Andre Dawkins stepped right in for Rodney Hood -- first in the Duke starting lineup, then in the box score.DURHAM, N.C. --
Dawkins had season highs of 20 points and six 3-pointers in the ninth-ranked Blue Devils' 82-59 victory over Eastern Michigan on Saturday.
With Hood fighting an illness that he said caused him to flee the court and throw up, Dawkins was summoned from the bench to make a surprise start moments before the opening tip.
And the fifth-year senior who sat out last season sure made the most of it. He finished with his highest point total since scoring 22 and hitting six 3s in a win at Florida State in 2012.
"It's a little bit different coming off, not playing for a year, and trying to play at this level," Dawkins said. "So, it took some time, but I'm getting there. But it's still a process."
The Blue Devils (10-2) got their requisite big game from freshman phenom Jabari Parker, who scored 23 points.
Rasheed Sulaimon added 13 and came up with the key hustle play during the decisive second-half run that helped them polish off their fourth straight win.
"It's always good seeing everybody playing their natural roles because we're all just scorers," Parker said. "Our wings can create for (themselves) and it opens up things inside for me and the other bigs."
Duke shot 40 percent against Eastern Michigan's tough zone defense while hitting 10 3-pointers, built a 47-32 advantage on the boards and wrapped up the pre-ACC home schedule with its 101st straight nonconference win at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
"We knew they played zone, so we were going to get open looks on the offensive end, but we really wanted to focus on stopping them," Dawkins said. "It was a big task to try and stop them but I think we did a pretty good job."
Mike Talley scored 20 points to lead the Eagles (7-4). They went 6 minutes between field goals during the critical stretch when Duke pulled away.
"It's important -- the shot goes up, we have to rebound the ball," Eastern Michigan coach Rob Murphy said. "I thought we did a great job of showing and forcing them into some contested shots. But we gave up 20 offensive rebounds. ... To be successful, ultimately, the way we play, we have to rebound the basketball and we didn't do a great job of that tonight."
The Blue Devils led just 43-35 with 15 minutes left before breaking the game open with a 15-1 run.
Quinn Cook and Hood hit 3-pointers roughly 25 seconds apart before Sulaimon's key hustle play. He had Eagles guard J.R. Sims trapped near midcourt when Sims tried to spike the ball off Sulaimon and out of bounds -- but the ball instead rolled down the sideline toward the Duke basket.
Sulaimon scooped it up, was fouled hard by Sims -- who received a flagrant foul -- on his way to the basket and hit the ensuing two free throws to stretch the lead to 53-35 with 13:12 left.
Dawkins' 3-pointer roughly 3 minutes later gave the Blue Devils their first 20-point lead at 56-36. Amile Jefferson -- who started the run with a free throw with 14:28 left -- hit a foul shot to push it to 58-36 with 10:25 remaining, and they pulled away from there.
Jefferson finished with a career-high 14 rebounds for the Blue Devils, who have had at least one 20-point scorer in every game this season. It's the first time that's happened at Duke since the eventual national champion 2000-01 team did it in its first 17 games.
Ten of those 20-point games now belong to Parker, who led or shared the team's scoring lead for the eighth time.
He scored 14 of Duke's 37 points in the first half after hitting six of his first 11 shots, including a pair of thunderous alley-oop dunks.
That helped make up for an off day for Hood, who averages 18.5 points but finished with eight on 3-of-8 shooting. He also had eight rebounds while playing through his unspecified illness.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski said he received an IV at halftime.
"He wasn't the same guy," Krzyzewski said.
This was the first meeting between the schools since the 1996 NCAA tournament, when the Earl Boykins-led Eagles upset Duke in the first round. And for a while, they looked plenty capable of knocking off Duke again.
Early on, Eastern Michigan frustrated the Blue Devils with that matchup zone that held them to 3-of-14 shooting from 3-point range in the first half.
Duke didn't take its first double-figure lead until the 4-minute mark of the half when Hood's stickback dunk of a missed jumper by Parker made it 32-21.
Karrington Ward scored 11 points and Sims finished with 10 for Eastern Michigan.