Lots of stories in the first half of this game, firstly the free throw shooting was atrocious. For a Duke team to shoot 6 of 13 from the line is ridiculous. Jabari Parker is the reason why Duke lead this game at the half. Jabari exploded for 19 points in the first half, he dazzled as most knew he would and carried Duke to a 2 point lead.
Well the second half was not a pretty one for Duke, it was clear that Jabari Parker simply ran out of steam for the most part in the latter stages of the game. Who could blame Jabari as he did not get the help from his teammates worthy of the effort he gave in my opinion.
Parker would pour in 27 points in the game before fouling out, he also had 9 boards, 3 steals and an assist. Not to shabby for a freshman, or sophomore, or senior for that matter. Hood would give Duke 11 points and 4 assists but clearly Hood was not happy with his efforts tonight. Sheed had a run in the second half and ended the night with 13 points.
I mentioned Wayne Selden as an x-factor for Kansas and his 15 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists were huge in this win for the Jayhawks. Duke had no answer for size and even got sped up by Kansas which is supposed to be Dukes game. Coach K said in the post game presser, “We are who we are. And I like who we are”. I like who Duke is but with that being said this game does, and I know it’s early, shows that the plan may have a few wrinkles. Some might say Kansas was the more athletic team, even though they were bigger, some might also say Kansas was the quicker team, the smarter team – at least in this game – despite being the younger team. After two games it definitely does cause one to ask some questions with all prep time being equal what the heck happened?. Free throws happened for one. Duke was a woeful 16-28 in the game. That is awful.
Wiggins showed of his ability to dunk the ball and jump very high, as far as actual basketball skills I didnt see too much, generally he was the beneficiary of cherry picking passes when Duke was lazy to get back on defense. He scored over a 6’2 guard (Wiggins is 6’8), tossed up a couple of jumpers that I think actually dented the rim. He did have one nice jump-shot that was actually very pretty. He did have 10 boards though so that’s good I guess.
Duke was also out-rebounded. I don’t think you can solely blame the rebounding edge on size alone. The leading re-bounders for Kansas were Wiggins and Selden both guards. It shows a lack, in my opinion, of technique. Yes Wiggins is a tall guard at 6’8 but he is rail thin, Duke did a poor job of boxing out and did not drive the ball to the basket as much as it needed to in the early stages of the second half. Kansas was more aggressive and thus got the benefit of the whistle. Not unfairly, but the whistle will go to the team that makes a concerted effort to get to the paint. Duke is supposed to the team that runs but did a poor job of that, and running is only going to be effective is your own transition defense is holding up and Duke was not a Duke worthy defensive team tonight, not even close. No one likes the hand checking rule, it makes the game ugly and slow, but Kansas had no problem adjusting to it. Why such a problem for Duke? Same amount of prep time, Kansas didn’t find out this rule change before Duke did. Yet Duke struggled mightily to defend Kansas.
No panic button is being pushed but after every game you have to ask questions in order to know where your team is, a snapshot if you will. If I had to bet money I’d say Duke will start with foul shooting drills, then a heaping helping of DEFENSE, that D in Duke does not stand for anything else. I expected a much better effort there. Very surprised to not see it. Offensively Duke was stagnant. Quinn Cook will need to double those assist numbers to get close to what he needs to have for Duke to win 3 is just not nearly enough. Rodney Hood has to play better, period, he knows his game and he had his moments but they are few and far between. I know he is transitioning from a stand still jump shooter to an all around player but the time is now. He can’t get caught looking around, you have to take it to the game and not let the game take it to you. I believe we will see a different Rodney going forward. Amile put heart into this game where Duke was lacking, he threw himself in the middle of that Kansas interior and came out with 17 points but 2 boards is not going to get it done either, he needs to be at or near a double-double nightly, I know he didn’t get all the minutes he could have but he needs to maximize his time of the floor. For Duke his rebounding is much more needed than his points.