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Duke had no trouble dispatching the UNC Asheville Bulldogs 91-55. Duke once again utilized a very deep bench and got scoring from the usual suspects but also some surprises. The phenomenon that is Jabari Parker led Duke with 21 points and ten rebounds, Parker also had 4 assists but in true freshman style he had 6 turnovers. That isn’t to say Parker wasn’t amazing yet again, but occasionally his lust to be selfless and include his teammates can manifest itself in the occasional errant pass. These are mistakes of commission and not omission and Coach K will take these over the youngster being passive or not trusting in his instincts.
Rodney Hood shook off some early mistakes and had a monster game as well. Hood, who scored 18, is learning slowly but surely to trust in his skills and believe he is the player that the coaches know he is. Where Hood will need to improve is on the defensive end. Hood seemed to click on defense once he got going on the offensive end, and as he ratcheted up the defensive pressure good things started to happen. Hood would end with 2 steals.
The surprise sub of the night would have to be going to freshman Semi Ojeleye early in the game. Semi would not disappoint knocking down a couple of 3 point shots and ended the game with 10 points and 5 rebounds in 14 minutes. Duke would tally a season high 36 points off the bench which if you have followed the Blue Devils over the past few seasons is an unheard of number.
Duke would rebound the ball better in this game although boxing out seemed to be an issue in the first 5-10 minutes of the game. UNC Asheville began the game much quicker to balls than Duke but midway through the first half Duke began to show signs of what Coach K is striving for defensively. The ball pressure on the Asheville guards forced shots late into the shot clock and caused havoc forcing 15 turnovers.
Duke got a good lift of 13 points off the bench from Andre Dawkins, to go along with Semi Ojeleye’s 10. Dawkins went 3 of 6 from 3-point range scoring 13 points and flashing that smile that the Cameron Crazies have been going nuts for this season.
The positives for Duke are 57.4% shooting, 43% from long range and 73.1% shooting rom the free throw line – Duke would have 5 players score in double figures. A positive that isnt necessarily reflected on the stat sheet is the fact that Duke played good defense for probably 90% of this game. Coach K is clearly getting through to this team and they seem excited to play defense, excited for each other when they get stops. Free throw shooting seems to also be an issue that Duke has dealt with, on the reverse side of that, the team seams to be adjusting better to the rule changes regarding hand-checking. Duke was much better at keeping hands and arm-bars off of opponents.
The negatives for Duke have been the same since game one, still turnover prone Duke will need to take better care of the ball. Jabari Parker was responsible for 6 of Dukes 16 turnovers and it will be part of the maturation process for the freshman to make the simple play. Rebounding – while Duke won the rebounding battle in this game it will still need better numbers from Amile Jefferson, although undersized Jefferson will need to increase his rebounding numbers by a couple to take some of the pressure off of Parker in the paint. It will also afford the sophomore more scoring opportunities.