CORAL GABLES, Fla.—Duke’s loss last season to Miami at the BankUnited Center was the nadir of the team’s season.
The Hurricanes whirled past the Blue Devils 90-63 last season in a game that was never really competitive. After Duke went on a 14-2 run late in the first half of this year’s game, this one wasn’t close the rest of the way either.
This year’s Miami team returns no starters from the one last season that slapped the floor and embarrassed the Blue Devils. Tuesday’s 67-46 victory was an important step: Duke’s first ACC road win of the year.
“We were just focused on getting our first road win,” junior point guard Quinn Cook said. “It’s big.”
Miami’s 46-point output was the lowest Duke (15-4, 3-2 in the ACC) held an opponent to all season. The Hurricanes (10-8, 2-4) entered the game averaging just 62.4 points per game, 335th in the nation, a product of the team’s slow pace of play—they entered the game dead last in Division I in adjusted tempo according to basketball statistician Ken Pomeroy.
The Hurricane defense initially frustrated the Blue Devils, who at one point in the first half missed eight consecutive 3-pointers. But Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said that Miami’s zone defense and reluctance to push the ball down the court allowed his players to crash the offensive glass.
That showed, and the Blue Devils were able to compensate for their shooting woes with nine offensive rebounds in the first period, giving them nine more shots than the Hurricanes. Duke finished with a 42-28 rebounding advantage after struggling on the glass in their two ACC road games, losses to Notre Dame and Clemson. The Blue Devils were outrebounded by 13.5 per game in those contests.
Freshman Jabari Parker finished with 17 points and a career-high 15 rebounds, six of which came on the offensive glass.
“Everything wasn’t going my way offensively, so I tried to do other things like rebound,” Parker said. “That creates possessions.”
A potential top pick in this year’s NBA draft, Parker made 5-of-12 field goals and turned it over four times in front of a star-studded crowd. The Miami Heat’s LeBron James and Dwyane Wade were in attendance, as was Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers. Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski has coached all three for Team USA in the Olympics. Additionally, former Blue Devils Shane Battier, who plays for the Heat, and Ryan Kelly, who plays for the Lakers, were in attendance.
Parker said Duke is fortunate to have the support of those stars such as James, who wrote on Instagram during the game he was there to “see Coach K and the young boy Jabari Parker.”
Krzyzewski joked after the game that Parker could learn from James’ ability to hold on to the ball in transition. He also said he witnessed James and Wade “go nuts” after a “big-time play” by Parker in the second half, throwing down a dunk after a Miami made jump shot.
Parker and Rodney Hood—who finished with 12 points, including a thunderous alley-oop from Cook—were the only two Blue Devils to finish in double figures. More impressive was the team’s defensive performance, led by Parker and Amile Jefferson’s three blocks apiece.
The Hurricanes made 17-of-48 field goals, their lowest clip in ACC play. Guard Rion Brown—who entered the game as the only Miami player averaging double-figure points—was held to a season-low two points on 1-of-6 shooting.
Seven-foot center Marshall Plumlee recorded one block in his seven minutes on the floor and also grabbed a key defensive rebound less than two minutes later.
“We needed some stops, and Marshall gave us two stops,” Krzyzewski said.