Duke Duo Done
Shelden Williams
Shelden Williams
Posted Mar 24, 2006
Jeff Goodman, National Recruiting Analyst

Shelden Williams did his part, but fellow Duke senior J.J. Redick once again struggled in the Sweet 16. There's no more next time for the Blue Devils All-Americans, though.

J.J. Redick went out with a thud instead of a bang.

Duke's all-time leading scorer connected on just 3-of-18 shots and finished with 11 points as the Blue Devils were knocked out in the Sweet 16 by a far more athletic LSU club that caused Coach K's team all sorts of problems.

Redick was basically invisible for much of the game and Duke was exposed for a team that had little more to offer than Redick and fellow senior Shelden Williams.

Give LSU credit. Garrett Temple chased Redick all over the court and when Redick found a way to create separation, there was always another ridiculously long defender in Redick's face.

"He's the sheriff," LSU big man Glen Davis said of Temple. "He comes in and locks people up."

"That was the best defensive effort we've had and I've seen in my time coaching," Tigers coach John Brady said.

Brady, who doesn't get much credit among the coaching fraternity, came up with a simple game plan that worked.

Get all over Redick and Williams and make guys like freshman Josh McRoberts and Greg Paulus, sophomore DeMarcus Nelson and seniors Sean Dockery and Lee Melchionni beat you.

They couldn't.

The supporting cast missed 22 of its 29 shots from the field, including several wide-open jumpers.

LSU freshman Tyrus Thomas was the "X" factor despite being in foul trouble for much of the game. He's a 6-foot-9 athlete that blocked five shots and altered at least a half-dozen more. When he wasn't in the game, his understudy, freshman Magnum Rolle, performed a carbon copy of Thomas.

Duke managed just 54 points - its lowest output since Jan. 10, 1996.

"I'm not a great athlete and LSU has great athletes," Redick said. "Obviously, I'm disappointed with the way I played."

Despite Redick's sub-par play in the majority of his NCAA tournament games, he still finished his career as the ACC's all-time leading scorer and one of the best scorers in college basketball history.

But in his collegiate season-ending losses, Redick was a combined 13-of-60 (22 percent) from the field and 10-of-38 (26 percent) from 3-point land; paltry numbers for someone who ranks among the best shooters in NCAA history.

A year ago against Michigan State in the Sweet 16, Redick was 4-of-14 from the field and 3-of-9 from long distance. In the Final Four setback to UConn his sophomore season, he was 4-of-12 and again 3-of-9 from downtown. Then there was the Sweet 16 setback to Kansas his freshman year when he was a miserable 2-of-16 and 1-of-11 from 3-point range.

Redick and Williams will have to watch the rest of the tournament on television while LSU moves on.

"My heart goes out to them because they did so much for me," Paulus said. "This team was special. Guys like J.J. and Shelden don't come around often. Four-year guys who are All-Americans. I wanted to do it for them."

The last time the Tigers beat a No. 1 team was on Dec. 21, 2002, when they knocked off Arizona. LSU will have a chance to go to its first Final Four in 20 years.

"It still hasn't hit me that we beat Duke," Davis said. "Not really."

``It hasn’t hit me yet, either,” said Tasmin Mitchell, who was checking one of his 16 text messages upon returning to the locker room after the game.

Williams picked up an early offensive foul after swinging his elbows. Instead of pounding it inside to Davis in hopes of picking up a second foul on the Duke center, Big Baby spent his time on the perimeter trying to showcase his guard skills.

It was Davis and Thomas who both picked up a pair of fouls and spent the last eight-plus minutes watching. Darnell Lazare picked up the slack and the Tigers somehow went into the break with a 31-27 lead.

Redick managed a pair of 3-pointers; one in transition; and finished the first half with 6 points on 2-of-7 shooting.

He came out in the second half just as cold as when he went to the locker room. He missed a pair of shots in the first few minutes and went through a more than 7-minute stretch midway through the second half in which he took just two shots.

"As a team, we didn't shoot the ball very well from the field," Redick said. "I think that had a lot to do with LSU's defense."

Or Michigan State’s defense. Or UConn’s defense. Or Kansas’ defense.

Jeff Goodman is the senior college basketball writer for FOXSports.com. He can be reached at GoodmanonFOX@aol.com.

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