Parker, Dawkins lead Duke in rout of Eastern Michigan
Eastern Michigan came into Cameron Indoor Stadium owning a stifling 36.7 field goal percentage defense, but never muscled Duke into a danger zone. The slightly rusty but No. 9-ranked Blue Devils blasted the Eagles 82-59 Saturday, relying heavily on a talent-laden bench.
“We knew they played zone so we were going to get open looks on offense,” said Duke guard Andre Dawkins, who banged in 20 points.
Dawkins’ six field goals were all 3-pointers. Duke outscored the Eagles 30-12 in 3-point shots and 24-14 in free throws.
“The zone is something that’s new to me. Their zone was pretty good for preventing us from scoring from outside, but we found ways to score on the inside (despite EMU’s towering 7-foot center Da’Shonte Riley),” said Duke freshman forward Jabari Parker, who led all scorers with 23 points.
Hot-handed guard Mike Talley scored 20 points to lead the Eagles.
“Eastern Michigan is really a very good basketball team. They’ve played a tough schedule and they’re an older team,” said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.
“They played the zone the whole time and they’re real wide,” which poses challenges for an offense, he said.
Eastern Michigan’s speedy wings, 6-8 Glenn Bryant and 6-7 Karrington Ward, constantly moved up and brought so much pressure that Duke’s ball handlers mistook their presence for the corners instead of where the Duke players actually were waiting futilely in open corners.
“We weren’t hitting the corners and I was getting frustrated,” Krzyzewski said, but Duke made adjustments in the second half to temper that weakness and pump up the scoring volume. The Blue Devils led just 37-27 at the half, but widened the lead to as many as 30 points with 1:57 left in the game.
Eastern Michigan “had a chance to beat UMass. They probably should have beaten Purdue. Kentucky pulled away at Kentucky right at the end. So we were concerned about them (with) a day and a half of preparation,” Krzyzewski said.
The only other time the two teams met was in Indianapolis during the 1996 NCAA Regional Tournament, when the Eagles shocked Duke with a 75-60 first round upset win. Saturday’s win extended Duke’s NCAA record to 109 consecutive home games without a loss to a nonconference opponent.
“We didn’t shoot a really good percentage, especially me and other guys, but I think defense transitioned to offense and we were able to score,” Parker said. “I think we were kind of rusty coming in off of break, but we pulled through.”
It was Parker who got the Blue Devils pumped to start the game when he slammed consecutive dunks at 19:19 and 18:57 of the first period to put Duke up 4-3, then drained a 3-pointer at 17:34 to regain a 7-6 lead.
“I wouldn’t have got there without (junior guard) Quinn (Cook),” Parker said. “He got those two steals and he got it in transition” to earn tightly coordinated passing assists on Parker’s soaring, fan-stirring dunks.
“We wanted to get up on them, especially since we were playing at home of course. We wanted the game to go our way so I think that those two plays at the beginning really got us going,” Parker said.
It was his 10th time in 12 games scoring 20 or more points. Coming into the game his 22.1 points per game led all ACC freshman scorers.
Duke shot 40 percent from the floor, a tad better than Eastern Michigan’s defensive average but well below the Blue Devils’ 51 percent average, which was tops in the ACC and fifth best nationally.
“But we really wanted to focus on stopping them. They have a really good perimeter, starters and subs. That was a pretty big task for us to stop them and I think we did a pretty good job,” Dawkins said.
With ACC play coming up starting Jan. 4 at Notre Dame, Parker said the team needs to work on defense.
“I think another opponent of ours plays a lot of zone, and that’s what the scouting report coming into the game says, that we can’t really play on the perimeter, so playing against a zone will really help us” prepare for that style of defense, he said.
Another defensive essential will be working on “preventing them from getting second chance opportunities at first, and then putting pressure on the basketball,” and throwing up tougher obstacles to high-percentage shooting guards, Parker said.
Krzyzewski said the Blue Devils’ bench play stood out as a high point on Saturday, singling out Dawkins, sophomore guard Rasheed Sulaimon, who had 13 points, and sophomore forward Amile Jefferson.
“Amile had 14 rebounds in 21 minutes so he was going after the ball,” Krzyzewski said. “The three of them combined for like 40 points and 19 rebounds, and we needed that” because sophomore forward Rodney Hood fell ill.
“He threw up right before the game and at halftime he was getting an IV, and he still got eight points and eight rebounds. But he wasn’t the same guy,” Krzyzewski said.
Dawkins, who took a basketball sabbatical during the 2012-13 season while grieving the loss of his sister in a vehicle wreck early in his career, said he is regaining his confidence on the court.
“It’s day by day. You’ve got to keep getting better. It’s a little bit different coming off not playing for a year and trying to play at this level,” Dawkins said. “I took some time and I think I’m getting there, but it’s still a process.”
|No. 9 DUKE 82, E. MICHIGAN 59|
Percentages: FG .375, FT .565.
3-Point Goals: 4-18, .222 (Sims 1-3, Harrison 1-3, Talley 1-4, Ward 1-5, Lee 0-1, Combs 0-2).
Team Rebounds: 5.
Blocked Shots: 5 (Bryant 3, Ward, Harrison).
Turnovers: 15 (Hughley 3, Combs 3, Talley 2, Lee 2, Ward, Bryant, Harrison, Sims, Ajayi).
Steals: 11 (Sims 3, Harrison 2, Ward 2, Hughley, Talley, Bryant, Riley).
Technical Fouls: None.
Percentages: FG .400, FT .750.
3-Point Goals: 10-29, .345 (Dawkins 6-10, Hood 2-7, Parker 1-3, Cook 1-7, Jones 0-2).
Team Rebounds: 3.
Blocked Shots: 5 (Dawkins 2, Parker 2, Jefferson).
Turnovers: 14 (Thornton 3, Cook 2, Jefferson 2, Hairston 2, Parker, Sulaimon, Ojeleye, Plumlee).
Steals: 9 (Cook 5, Sulaimon 2, Dawkins 2).
Technical Fouls: Hood.
Officials_Brian Dorsey, Raymond Styons, Sean Casady.