DUKE SEES RED
High speed, high pressure, low drama.
That’s the style many thought Duke would show this basketball season and it was on display Saturday at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
With former President George H.W. Bush in attendance, the No. 23 Blue Devils forced N.C. State into a season-high 21 turnovers in a 95-60 ACC basketball rout of the Wolfpack.
As they did in a 69-65 win over Virginia last Monday, the Blue Devils (14-4, 3-2 in ACC) substituted liberally to take advantage of their depth. With forward Lennard Freeman unavailable due to a sprained ankle, N.C. State was down to eight scholarship players.
Duke’s up-tempo game, fueled by an effective full-court press, sped the game up to a level N.C. State (11-7, 1-4) couldn’t handle.
“We played so hard today and so unselfishly,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “Our defense was really good to force 21 turnovers. And those turnovers, a lot of them were live turnovers and they turned into high-percentage shots.”
The turnovers were clearly the difference in the game. In the points off turnovers category on the stat sheet, Duke held a 33-2 edge over N.C. State.
“I think the way Mike used their depth and their pressure defense affected our inexperience and our short bench,” Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried said. “I thought that was probably the biggest thing. We turned the ball over too many times. We’ve obviously got to be stronger with the basketball.”
Duke, after starting ACC play with losses in two of its first three games, looked like a team that had found its stride.
Freshman Jabari Parker, who had averaged 10.2 points over his first four ACC games, regained the scoring touch that made him a national player of the year candidate earlier this season.
The 6-8 Parker led Duke with 23 points as he made 7 of 14 shots, including both of his 3-point tries. Parker also contributed seven rebounds and was more of a force on defense with three steals.
He said changing his style to an attacking mode made a difference as he was aggressive on drives to the basket.
“(Attacking) was kind of our plan,” Parker said. “That’s what we shied away from for a couple of games and I think we were a little bit conservative. I think I did a good job preparing this week to just do whatever I needed to do to help the team.”
Duke shot 50 percent for the game while also making 11 of 24 3-pointers (45.8 percent). Rasheed Sulaimon came off the bench to score 13 points while leading Duke with six assists.
Three Duke players, Rodney Hood, Tyler Thornton and Quinn Cook, had three assists each as the Blue Devils amassed 19 assists to just eight turnovers.
“At the beginning of the season what we really worked on was pushing the tempo and pressing and getting a lot of possessions in a game,” said Duke senior guard Andre Dawkins, who scored 11 points. “We kind of started to get back to that. It’s a work in progress right now because we’ve been away from that for so long. But we’ve just got to keep working at it and we’ll keep getting better at it.”
Early in the game, the Blue Devils struggled to rebound against the taller Wolfpack. N.C. State grabbed the game’s first 13 rebounds. But because of the Wolfpack’s turnover troubles, Duke held a 17-16 lead.
But after the first eight minutes of the game, Duke’s interior players got the message about fighting for rebounds. They began grabbing them and Duke took off to lead 37-22 with 5:28 left in the first half.
N.C. State scored six points in a row to briefly cut the Duke lead to single-digits. But the Blue Devils used an 8-2 run, capped by a Tyler Thornton 3-pointer, to lead 45-30.
In the second half, a 7-0 run pushed Duke’s lead to 20 points at 54-34 and the Wolfpack never drew closer than 14 points the rest of the game.
After that poor rebounding start, Duke rather amazingly won the overall rebounding battle 35-32.
“It was because guys were going to the glass without boxing out,” Duke forward Amile Jefferson said of the early rebounding problems. “Coach was intense and we responded. Our guys responded. We started to box out, we started to push the ball, make their guys run and we did a great job.”
|No. 23 DUKE 95, NC STATE 60|
Percentages: FG .481, FT .500.
3-Point Goals: 2-8, .250 (Lee 1-1, Warren 1-5, Barber 0-1, Lewis 0-1).
Team Rebounds: 3.
Blocked Shots: 3 (Vandenberg, Washington, Warren).
Turnovers: 21 (Barber 4, Lee 4, Washington 4, Warren 2, Turner 2, Vandenberg 2, Lewis 2, Anya).
Steals: 3 (Warren, Washington, Barber).
Technical Fouls: None.
Percentages: FG .500, FT .857.
3-Point Goals: 11-24, .458 (Dawkins 3-7, Thornton 2-2, Parker 2-2, Cook 2-6, Sulaimon 1-2, Hood 1-4, Jones 0-1).
Team Rebounds: 4.
Blocked Shots: 0.
Turnovers: 8 (Hood 2, Sulaimon 2, Plumlee, Thornton, Dawkins, Cook).
Steals: 14 (Thornton 4, Hood 3, Parker 3, Jones, Sulaimon, Cook, Dawkins).
Technical Fouls: None.
Officials_Roger Ayers, Jerry Heater, Ray Natili.