It is rare to hear the name of Duke's J.J. Redick without teammate Shelden Williams — a fellow preseason All-American — being...
NEW YORK — It is rare to hear the name of Duke’s J.J. Redick without teammate Shelden Williams — a fellow preseason All-American — being mentioned.
But for the second half of the championship game of the NIT Season Tip-Off on Friday night, Williams was a solo star — and it meant a title for the top-ranked Blue Devils and a most-valuable-player trophy for the senior center.
Williams matched his career high with 30 points, including the winning tip-in with 32 seconds left, to give Duke a 70-67 victory over No. 11 Memphis.
At halftime, when Duke held a 42-41 lead, Redick had 15 points, one more than Williams. Redick, a returning All-American, didn’t score in the second half. Williams took over.
“We’re a team, me and him,” Williams said of the senior guard. “We take the weight and onus on our backs every game. If he’s not doing something, I’ll take it up for him and I know he’ll be there whenever I need him.”
But the Blue Devils (5-0) didn’t wrap up their third title in the tournament at Madison Square Garden on Williams’ eighth rebound of the game, when he tipped in a missed drive by Sean Dockery.
Duke’s Lee Melchionni was fouled after grabbing the rebound of a miss by Memphis’ Darius Washington Jr., but he missed two free throws with 11 seconds left. Dockery got the rebound of the second miss, but he didn’t make the first of his two free throws. He made the second for a 70-67 lead, and Memphis freshman Shawne Williams hit the rim with a three-point attempt at the buzzer and Duke had the title to go with the ones from 1985 and 2000.
Those offensive rebounds were the kind of plays Memphis coach John Calipari said were the difference.
“The two plays that cost us the game, they weren’t anything with skill or anything else,” Calipari said. “They missed a layup and they offensive rebounded, simply effort. They missed two free throws and they offensive rebounded. That was the ballgame.”
Shawne Williams finished with 15 points.
At No. 7 Kentucky 81, Liberty 51
Junior forward Bobby Perry, making his second start, scored a career-high 22 points to lead the Wildcats (4-1) over the Flames (1-2). Rajon Rondo added 13 points, nine assists and seven rebounds for Kentucky.
Liberty’s Larry Blair scored 26 points.
No. 10 Boston College 87, Drake 84
Jared Dudley scored a game-high 23 points, making 11 of 12 from the free-throw line, to carry the Eagles (4-0) past the Bulldogs (2-1) in the third round of the Las Vegas Holiday Invitational.
BC, behind most of the game, rallied with a 10-0 run after trailing 72-68 with 3:51 left.
Tyrese Rice had 22 points for the Eagles.
At No. 14 Florida 74, Florida St. 66
Taurean Green scored 15 points, all from the free-throw line, and the Gators (5-0) overcame a 17-point deficit to defeat the Seminoles (2-1).
Al Horford added 14 points and nine rebounds for Florida.
Florida State’s top two players, Al Thornton and Alexander Johnson, were in foul trouble for much of the game.
No. 15 Illinois 55, Wichita St. 54
Warren Carter’s layup with 1.3 seconds left lifted the Illini (4-0) over the Shockers (3-1) in the semifinals of the South Padre Island Invitational in Texas. Illinois advanced to today’s championship game against Rutgers.
Wichita State’s Karon Bradley made a shot from about midcourt after Carter’s basket, but officials ruled Bradley released the ball after time expired.
Paul Miller scored 18 points for the Shockers.
At No. 17 Syracuse 96, Siena 77
Gerry McNamara snapped out of his shooting slump, making six three-pointers and scoring a season-high 22 points to help the Orange (4-2) beat the Saints (0-2).
Siena reserve Antoine Jordan scored 29 points.
At No. 24 Wake Forest 91,
Appalachian St. 78
Trent Strickland scored a career-high 25 points to lead the Demon Deacons (5-1) past the Mountaineers (2-1).
Wake Forest has won its last 20 home games.