UNC takes out the Blue Devils and Duke helps the Heels do it 74-66. Duke had the game somewhat well in-hand when the bottom dropped out. Duke’s perimeter defense crumbled against UNC and Duke on offense could barely scratch the rim. The only player that seemed to show up on both sides of the floor was junior guard Quinn Cook who would score 17 points and add 2 steals and 2 assists. The most frustrating part to the loss is the disappearance of the most important offensive cogs for Duke in crunch time. Duke got very little from Rodney Hood, Jabari Parker or Rasheed Sulaimon when they were needed.
Duke did very little in the second half once Carolina began to hit shots, Duke aided them with a lack of rebounding effort. It wasn’t hard to notice a lack of hustle once shots went up. UNC players routinely crashed the boards while Duke players were caught watching the ball.
UNC was led by Leslie McDonald who broke out of a recent slump to score 21 points and led all scores. Duke was led by Jabari Parker and Quinn Cook who both scored 17, Rodney Hood would score 16 for Duke in the loss.
A lot of things went wrong for Duke and all were self-inflicted wounds.
1. Rodney Hood is a great offensive player, but his stat line was flat, 16 points but he isn’t giving Duke rebounds or assists he has to use his size to his advantage on both ends. He is a fantastic player but habitually bad when it comes to boxing out.
2. Free throw shooting for Duke was atrocious. 58% is unacceptable for a Duke team, tired or not, those points (5) could have been huge. In addition to shooting poorly from the line, Duke was not aggressive against the UNC zone. This is not the first zone Duke has seen. It’s puzzling that each time it presents itself it’s as if they are seeing it for the first time.
3. Boxing out and rebounding as a team. To lose the rebounding battle by 13 isn’t going to cut it. It’s not about size it’s about heart and will, and Duke still chooses to not emphasize or at very least not execute on one of the simplest parts of basketball. It’s not a skill to rebound, it’s a desire, a want.
4. Duke doesn’t play like a team that wants it – sometimes. They played like a team going through the motions on occasion. No one seems to want to get their hands dirty. When it’s time to take a shot, everyone wants one, but when a play needs to be made other places…crickets.
5. Duke cannot defend without fouling, this is becoming a common theme, not sure how they address it but it’s an issue.
6. The bench. Yes Quinn Cook got 17 points but Duke, needed a little more from Andre Dawkins tonight, it wasnt all on Andre, Duke did not drive and kick effectively at all.
…will have more later. Congrats UNC. Bastards