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Nov. 20, 2001

LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) — –
Duke’s season-opening victory wasn’t secure until the final buzzer. Win No. 2 for the top-ranked Blue Devils was decided with a 19-0 run over the last five minutes of the first half in the Blue Devils’ 81-56 win over South Carolina.

The defending national champions beat South Carolina Tuesday in the semifinals of the Maui Invitational, less than 24 hours after they escaped with a one-point win over Seton Hall in the opening round.

The Blue Devils, who won this tournament in 1992 and 1997, go for a third title in Wednesday night’s championship game against the winner of the semifinal between UCLA (No. 4 ESPN/USA Today, No. 3 AP) and Ball State. South Carolina plays for third place against the loser of that contest.

The 80-79 win over Seton Hall was still fresh when South Carolina’s Carlos Powell hit a jumper to tie it at 25-25 with 5:14 left in the first half.

Duke held the Gamecocks (1-1) scoreless over their next nine possessions and closed the half with the 19-0 run to make the previous night seem a distant memory.

Mike Dunleavy started the run with a 3-pointer and he added eight more points before it ended just before the halftime buzzer when Nick Horvath took a beautiful pass from Chris Duhon on the break and dunked with authority to make it 44-25.

Dunleavy had 22 of his 24 points in the half on 8-for-12 shooting as he had more field goals than South Carolina (7-for-24) and three less points. Duke shot 53 percent (19-for-36) almost double the 29 percent effort by the Gamecocks.

South Carolina got within 51-36 with 16:57 left as Duke failed to score on three consecutive possessions. Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski angrily slapped his hands three times after the last of those turnovers and screamed “Come on” at his team.

Duhon, who was bothered by severe cramps in the game against Seton Hall and didn’t start against South Carolina, hit a 3-pointer for Duke the next time down. Preseason All-American Jason Williams then stole the ball and went in for a long layup to restore the 20-point lead and let Krzyzewski return to his seat.

Duke was looking like the consensus No. 1 team in the country for the first time this season.

Carlos Boozer added 19 points for Duke, while Williams had six points, seven assists and four steals.

Aaron Lucas had 13 points and Powell added 11 for the Gamecocks, who beat Chaminade 74-61 in the opening round of the tournament sponsored by EA Sports.