Jabari Parker’s production stood out to anyone who wandered by Boston College’s Conte Forum Saturday night.
Duke’s fabulous freshman had his best game of the year in terms of the stat sheet, achieving season-high totals with 29 points and 16 rebounds as the No. 11 Blue Devils routed Boston College 89-68 in ACC basketball.
Such performances have become commonplace for the 6-8 Parker, who has notched eight double-doubles and 14 games with 20 points or more this season.
“Jabari was a monster with the amount of rebounds and his points,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “He was sensational.”
But Krzyzewski lauded Parker most for doing something the Hall of Fame coach had yet to see out of his young star this season.
“He played more like a veteran tonight,” Krzyzewski said. “He was playing so hard and usually we have to sub him because you get tired. This is really the first game that I’ve seen him that he was playing so well he played through tired. It’s something that a really good player has to learn to do is play when you are tired.”
With Duke (19-5, 8-3 in ACC) keeping pace in the league race to remain tied with Pittsburgh (20-4, 8-3) for third place, that aspect of Parker’s game could mean bad news for the rest of Duke’s opponents this season.
Parker’s tenacious play inside — grabbing 11 defensive rebounds and five more on the offensive end — helped Duke gain an overwhelming 37-23 rebounding edge over Boston College (6-17, 2-8).
Plus, for a player who attempted as many as eight 3-pointers in a game earlier this season, Parker has developed patience. For the fourth time in Duke’s last five games, he attempted only one 3-pointer.
Instead, Parker hit 12 of 16 shots inside of the arc against Boston College as he used his quickness to find lanes to the basket.
“He has an extra pop, an extra quickness you don’t see in this league,” Eagles coach Steve Donahue said. “An extra explosiveness. I think the thing tonight was he didn’t settle.”
Parker was particularly effective in the second half, primarily over the first 10 minutes after halftime when the Blue Devils turned a close game into a rout.
Duke led 39-34 at intermission as Parker scored 10 points over the first 20 minutes. But the Blue Devils made a concerted effort to get the ball to Parker inside.
On five of Duke’s first seven possessions after halftime, Parker touched the ball. He also grabbed three defensive rebounds during that stretch.
He scored seven points as Duke turned that five-point halftime lead into a 51-38 advantage with 15:46 left in the game.
“I think our team needed something, a boost,” Parker said. “We were kind of complacent. We had a five-point (lead) at half. It was single digits. What I really wanted to do was just be there for them (his teammates) and then with that spark we got it going.”
Parker scored 14 points over the first nine minutes of the second half and his layup off a nifty feed from senior guard Tyler Thornton put the Blue Devils up 61-44 with 11:07 to play.
“Tyler set up a lot of plays for him,” Duke guard Quinn Cook said. “The first play we ran (of the second half) we got him the ball and Tyler wanted to keep giving it to him. JP was hungry today and he’s the best when he has that mentality.”
That basket off the Thornton assist came as Duke scored 18 consecutive points, holding the Eagles without a point for four minutes and 10 seconds.
The impressive defensive stretch for Duke was a sharp contrast to the first half, when the Eagles shot 52.2 percent to hang close to the Blue Devils. Boston College also made 5 of 10 3-pointers in the first half.
Krzyzewski said a halftime adjustment helped Duke have more success.
“I thought they played well until we played outstanding defense in the second half,” Krzyzewski said. “We made a defensive adjustment of not picking them up as high and switching everything.”
Boston College hit just 40.7 percent of its second half shots, missing 10 of 14 3-point attempts.
Cook, coming off the bench for the second game in a row, turned in a standout performance of his own in support of Parker. Cook hit 5 of 7 3-pointers and scored 21 points.
That was his most points since scoring 22 in a loss at Notre Dame on Jan. 4.
“I got my good shots from my teammates getting in the lane, kicking out and making good passes,” Cook said. “With the extra opportunities on fast breaks, it was a total team effort.”
Duke played a good team game on Saturday night, but there was little doubt that Parker’s play — covering 38 minutes — provided the biggest highlight.
|No. 11 DUKE 89, BOSTON COLLEGE 68|
Percentages: FG .561, FT .700.
3-Point Goals: 11-21, .524 (Cook 5-7, Thornton 2-4, Hood 2-4, Sulaimon 2-4, Parker 0-1, Dawkins 0-1).
Team Rebounds: 4.
Blocked Shots: 5 (Parker 3, Dawkins, Hood).
Turnovers: 8 (Hood 4, Parker 2, Jefferson, Sulaimon).
Steals: 5 (Jefferson 2, Sulaimon, Thornton, Cook).
Technical Fouls: Parker.
Percentages: FG .460, FT .650.
3-Point Goals: 9-24, .375 (Rahon 3-4, Jackson 2-4, Hanlan 2-7, Odio 1-1, Dragicevich 1-5, Heckmann 0-1, Owens 0-2).
Team Rebounds: 1.
Blocked Shots: 1 (Dragicevich).
Turnovers: 9 (Anderson 3, Rahon 2, Hanlan, Heckmann, Caudill, Jackson).
Steals: 3 (Jackson, Rahon, Hanlan).
Technical Fouls: None.
Officials_William Humes, Bryan Kersey, Jeffrey Anderson.