Duke overcame a slow start on offense and cruised to a 23 point blowout over Eastern Michigan in Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday in their first game since a December 19th win over UCLA at Madison Square Garden.
Jabari Parker led all scorers with 23 points. He scored the first 8 points of the game for the Blue Devils and was the only Duke scorer until Andre Dawkins hit two free throws and followed with a three pointer at the 15 minute mark of the first half. Dawkins was a late addition as a starter for Duke as he replaced Rodney Hood who was dealing with an unspecified illness. Andre did not disappoint, as he finished with 20 points and was 6-10 from the three point line. Hood was noticeably winded, but still played with great effort and finished with 8 points and 8 rebounds.
Duke struggled against EMU's zone defense at times in the first half and had to rely on their defense to take a 37-27 lead into the break. Duke shot 3-14 from the three point line in the first half and finished the game 10-29 from the arc, but created extra opportunities on offense with 21 offensive rebounds.
Duke wasn't able to put the game away until about the 14 minute mark in the second half when Quinn Cook and Rodney Hood each nailed a three pointer and Rasheed Sulaimon converted two free throws following a flagrant foul to push the lead to 18. Duke never looked back from there.
Sulaimon continued his high level of play and finished with 13 points, 9 of which that came from the free throw line, 3 assists, and 2 steals. Sulaimon appears to have found his role in the offense, finding driving lanes on offense and playing hard nosed defense to create opportunities for the team.
Quinn Cook, who had been an offensive leader for the Blue Devils, averaging 14.6 ppg, struggled from the field, shooting 1-9 for 3 points. But he continued his efficient play as a point guard, finishing with 7 assists and just 2 turnovers.
Amile Jefferson grabbed a career high 14 rebounds for the Blue Devils who out-rebounded the Eagles 47-32.
Guard Mike Talley led the Eagles with 20 points, while the teams leading scorer Karrington Ward had 11.
No.9 Duke is now 10-2 on the season and will play Elon University on New Year's Eve at the Greensboro Coliseum.