Duke got their first road win of the season behind a career night from freshman Jabari Parker. Parker scored 17 points and grabbed a career high 15 rebounds as the Blue Devils cruised past Miami.
Miami's game plan was to slow the game down, cutting down on the possessions, and eliminating Duke's ability to get out in transition. For a while, they were successful. The Hurricanes' zone defense limited the Duke offense for much of the game, but the Blue Devils were able to dominate in the rebounding department to make up for the possessions they didn't have in the fast break game.
Duke outrebounded Miami 42-28, including 15 offensive rebounds that the Blue Devils converted into 22 second chance points. Parker's 15 boards led the team, while Amile Jefferson had 7 rebounds, 4 on the offensive end.
Coach K employed the 2-team approach for the third game in a row, although to a much lesser extent for this game. Rasheed Sulaimon was the only reserve to play more than 13 minutes. He continued his great play of late, scoring 9 and dishing out 4 assists. Rodney Hood had another great all around game. He scored 12 points, grabbed 6 rebounds, and had 3 assists.
This was an impressive win for the Blue Devils. The final score looks like Duke had an easy time with the Hurricanes, but Duke had to earn this win. The zone defense really tested the Blue Devil offense. Duke did not shoot the ball that well, 42.9% from the field, but only 32.0% from the three point line. They won the game with their rebounding, which has to be nice for a team that has been constantly criticized for their lack of size.
The defense, as a whole, continued to play very well. Duke forced Miami into 11 turnovers, 7 came from steals. What was, hopefully, a new found element for the Blue Devils, was their ability to defend the rim. Duke blocked 7 Miami shots. Parker and Jefferson each had 3, while Marshall Plumlee swatted 1.
Rion Brown was the only Miami player who came into the game averaging double figures in scoring, but the guard only managed 2 points tonight, scoring his only basket a few minutes into the second half.
The zone defense should prepare Duke for their upcoming game against Syracuse next week. College basketball has seen much more zone defense this season, and that trend figures to continue going forward.
Jabari Parker's reemergence is crucial for the Blue Devils going forward. His focus on scoring in the paint and not settling for jump shots continued against Miami. He is going to be a matchup problem for most of Duke's opponents this season and both he and Jefferson have to be able to make the most of their opportunities down low to open up things for the shooters on the perimeter.
Parker and Hood picked a good night to have each have a great game. The future NBA players surely impressed some of the NBA's best, who were on hand to watch the game. Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, Kobe Bryant, as well as Duke alumni Shane Battier and Ryan Kelly, were all in the house.
The Blue Devils improved to 4-2 in the ACC and 15-4 overall. They will host Florida State this Saturday before back to back road games against the top 2 teams in the ACC, Pittsburgh and Syracuse.