We had Bryan and Kimberly Willows over tonight for dinner. They’re the new couple for our small group who called last week to ask us about it. It was a nice dinner. We had chicken parm and salad and they brought homemade cheesecake for dessert. I think they’ll be a good fit with the group, as they’re pretty much at the same stage in life and the same age as most of the rest of us. Bryan flies Ospreys for the Marines, which is pretty cool, except that he’ll probably be deployed sometime in the upcoming year.

After they left Amanda and I watched Duke play Temple. The game started at 7:00 and Bryan and Kimberly got here at about 7:15, so I had watched the beginning of it then watched the rest on DVR afterwards. Amanda didn’t watch the whole thing. Duke won 74-64, but they did something they did a lot last year and have been doing the past three games this year. They start off slow, build up a decent lead to end the half, lose most of the lead in the second half and then make you nervous towards the end. It’s really discomforting, especially since they weren’t playing that way earlier in the season. Overall, it was a win but not nearly as nice of one as it should have been. The cold snap in the second half had Duke not making a basket for something like eight minutes. You can’t miss every shot you take for almost a quarter of a game and win against heavier competition. Good thing they play good defense.

All that being said, as I mentioned before Brian Zoubek was out with an injured foot, although it’s not as bad as previously reported, and he’s expected to be back within one to three weeks. Lance Thomas was sick and didn’t play, so when I heard that at the beginning of the game I was a bit worried because Duke wouldn’t have anybody playing over 6’8″. Dave McClure stepped up though and had a pretty good defensive game. The team also shot their free throws better, making something like 80%. Two of the misses came when Nolan Smith was shooting after a rough intentional foul. He looked a little rattled. Greg Paulus made all eight of his free throws and DeMarcus Nelson showed a vast improvement, hitting six of seven. Four guys were in double digits, and Kyle Singler was just one basket away from that.

While Duke was playing Temple, Carolina was playing UNC-Asheville.  They won, of course, but UNC-Asheville has a 7’7″ center named Kenny George.  ESPN showed some highlights of him during Duke’s halftime, and it looked like he was just swatting away baskets left and right.  When he got the ball all he needed to do was give a little hop and the ball was dunked.

Zach Dotsey