W. Michigan-Duke Preview
By ALAN FERGUSON
(AP) -- Duke has gotten plenty of time to recover from its hectic early schedule. Now it will try to use that rest to its advantage by building some momentum heading into conference play.
One way for the seventh-ranked Blue Devils to do that is by matching their second-longest home win streak in program history Friday night with a victory against Western Michigan.
Duke (10-1) will have had 10 days off before facing the Broncos and playing only its second game since Dec. 10. The Blue Devils were probably looking forward to that easier slate after playing six of their first 10 contests away from Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Over that span, Duke played twice at Madison Square Garden, flew to Hawaii for the Maui Invitational in November and suffered its only loss of the season at Ohio State on Nov. 29. The Blue Devils also had to deal with the additional attention from coach Mike Krzyzewski's push toward the Division I wins record, which he achieved Nov. 15 with a 74-69 victory against Michigan State in New York.
"What this break does is give us time to clean the plate and get back to what we're doing," Krzyzewski said. "I'm proud of what our guys have done. There's been a lot going on for a young team."
The Blue Devils showed little rust after getting eight days off earlier this month, topping UNC Greensboro 90-63 on Dec. 19. That win opened a three-game homestand that ends Sunday against Penn.
Duke then travels to Temple on Jan. 4 before opening ACC play at Georgia Tech three days later.
First, the Blue Devils will try to earn their 42nd consecutive home victory, which would leave them four shy of matching their longest streak set from Jan. 13, 1997-Feb. 9, 2000.
Duke, also seeking its 92nd straight non-conference home win, has a good chance to extend that NCAA-best streak against Western Michigan (5-7). The Broncos have dropped their past six games to ranked foes by an average of 17.5 points and lost 78-58 to then-No. 19 Gonzaga on Nov. 26.
That defeat was part of an 0-6 start for a team favored to win the MAC's West Division, but Western Michigan has recovered to win four straight and five of six.
Freshman guard Austin Richie had a season-high 22 points in his team's best scoring performance of the season, a 91-76 victory at Oakland last Friday. Leading scorer Mike Douglas (13.0 ppg) added 19 points and six assists in coach Steve Hawkins' 150th win at the school.
Western Michigan is 6-0 all-time against current ACC teams, but five of those wins are against Virginia Tech. The Broncos have never faced Duke, which is seeking its 15th consecutive win in December.
Updated December 29, 2011