Originally posted on Fox Sports Carolinas  |  Last updated 12/21/12
DURHAM, N.C. -- West Point, other service academies and branches of the military are renowned for their mental toughness teaching tactics. Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski attended West Point, where he played for Bob Knight, served five years in the Army and then was the head coach at his alma mater for five seasons. That quadruple dose taught him a great deal about various forms of mental toughness training, which he has masterfully used in building one of the great juggernauts in American sports at Duke. So when people try to explain why Cornell and Elon served more as necessary fodder on consecutive nights this week at Cameron Indoor Stadium, look no further than Krzyzewski and his unique approach at fortifying his teams inner core. Theres no question this was about challenging us, senior forward Ryan Kelly said after the Blue Devils dispatched Elon, 76-54. We started off slowly both nights but got it going. It was on us and we got stronger. So I think it worked. Duke beat Cornell on Wednesday night 88-47 but led just 28-26 with 4:21 left before halftime. But in almost frightening fashion, the Blue Devils outscored the Big Red 60-21 the rest of the way. On Thursday against the Phoenix, Duke found itself tied at 25-25 with 4:20 remaining before the intermission before outscoring the visitors from 30 miles down the road 51-29 over the remainder of the contest for the teams 100th consecutive victory at home over a nonconference foe. I thought we were mentally tired. You could see it in our faces, Krzyzewski said Thursday, also noting that the team had recently come off 11 days of final exams. Its been a heck of a first part of the season. Exams, two games in a row, I thought we really need a break. Thank goodness our defense played so well. Again, 10 assists and 17 turnovers by our opponent. At times, Dukes offense has been fantastic during its 11-0 start and path to a No. 1 national ranking. But more consistent has been the teams defense. On the season, Dukes opponents have handed out 86 assists but turned over the ball 152 times; thats an average of just 8.6 assists per ballgame. Opponents are shooting 38.1 percent from the field, including 29.7 percent from 3-point range, numbers that have been good enough to forge a top overall ranking, which Krzyzewski calls an honor, not an accomplishment. This is the 13th Duke team to start a season 11-0 and the 10th of the Krzyzewski era. This is the 11th in the last 16 seasons the Blue Devils have been ranked No. 1 in the country. The Blue Devils are a remarkable 209-31 as the nations No. 1 team, with 185 of those victories coming with Krzyzewski at the helm. The Hall of Fame coach and his players will get a chance to get away from basketball and the daily layering of history that is part of playing at Duke during a six-day break for Christmas. The Blue Devils were free to go home following Thursdays contest and wont report back to Durham until Dec. 26. Anxious for them to get home, get away from it, and then come back refreshed and ready to charge on, Krzyzewski said. And when they get back, duplicating what was accomplished in the first segment of the season will be a challenge. The Devils have beaten Kentucky, Minnesota, VCU, Louisville, Ohio State, and Temple to comprise one of the top resumes in the nation. Weve been a really good basketball team, thats what I told our guys, Tonight is about looking at the last 11 games, not looking at one game, Krzyzewski said. Are we proud of that? Were very proud of that. What can we do better? We know what we can do better individually and collectively. But the main thing we can do better is get refreshed. Its a long year. Considering the postseason, Duke is basically just a third through its season. Games versus Santa Clara and Davidson remain before the Devils dive into an ACC schedule that includes 18 games for the first time, and as always will carry a giant target on their backs. But given the challenges theyve faced so far, from opponents and their 65-year-old former Army Captain, theres little reason to expect a drop off.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Fitzpatrick, Jets agree to one-year deal

Baker considering removing Papelbon from closer role?

Greg Hardy struggling to find work, reportedly even in CFL

Jets players told not to discuss Ryan Fitzpatrick situation

Brock Lesnar won't be punished by WWE for UFC drug test


Report: Cowboys to be fined up to $250K for suspended players

Data shows NFL-backed youth program that claimed reduced concussions is bogus

Report: Odom’s family working hard to get him to go to rehab

Drug dealers adding Olympic rings to cocaine wrappers in Rio

Report: Cowboys have ‘no interest’ in Freeney, Hardy

Report: Bradham was defending girlfriend during alleged assault

Newspaper uses Michael Jordan ‘crying face’ as image

Equipment manager Blake Griffin punched no longer works for Clippers

Report: Nicks signing one-year deal with Saints

Reds 'picking up the pace' on Jay Bruce trade talks

Robbie Keane rescued on highway after running out of gas

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Tigers play high stakes game of Rock, Paper, Scissors

Tavares dismisses rumors, wants to stay with Islanders

UFC signs a new broadcast deal in the U.K.

Gonzalo Higuain to Juventus: What does this mean for Serie A?

MLB asks Yaisel Puig to stop wearing his Vin Scully cleats

Study finds link on babies named Shea, Mets’ success

College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker