Published December 29, 2010
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski moved past longtime rival Dean Smith into second place on the men's all-time wins list Wednesday night when the No. 1 Blue Devils routed North Carolina-Greensboro 108-62.
Krzyzewski posted his 880th career victory. Coach K trails only Bob Knight, who mentored Krzyzewski and coached him at Army on the way to 902 wins. One fan in the stands held a sign that said: "You're next, Bobby."
When the buzzer sounded, Krzyzewski hugged UNC Greensboro coach — and former assistant — Mike Dement before making his way across the court for a television interview. The Hall of Fame coach waved to the Duke fans who helped pack the 23,000-seat Greensboro Coliseum.
Kyle Singler scored 27 points and Nolan Smith had 22 of his season-high 26 points in the first half for the Blue Devils (12-0).
Duke shrugged off an eight-day break and shot a season-best 60.9 percent, scored 42 points off 23 turnovers and hit the 100-point mark for the second time.
The reigning national champions won their 22nd straight, pushing Krzyzewski past the man who coached the Tar Heels for 36 seasons before retiring in 1997 as the winningest coach in Division I history. Knight then passed Smith and retired nearly three years ago.
"I congratulate Mike on this milestone victory," Smith said in a statement issued by North Carolina following the game. "I am sure he would want to share the credit for the wins with all his players and staff. I enjoyed competing against Mike's teams throughout the years I was at UNC. I wish him continued health and personal success."
If the Blue Devils run through the rest of their schedule undefeated, Krzyzewski — who is 880-279 in his 36th season as a head coach — will catch Knight in this same arena in March in the championship game of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament and pass him in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
The Greensboro Coliseum, located roughly an hour's drive from Duke's Durham campus, has become a second home for Krzyzewski and the Blue Devils, who haven't been beaten here since a loss to Maryland in the 2004 ACC title game. They won the league tournament here for the fifth time under Krzyzewski last March before rolling through the NCAA tournament on the way claiming to their fourth national title, and haven't lost since.
Seth Curry scored 15 points, Miles Plumlee and Andre Dawkins added 11 apiece and Ryan Kelly scored 10 for the Blue Devils, who hadn't played since Dec. 20. This was their fourth straight game without freshman point guard Kyrie Irving, who averages a team-best 17.4 points but remains out indefinitely with an injured big toe on his right foot.
They certainly didn't need him against the winless Spartans, who offered little resistance in falling to 0-3 against No. 1 teams in the program's history.
Duke opened the game on a 15-2 run, went up by double figures to stay roughly 6½ minutes in, and outscored UNC Greensboro 22-7 midway through the half to open up a permanent 20-point lead. Singler's jumper in traffic with about 7:15 left made it 39-15 and Smith's fast-break dunk roughly 5 minutes later gave the Blue Devils their largest lead of the half, 49-24.
Duke's 53 first-half points were a season high, and by the break, Smith was two points shy of his season high. He finished three away from the career-best 29 points he scored against Baylor in the South Regional final last March. Smith made it a 30-point game when his layup with 14 minutes left pushed it to 71-40.
Aaron Brackett had 14 points to lead UNC Greensboro (0-12). The Spartans previously fell to top-ranked Duke teams in 1997 and 2005, dropped to 0-9 all-time against the Blue Devils and have just one win against an ACC school.