Duke proved to be superior in every facet of the game as the No. 23 Blue Devils cruised to a 95-60 win over ACC rival North Carolina State on Saturday at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
The energy and intensity of the Blue Devils was much improved after a somewhat sluggish start to the ACC season and freshman forward Jabari Parker got back into his early-season groove as he scored 23 points, grabbed seven rebounds and generally looked more like himself after a subpar start to the conference season.
Parker attacked the basket — getting to the free throw line 10 times and making seven of them — found good, in-rhythm shots and moved towards the basket without the ball for easy finishes.
While Parker got back in control of his immense offensive abilities, and Duke had six players with nine-or-more points overall, it was their effort on the defensive end that was especially impressive.
Duke’s defense limited North Carolina State by creating 21 turnovers — 15 of them in the first half that led to 23 points off turnovers — and poor possessions and shots for the Wolfpack often ended in Duke runouts and easy baskets. In the second half especially, it looked like N.C. State had essentially given up while Duke continued to fly all over the floor in front of an energized Coach K. Duke ended up with 33 points off of turnovers on the afternoon.
Duke and Coach K appeared a bit sluggish in ACC play as K dealt with the death of his brother and the Blue Devils got used to the rigors of the ACC with a somewhat inexperienced group. All of that appears to be behind them now and if Duke can defend the way they did and get good shots for Parker like they did against N.C. State, they’ll be fine as they approach the middle part of ACC play.