Basketball looks pretty easy when you shoot 70 percent. Duke did just that Friday night, opening its 2013-'14 season with a 111-77 win over Davidson.
The surprisingly one-sided victory was a by-product of astonishing offensive efficiency, the kind of efficiency not often seen on November 8. Not only did Duke knock down 38 of its 54 shots from the field-13 of 21 from beyond the arc-the Blue Devils also notched 16 assists against only four turnovers. Duke didn't actually score every time it has the ball but it sure seemed that way at times, especially in a first half that saw them shoot 71.4 percent from the field and commit a single turnover.
Duke's preseason narrative was that the offense would run through Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood. The duo-both making their first official appearance in a Duke uniform-lived up to expectations. Parker had 22 points and six rebounds, while Hood tallied 22 points and a game-high nine rebounds.
But they were only half of Duke's 20 point scorers. Quinn Cook scored 21 points, with eight assists and no turnovers. Then there's Rasheed Sulaimon, who added 20 points and grabbed seven rebounds.
The quartet shot 30-38 from the field, 11-14 on three-pointers. Simply put, they carved up Davidson's defense.
Hood said movement was the key. "We weren't static coming down in transition. We got into our offense quick rather than standing and looking at everybody. We've got so many looks. If we're sharp in our movements, we're going to be hard to guard. The key was making them move as a defense. We scored together tonight. That was the biggest thing."
"We just clicked," Parker said. "We threw them some new stuff so they were back on their heels a little bit."
Parker exerted control early. In the opening two minutes, he hit a two-pointer, a three-pointer, assisted Amile Jefferson and grabbed two rebounds.
Davidson did lead, at 3-0 and kept it close as late as 19-15. But Duke went on a 22-6 run that made it 41-21 and the lead never again dipped below 15.
It wasn't perfect, of course. Amile Jefferson picked up two quick fouls and sat out much of the first half.
"Those quick fouls at the beginning of the game can sit you and early and get you out of your rhythm," Jefferson said. "You have to make sure your hands are up. They're really emphasizing hand-checking. I need to be smart, eliminate the ticky-tack fouls."
This forced Duke to go small. Or maybe Duke would have gone small anyway. Mike Krzyzewski noted that Davidson spreads the floor with lots of three-point shooters and further noted that Duke is quite comfortable playing Parker and Hood as the nominal posts, along with three guards.
Whatever dictated the small lineup, it certainly helped Duke achieve its primary defensive goal, keeping Davidson's three-point shooters in check. The Wildcats were a miserable 3-21 from downtown, a shortcoming that eliminated any chance they had of pulling off the shocker.
Duke led 59-39 at the half. Davidson made two of its three three-pointers midway through the second half, the latter making it 77-60.
Krzyzewski wasn't happy with the defense during that sequence but he loved how his team responded.
"We defended the three really well. When they start hitting threes, it's really contagious. When they got it to 17, I thought our guys responded with four of the best minutes we played. That was a point where Davidson was going to be right there. They get a stop, hit another three and all of sudden it's a little bit different game. I didn't think we were approaching the second half defensively with the intensity that we did in the first half. I thought we were, we score, you score. Our guys just started defending the right way."
Duke quickly got the lead back over 20, then over 30. All 12 recruited players played, nine scored and a good time was had by all.
NOTES. The win extends several Duke streaks. Duke has now won 102 consecutive non-conference home games, 32 consecutive home openers and 25 straight games against Davidson.
Duke hit the century mark for the first time since beating Western Michigan 110-70 on December 30, 2011. The last time Duke scored 100 or more points in a season opener was November 9, 2007, when Duke defeated North Carolina Central 121-56.
Jabari Parker had a highlight-reel dunk off a lob from Quinn Cook in the second half. "I gave him a signal," Parker said. "We kind of get a little signal when the defense is playing too high."
The rumors of Rasheed Sulaimon's demise were much exaggerated. Krzyzewski acknowledged that Sulaimon "has not had a good fall. I think he's finally in good shape. None of my guys live in a doghouse. Some guys might not be playing well, some guys might be playing really well. How can anyone say any of my guys are in a doghouse? I have great relationships with my guys. The guys who aren't playing well, we're going to work with them to make sure they try to get better. But he had a really good week in practice. He's a really good player and we should expect him to play at the level he played tonight."
The teams combined for 44 fouls. Perhaps it was the new emphasis on hand-checks but it was a season opener. Duke and Georgia State combined for 40 fouls in last season's first game and that at a much slower tempo.
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- One night in, the kids are all right
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- Why Parker will thrive at Duke
- Jabari Parker talks to himself, and other scenes from the Duke-Davidson blowout
- Blue Devils put on show, drub Davidson
- Jabari Parker: Duke's player of the game
- Postgame: Thoughts from Duke's 111-77 win against Davidson
- Duke shoots lights out, tops Davidson 111-77
- Duke's Jabari Parker looked awfully impressive in season opener
- Duke starts off 1-0 with an impressive offensive display
- Duke's young stars shine bright, rout Davidson in opener
- Duke shoots lights out, tops Davidson 111-77
- DeCock: Blue Devils are who they thought they are, which is pretty good
- Worth The Wait
- Box Score: Duke 111, Davidson 77
- Photos: Duke 111, Davidson 77
- Notes: Duke 111, Davidson 77
- Quotes: Duke 111, Davidson 77
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