Thursday, December 30, 2010

Coach K Passes Dean Smith, Sets Sights On Mentor, Chapel Hill In Mourning

#1 DUKE 108, UNCG (Spartans, 18,502 students, Greensboro, NC) 62 – Mike Krzyzewski claimed his 880th career victory Wednesday night in No. 1 Duke’s 108-62 rout of North Carolina-Greensboro. That moved him past rival Dean Smith into second place on the men’s all-time wins list
Now, only one coach has more than Duke’s Hall of Famer—Knight, who coached him at Army on the way to 902 wins. One fan in the stands held a sign that said: “You’re next, Bobby.”

“I don’t want to take any of that too seriously, but rather say, ‘I’m one of the guys who’s won a lot of games,”’ Krzyzewski said. “To share a spotlight with Dean and (Knight), that’s a great honor.”

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. Coach K waved to the Duke fans who helped pack the 23,000-seat Greensboro Coliseum.

“When I walked out and saw it was a full house, and so many Duke fans, I did take a moment to reflect back to when I first got to North Carolina and there weren’t very many Duke shirts,” Krzyzewski said.

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), who 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.

“We knew it was a big deal, but to be honest, we didn’t really know how big the deal really is,” Singler said. “It’s just kind of crazy that you’re going through the time where you’re getting coached by Coach K and I guess you don’t really realize it until it’s all over. Just a really special thing to experience with him.”

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.

To read more in the Raleigh News & Observer, click here.

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