Parker Leads Duke Past North Carolina
The week didn’t start well, with Duke falling 82-72 at Wake Forest Wednesday after a scoring drought late in the game, but it ended in celebratory fashion as the Jabari Parker-led Blue Devils topped Tobacco Road rival North Carolina, 93-81, Saturday night in Cameron Indoor Stadium. Parker put on a show for the ages, going for 30 points and 11 rebounds in one of the all-time great performances from a Duke player against the Tar Heels. Parker’s 30 points were the most by a Duke freshman in the rivalry, while his 11 rebounds made him only the fifth player under Coach K to hit the 30-10 plateau in a game.
Parker was dominant the entire game, scoring from just about every spot on the floor as North Carolina struggled to contain the duo of Parker and Rodney Hood. Hood poured in 24 points of his own, giving Duke’s top scoring duo a season-best 54 combined points on 18-of-30 (.600) shooting from the field. The production did not come entirely from Parker and Hood, however, as nearly every Blue Devil that took the floor contributed to the highlight reel. Andre Dawkins scored his 1,000th career point, Rasheed Sulaimon scored in double figures and Quinn Cook turned in a SportsCenter-worthy, hand-switching layup on a fastbreak (video below) as part of an 11-point, six-assist effort.
GoDuke.com Condensed Game Replay
Top Play: Cook Finishes At The Rim
Duke vs. North Carolina Highlights
Duke vs. North Carolina Photo Gallery
Duke vs. North Carolina Box Score
Next up? The ACC Title
Duke doesn’t have long to savor the North Carolina win. There are bigger goals at hand, the most pressing of which is the ACC Championship. Duke will play as the No. 3 seed in the ACC Tournament and could face either No. 6 Clemson, No. 11 Georgia Tech or No. 14 Boston College. The Blue Devils will get ample time to prepare for all three of those opponents, as Duke gets a break until Friday’s quarterfinal round for finishing in the league’s top four. ACC expansion alters the tournament schedule to begin two full days before the top four seeds play, beginning with Wednesday’s first round and continuing with Thursday’s second round. Duke gets the late game Friday, a 9 p.m. tipoff in the Greensboro Coliseum. Should Duke advance to the semifinals, a rematch with ACC newcomer – and instant rival – Syracuse looms, should the Orange also win their quarterfinal matchup against the likes of No. 7 NC State, No. 10 Miami and No. 15 Virginia Tech.
Coach K places tremendous emphasis on the ACC Tournament, and Duke’s performance at the event reflects that. The Blue Devils have won 13 ACC Championships in head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s 34 seasons, including 10 of the last 15 tournaments.
He finished with only eight points, but Andre Dawkins’ senior night performance against North Carolina Saturday may go down as one of the most memorable in recent Duke basketball history. The 6-5 guard, who returned to the team this year after taking off the 2012-13 season to deal with personal issues stemming from the death of his sister, Lacey, joined an exclusive list of Blue Devils Saturday when he scored his 1,000th career point. Known for his lethal three-point shooting, Dawkins actually hit the milestone on a floater in the that he set up with a nice dribble-drive hesitation from the perimeter. It took less than four minutes into the game for Dawkins to hit the shot, which made him the 63rd player at Duke to join the 1,000-point club. He currently ranks tied for 62nd on the list.
Jabari Parker’s Biggest Flaw
At this point in the season, Jabari Parker has shown there’s not much he can’t do. The freshman phenom already has quite the highlight reel heading into tournament time and has Duke poised to be a legitimate favorite to reach the national championship. As good as Parker is, however, he has one glaring hole in his game that even he refused to correct until recently: his eyesight. The Wall Street Journal ran a story this past week detailing Parker’s struggles to see the court due to blurred vision. In a remarkable revelation, Parker admitted to hiding the problem from his coaches, not out of embarrassment but because he believed it would make him a better player. Due to his inability to see clearly, Parker believed, his other senses would have to compensate, thereby making him develop a better feel for the game. It wasn’t until he started playing for the Blue Devils that he was fitted with contact lenses that address the problem.
Did the strategy work? It doesn’t take a set of prescription contact lenses to see the answer to that.
Parker Named Wooden Award Finalist
Another week, another national recognition for Jabari Parker. The freshman forward appeared on yet another national player of the year finalist list, this time the prestigious Wooden Award. Parker was one of 15 college players – and four freshmen – to be cited, earning him spots on three award lists, including the Naismith Trophy and the Oscar Robertson Trophy. Duke has a long history with the Wooden Award with five previous winners: Christian Laettner (1992), Elton Brand (1999), Shane Battier (2001), Jason Williams (2002) and J.J. Redick (2006).
Duke gets revenge (Durham Herald-Sun)
Coach K, Duke force basketball gods to stay busy (Fayetteville Observer)
Coach K cleared after dizzy spell (Durham Herald-Sun)
Tony Romo talks Duke win, Coach K (ESPN.com)
Tweet of the Week
Jahlil Okafor @BigJah22
Selfie with Tony Romo.. He's with the duke fam too. #Duke #Cowboys lets get this win! #BeatUnc pic.twitter.com/GVq08Iy9Zk