Coming off of the holiday break, the No. 9 Blue Devils wore down the Eagles and cruised through most of the second half en route to a 82-59 victory at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke's improving defense was on display once again in the team's final home game of its nonconference schedule.
Revisiting the three keys to the game:
- Continue recent dominance on the glass: Duke was once again on the correct side of the rebounding margin, outrebounding Eastern Michigan 47-32. The man who deserves the most praise for Duke's dominance on the glass is Amile Jefferson, who grabbed 14 rebounds—a career-high for the sophomore. Rodney Hood and Jabari Parker each ended with eight rebounds.
Push Eastern Michigan off the 3-point line: Duke didn't exactly get Eastern Michigan off of the 3-point line, as the Eagles attempted 18 triples. However, the Blue Devils did pressure the 3-point shot, holding Eastern Michigan to just 22.2 percent shooting from long range. No Eagle hit more than one 3-pointer in the contest.
Bring the energy: Energy wasn't an issue early in this one. Quinn Cook started the Duke scoring with a pretty alley-oop to Jabari Parker, then followed it up with a steal and another feed to Parker for a slam. Three-point play opportunities and loud dunks from a number of Blue Devils kept the crowd engaged and the energy level high throughout the contest.
- 5:43, first half: Rasheed Sulaimon drove to the hole with a full head of steam, drawing the foul on Eagle center Da'Shonte Riley and hitting the layup. Sulaimon added the free throw to extend Duke's lead to seven points. For Riley, it was his third personal foul. With Riley on the bench, Duke followed up the three-point play with an alley-oop slam for Jabari Parker, who had free range of the paint in the absence of Riley. Sulaimon scored the first four points in what ended up an 8-0 run.
13:59, second half: After being forced to the bench with what appeared to be an ankle injury, Quinn Cook came back out on the floor and knocked down his first basket of the game—a deep 3-pointer. On the ensuing possession Cook made the slick pass to Rodney Hood for another triple. The Duke run continued with two Sulaimon free throws after a flagrant foul was assessed to J.R. Sims. All in all, the scoring flurry resulted in a 10-0 Blue Devil run.
- 8:22, second half: After an emphatic Karrington Ward dunk that capped off a mini 7-3 Eastern Michigan run, Rasheed Sulaimon attacked the rim once again, hitting the bucket and drawing the foul to end the Eagles' momentum. The made free throw was Sulaimon's 11th shot from the charity stripe of the game.
Duke had 19 assists on 24 field goals: How do you beat a tough 2-3 zone? Ball movement, and that's exactly how the Blue Devils did it. Led by Quinn Cook's seven assists, Duke assisted on an impressive 79.2 percent of its shot attempts. The ball moved quickly around the perimeter, allowing every player to get good looks at the basket.
- 20 offensive rebounds for the Blue Devils: The offensive glass belonged to Duke Saturday afternoon. Amile Jefferson was the go-to rebounder for Duke, hauling in six offensive rebounds all by himself. Rodney Hood was a force with his four offensive boards, and Marshall Plumlee and Jabari Parker also both finished with multiple offensive rebounds as well.
- 34 bench points for Duke: All season talk has been of how Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood are the two scorers for Duke. Finally Quinn Cook earned the right to have his name tossed in as the third musketeer with Parker and Hood. But Saturday it was the Duke bench that did a lot of the heavy lifting. The bench scoring would have been even higher had Andre Dawkins not recorded a last-second start, as Dawkins poured in 20 points on 6-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc.
Jabari Parker was the main scorer for Duke, ending the night with 23 points, and Andre Dawkins was his usual marksman self from long range, but Jefferson's rebounding effort deserves the praise. His career-high 14 rebounds set the tone for the Blue Devils on the glass. Jefferson ended the night with seven points, shooting 5-for-5 from the stripe Saturday, despite coming into the game shooting just 30.0 percent from the free throw line coming into the night.
And the Eastern Michigan game ball goes to.... Mike Talley
There weren't many worthy recipients for Eastern Michigan Saturday, as the Eagles were stymied by the stifling Duke defense. Talley shot just 7-of-17 from the field, but the guard continuously got into the paint and finished the game with 20 points, leading his team.
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