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Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski
Courtesy: Duke Photography
Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski
Duke to Face Connecticut at IZOD Center on Dec. 18
Tuesday 06/16/2014  -  Duke Sports Information
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DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke Blue Devils will face the Connecticut Huskies December 18th at IZOD Center (Meadowlands Sports Complex) in East Rutherford, N.J.  Game time is 8:00 pm (ET).

Tickets will go on sale Friday, June 20 at 10:00 am (ET) through Ticketmaster and can be purchased online at ticketmaster.com or by phone at 800-745-3000. Tickets will be available at the IZOD Center Box Office beginning Monday, June 23 at 11:00 am. For more information, visit izodcenter.com.

Duke and Connecticut have met just nine times  with the Blue Devils leading the series 5-4.  One of their most memorable games took place at the Meadowlands in the 1990 NCAA East Regional Final with Duke winning 79-78 in overtime on a Christian Laettner basket as time expired. They last met in the 2009 NIT Tip-Off Championship Game at Madison Square Garden which Duke won 68-59. The Blue Devils are 20-1 all-time (10-0 in NCAA Tournament games) at the Meadowlands. Connecticut is 12-8.

"We are excited to have the opportunity to play Connecticut at the IZOD Center next season," said Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski. "We have a strong fan base in the New York / New Jersey area and I am sure Connecticut will have great fan support as well. It is always special to play in front of terrific crowds and it should be an outstanding game between two talented teams. Connecticut is obviously coming off a championship season and has excellent personnel returning. Coach Ollie has done a terrific job running the program and we look forward to the challenge."

Duke, coming off a 26-9 campaign last season, returns three players with extensive starting experience and seven letterwinners overall. Senior Quinn Cook and junior Rasheed Sulaimon provide a veteran presence in the backcourt, while Amile Jefferson is coming off a solid sophomore season in 2013-14. Cook and Sulaimon combined to average 21.5 points and 6.8 assists per game a year ago, while shooting 38.6 percent (108-of-280) from three-point range and 79.1 percent (163-of-206) from the charity stripe. Jefferson shot a team-best 64.4 percent (94-of-146) from the field and averaged 6.5 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. Junior Marshall Plumlee (1.3 points / 2.2 rebounds per game) along with sophomores Matt Jones and Semi Ojeleye are prepared to take on larger roles this season after gaining valuable experience a year ago.

Duke’s veteran group will be complimented in 2014-15 by the top ranked recruiting class in the country. Grayson Allen, Tyus Jones, Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow were each named to the McDonald’s All-America team with all four players ranking among the top 35 recruits in the country by the Recruiting Services Consensus Index. Allen is a talented guard out of Florida that showcased his athleticism by winning the Powerade Jam Fest Dunk Contest. Jones, the top-rated point guard in the class, was a three-time Minnesota State Player of the Year and closed out his career with 2,909 points, 1,131 assists and 369 steals. Okafor, the No. 1 player overall by most recruiting outlets, was named the National High School Player of the Year after averaging 24.1 points and 11.3 rebounds while leading Whitney Young, to a 28-5 record and a 4A state title in Illinois. Winslow is a two-time Gatorade State Player of the Year out of Texas and one of the most versatile two-way players in the country. He averaged 27.5 points, 13.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 2.1 blocks and 1.8 steals per game as a senior at Saint John’s [Houston]. Jones, Okafor and Winslow also have extensive USA Basketball experience with each player winning a pair of gold medals as well as participating in the 2014 Nike Hoop Summit.

The UConn men’s basketball team won the national championship in 2014 – its fourth since 1999. The Huskies began the tournament as a No. 7 seed and along their NCAA run beat a who’s who of programs including Florida and Kentucky in the Final Four.  The Huskies became the first no. 7 seed in the history of the NCAA tournament to win the national championship.

The 2014-15 Huskies will be led by senior guard Ryan Boatright, who was named to the NCAA All-Final Four team and averaged 12.1 points per game last year to go along with 3.4 assists.  Junior Phil Nolan started 19 games last year – including all six in the NCAA tournament – returns at center. Junior guard Terrence Samuel, a Brooklyn product, scored 11 points in UConn’s NCAA third round win vs. Villanova and showed great improvement as the season went on. Sophomore center Amida Brimah led UConn with 92 blocks and was named to the American Athletic Conference All-Rookie team.

The Huskies will be bolstered by the addition of former McDonald’s All-American guard and North Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year Rodney Purvis, eligible after sitting out last season following his transfer from North Carolina State. Purvis averaged 8.3 points and 2.4 rebounds for the Wolfpack in 35 games in 2012-13 and was an ACC Rookie of the Week selection. Also joining the Huskies will be freshman forward Daniel Hamilton, who averaged 20.5 points, 9 rebounds and 5.2 assists as he led St. John Bosco High to the California Division II state championship; Junior College First Team All-American Sam Cassell Jr., who averaged 18.7 points and 3.7 assists for Chipola College (Florida); and Rakim Lubin, the Georgia 3A Player of the Year, who averaged 20.2 points and 12.1 rebounds at Buford High School.

“We are very much looking forward to playing against Duke at the IZOD Center this December,” said UConn head coach Kevin Ollie. “Our series against Duke includes some of the most exciting and most meaningful games in UConn basketball history and we have the utmost respect for Coach Krzyzewski and his program. Plus, it will be wonderful to return to the IZOD Center, where UConn has a long history. It not only gives our fans in the New York-New Jersey area a chance to watch us play, but is close enough to allow our great fans from Connecticut to come and support us.”

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