No. 23 Duke used stifling defensive pressure to sprint past crosstown foe N.C. State 95-60 Saturday at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Blue Devils forced 21 Wolfpack turnovers on the afternoon to climb above .500 in ACC play for the first time this season.
"We let our defense create our offense tonight, and it really worked well for us," sophomore forward Amile Jefferson said.
Freshman Jabari Parker notched his first 20-point performance of ACC play, tallying 23 points. Though he shot just 7-of-14 from the floor and missed his first three attempts, Parker got to the foul line 10 times on the afternoon and found his rhythm as the game wore on.
After settling for a number of contested jump shots in Duke's first four ACC games, Parker attacked the rim relentlessly against the Wolfpack (11-7, 1-4 in the ACC), throwing down a number of thunderous dunks in the second half.
“Jabari really stepped forward today," Krzyzewski said. "This is a process of learning what you need to do at this level. You need to be an attacker, and he was today. He was an outstanding player today.”
The opening minutes of the game were a track meet, with both sides pushing the tempo in hopes of jumping out to an early advantage. For the second straight game, Krzyzewski began the game by substituting five fresh players on every few minutes to keep his team rested.
The Wolfpack dominated the glass early, jumping out to a 13-0 rebounding advantage on the Blue Devils (14-4, 3-2). After pulling down its first rebound of the game 6:27 in, Duke would rally on the glass, pulling down 35 of the game's final 54 boards to finish the game with a 35-32 edge.
"Guys were going to the glass without boxing out, and they were just going over our backs," Jefferson said. "Coach was intense, and we responded. We started to block out, push the ball, make their guys run and we built a lead and never looked back."
Duke stayed in the game by forcing 15 N.C. State turnovers in the first half, which led to 23 points and allowed the Blue Devils to take a 45-32 lead into the locker room.
Duke turned the Wolfpack's 21 turnovers into 33 points—N.C. State registered just two points off eight Blue Devil giveaways.
"We turned the ball over too many times," Wolfpack head coach Mark Gottfried said. "We obviously have to be much stronger with the basketball, and they took those turnovers and turned them into baskets, which was the biggest difference in the game."
Junior point guard Quinn Cook played stifling defense on Wolfpack point guard Anthony "Cat" Barber, holding the freshman to just seven points and forcing him to turn the ball over four times. Cook was also responsible for bringing the home crowd into the game, using his defensive play and timely 3-point shooting to create a raucous atmosphere at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
"He's a guy that can turn somebody over three or four times in a row," Jefferson said of his point guard. "That kind of pressure not only disrupts that player he's guarding, but it disrupts the whole team because they can't flow into their offense like they want to. When Quinn is being at his best, our team is at its best."
N.C. State struggled to keep the game within 20 points in the second half as any comeback attempts were answered by a decisive Duke run. Five players ended the game in double figures for the Blue Devils.
After the contest, President Bush paid the Duke team a special visit in the locker room. Bush became the first U.S. President—sitting or former—to take in a basketball game at Cameron Indoor Stadium.