their height disadvantage by simply running super-sized Wisconsin out of Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Greg Paulus scored 13 of his 18 points during the decisive first half to help No. 7 Duke rout No. 20 Wisconsin 82-58 on Tuesday night.

"I told our guys (earlier in the) afternoon, 'Today's a players' game, tonight would be a players' game,'" Krzyzewski said. "They need to be instinctive (because) there wouldn't be much strategy from the bench, and I think our players reacted well to that."

Freshman Taylor King added 15 points and made five 3-pointers in his second straight strong game off the bench. Fellow rookie Kyle Singler had 13 points and six rebounds after being named ACC Rookie of the Week earlier in the day. Singler was named MVP of the EA Sports Maui Invitational last week after leading the Blue Devils to the championship.

Gerald Henderson added 11 points and Jon Scheyer scored 10 for the Blue Devils (7-0), who have won five games in nine days.

Duke entered wondering how it would match up against a Wisconsin front line that featured three players in the rotation who are 6-foot-10 or taller. But its up-tempo offense and swarming, aggressive defense dominated from the opening tip, helping the Blue Devils improve to 9-0 in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge and remain the only team with a perfect record in the annual event.

"We could not play a game where we were going to try to muscle them inside," Krzyzewski said. "Otherwise, we'd get killed. They're so efficient we have to try to make it more of a perimeter game, and we were able to do that a lot. That's why we won."

Duke, which didn't start a player taller than 6-8, held its own on the glass — Wisconsin had just a 42-40 rebounding advantage — forced 18 turnovers, hit 11 3-pointers and scored 17 fast-break points. That helped turn the Blue Devils' first legitimate test at home into a blowout, their NCAA-best 55th straight nonconference home-court victory.

"They're a big team, and they're a very good team, and we needed everybody defensively to rebound, or try to, because they're a little bit bigger than us," Paulus said. "We needed everybody to help out, dig out loose balls, and I thought we did a good job of that tonight."

Jon Leuer and Trevon Hughes scored 12 points apiece and Brian Butch had 11 for Wisconsin (5-1), which was denied its first 6-0 start since 1996-97. Hughes, the team's leading scorer, was held more than seven points below his average on 4-of-13 shooting.

"If anything could go wrong, it did," Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. "The second half seemed pretty even on the (stat) sheet, but when you're playing down in a hole like that, it's almost impossible for our kids to come back."

Duke wasted no time forcing the half-court-oriented Badgers into an up-and-down game, never allowing them to feel comfortable in their first visit to Cameron.

"We pressure the ball — I think that's a really good thing about our team, and with that, we will get caught in some mismatches like that, but I think that can also be an advantage for us, too," Scheyer said. "We knew they were a bigger team, but if we really pressured them, we could get them out of their motion."

The Blue Devils capped a decisive 19-7 first-half run with a spectacular 15-second sequence that had the volume at the always-noisy arena at its loudest decibel level all season.

"You're playing in a game, you see a 10-point difference, a 15-point difference, can you get it back in one possession? No," Ryan said. "But that totally affected the mode of play that we got into when they hit that one run and we were playing from behind. Tough to do."

Henderson got things going when he blocked a layup by Leuer to start a fast break, and Paulus buried a 3-pointer from the top of the key to extend Duke's lead to 22-14.

Then, DeMarcus Nelson stole the ball from Michael Flowers and found Paulus in the left corner. The point guard swished another 3 at the 11:30 mark to give the Blue Devils their first double-figure lead of the game at 25-14, sending the Cameron Crazies into earsplitting delirium.

"We wanted to get off to a quick start, get some steals and some quick shots, and fortunately had some shots go down for us," Paulus said. "Getting those points in bunches, (along) with getting stops on top of that, really helped us get a boost and a lot of confidence."

Singler's 3 from the top of the key 2 minutes later made it 28-16 and put Duke's lead in double figures to stay.

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