Duke's young stars shine bright, rout Davidson in opener
Fourth-ranked Duke opened the regular season with a dominating 111-77 win over the Davidson Wildcats at Cameron Indoor Stadium Friday night.
Duke’s offense was powered by double-digit performances from five different players led by Rodney Hood (22 points, 9 rebounds) and Jabari Parker (22 points, 6 rebounds), while Quinn Cook (21 points, 8 assists), Rasheed Sulaimon (20 points, 7 rebounds), and Amile Jefferson (10 points) added the finishing touches to a 70-percent shooting performance from the field.
Facing a Davidson squad led by Southern Conference preseason Player of the Year De’Mon Brooks (24 points, 7 rebounds), Duke’s defense had to set up wide in order to deal with the Wildcats four-out, one-in offense that allowed them to score points early on, including the first three-pointer of the game.
While trailing the Blue Devils by only four points after the first six minutes, Davidson couldn’t regroup quickly enough to provide an answer for Hood and his teammates as they initiated a 21-6 run that extended their lead to 19 at 38-19 with 7:44 to play in the first half.
“What you saw tonight was a display of offensive firepower,” Davidson coach Bob McKillop said.
“Of course with Duke, they’ll just make it a one-side-of-the-court type game. They certainly had the same kind of tenacity on defense that they always have. Their ability to do things with the dribble and off the catch at as many spots as they did, it’s pretty darn impressive.”
Duke finished the game shooting 62 percent beyond the arc, and left the Wildcats and their coach only wondering how they could defend so many different ball handlers and shooters from all parts of the floor.
“When you have that many guys being able to do it, it’s a matchup nightmare, which it was for us tonight.” McKillop concluded.
In scoring more than a hundred points during a regular-season game, the performance by his team was one that Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski was impressed and pleased with.
“We were really good tonight,” Krzyaewski said.
“We just had great energy, the place had great energy. We shared the ball really well. We didn’t turn it over and we put a lot of pressure on their outside shooting.”
It was a game that highlighted impressive play from every player on the floor.
As Parker and Hood continued to impress the Cameron faithful with their play at both ends of the court, it was Sulaimon’s entrance into the game at the 15:40 mark during the first half that brought out a tremendous cheer from the crowd.
After missing Duke’s preseason game against Drury due to illness, his return to the court provided a boost to the team’s play for the rest of the game.
“Rasheed had a great week of practice,” Krzyzewski said.
“He’s an explosive player, a really good player. We should expect him to play at the level that he played tonight. That was a big pick-me-up for us.”
Leading 59-39 at the half, the Blue Devils experienced only a subtle slowdown as Davidson managed to get some of its offensive motion to produce points.
Leading 77-60 by the under-12 media timeout, Krzyzewski regrouped his team to up its defensive intensity level, and as a result kickstarted an offensive surge that vaulted them to finish the game in impressive fashion.
“They play hard, they got to within 17 there and hit two straight threes in the second half and I thought our guys responded with four of the best minutes we played to actually then go up about 23,24,” Krzyezewski said.
“In the last 10 minutes, they didn’t hit and we hit.”
From that point on, the Blue Devils impressed the sold out crowd with more offense, including dunks from Parker and Jefferson, whose throwdown added the final exclamation point to the game’s final score with under two minutes remaining to play.
“Today it was about Duke,” Jefferson said.
“We played as a unit tonight. Duke won this game. It wasn’t just one player or two players. All our guys came in and played with amazing energy.”
|No. 4 DUKE 111, DAVIDSON 77|
Percentages: FG .419, FT .880.
3-Point Goals: 3-21, .143 (Kalinoski 1-4, Gibbs 1-5, Sullivan 1-8, Czerapowicz 0-1, Aase 0-1, Droney 0-2).
Team Rebounds: 1.
Blocked Shots: 0.
Turnovers: 10 (Brooks 3, Sullivan 3, Czerapowicz 2, Barham, Kalinoski).
Steals: 2 (Brooks, Droney).
Technical Fouls: None.
Percentages: FG .704, FT .688.
3-Point Goals: 13-21, .619 (Parker 3-3, Sulaimon 3-4, Cook 3-5, Hood 2-2, Murphy 1-1, Thornton 1-2, Ojeleye 0-1, Hairston 0-1, Jones 0-2).
Team Rebounds: 0.
Blocked Shots: 6 (Hood 2, Cook, Parker, Thornton, Plumlee).
Turnovers: 4 (Hood 2, Ojeleye, Parker).
Steals: 7 (Jones 3, Sulaimon, Ojeleye, Hood, Jefferson).
Technical Fouls: None.
Officials—Karl Hess, Joe Lindsay, Jerry Heater.