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Duke 109 Fairfield 59

Fairfield was a fair test for Duke because it's a cohesive group and they know how to work together. It wasn't enough though.

Nov 15, 2014; Durham, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils center Jahlil Okafor (15) shoots over Fairfield Stags center Malcolm Gilbert (44) in their game at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Nov 15, 2014; Durham, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils center Jahlil Okafor (15) shoots over Fairfield Stags center Malcolm Gilbert (44) in their game at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

Duke completed the preliminary portion of its schedule with a decisive 109-59 win over the Fairfield Stags.

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Fairfield opened their season yesterday with a 71-63 win over the Central Connecticut Blue Devils, becoming perhaps the first team ever to play two different Blue Devil teams on consecutive nights.

Fairfield made Duke sweat just a tiny bit, at least compared to last night’s victim, Presbyterian. The Stags scored first and kept it close for about seventeen minutes.

They played a zone, sometimes a 2-3, sometimes a matchup, sometimes a who-knows-what. But Quinn Cook said it presented some early difficulties for Duke.

"It threw us off a little bit. It kind of caught us off-guard. But coach saw what we needed to do and we did it."

Duke did lead by 15 at 25-10. But then the Blue Devils went through a period that Mike Krzyzewski characterized as "disjointed." Duke lost Fairfield’s best player, Marcus Gilbert a couple of times for open threes. Gilbert scored 21 points against Central Connecticut so Krzyzewski says Duke should have known better.

Fairfield cut it to 33-26 and it was 36-28 with 2:50 left at the half.

This was the first time Duke has been even remotely tested this season and Krzyzewski liked the way his team responded. Duke closed the half with an 8-2 run, Justice Winslow finishing the scoring with a lay-up off an inbounds pass from Quinn Cook.

Duke led 44-30, with Gilbert scoring a dozen. Jahlil Okafor led Duke with 13 points, two more than Winslow.

Cook said Krzyzewski wasn’t happy at halftime, especially with the defense on Gilbert. Duke listened. Gilbert scored only three points after intermission before fouling out.

"Our coach got after us. We let up a couple of times. We let their best player get going and coach got after us. We responded well."

Krzyzewski said the halftime point of emphasis was communication. "For about eight minutes, we didn’t defend the ball screen well. We didn’t talk. That was one of our potions at halftime. We did a much better job of finding him [Gilbert] in th second half."

On the other end of the court, Duke attacked the Fairfield zone with greater precision and intensity than in the first half. The lead hit 20, then 30, then 40, before ending at 50. Duke scored 65 points in the second half.

Winslow said that defense fueled the blow-out. "I think that’s part of the image we’re trying to change from last year, just on the defensive end, competing more, nothing easy."

It was another balanced effort, although there was a bit much more separation in the rotation. Winslow (18), Okafor (17), Cook (17) and Amile Jefferson (15) combined for 67 points.

Okafor and Jefferson added nine rebounds each and Tyus Jones led everybody with five assists. Duke again dominated on the glass, outrebounding Fairfield 39-20, while forcing 18 turnovers. Duke committed a dozen.

Okafor converted eight of 10 from the field. He’s now made 17 of 20 from the field, 85 percent.

All of Duke’s recruited players scored except Rasheed Sulaimon, who played 18 minutes without taking a single shot. If that sounds like a disengaged Sulaimon, think again.

Sulaimon had four assists without any turnovers, notched a spectacular steal and played lockdown defense.

Here’s what Krzyzewski had to say about the scoreless Sulaimon.

"Rasheed really had a huge impact on the game, with his ball pressure and passing. I’m really pleased with the way he’s played these first two games. He gets the ball downcourt faster than any player on the team."

Duke has a busy week ahead of it and the competition level rachets up significantly. Duke learned about as much about itself as it could in a combined 222-103 dual blowout. Now onto the big time.


Duke has now won 111 consecutive non-conference home games,

Quinn Cook ‘s 17 points give him 1,004 for his Duke career. Cook became the 64th Duke player to hit the 1,000 point mark. Only Louisville and North Carolina, with 67, have more. Cook is one point behind Rick Katherman on the Duke list.

The win is Duke’s 35th consecutive home win, the sixth-largest streak in school history. The record is 46, from January 13, 1997 to February 9, 2000.

Walk-on Nick Paglicua scored his first Duke points on a three-pointer.

Marshall Plumlee made 6-17 from the foul line last season. He’s 4-4 so far this season.