The fourth ranked Duke men’s basketball team lost to fifth ranked Kansas, 94-83, in the second game of the Champions Classic (number two Michigan State beat number one Kentucky earlier in the night in Chicago). The Jayhawks used a 15-4 run to take the lead and pull away with the win.
In the battle of the top two freshmen in the country, both showed off their skills but only one came up victorious.
The Blue Devils only led 42-40 at the half, despite putting the Jayhawks in foul trouble. Much of that was because Duke made only six of their 13 free throw attempts. Both teams shot over 50% in the first half (and in the game), so defense was not really a factor. The Duke defense did force eight first half turnovers (but only two in the second half).
The Blue Devils were led by freshmen sensation Jabari Parker, who scored 19 points on 6-of-10 shooting in the first half in his homecoming. He did not have as good of a second half. Parker finished with 27 points on 9-of-18 shooting. He fouled out, the first time in his collegiate career. Tyler Thornton also fouled out and only scored four points.
Parker‘s freshman counterpart, Andrew Wiggins, was non-existent in the first half because of foul trouble (six points on 3-of-5 shooting). However, he came out strong in the second half, scoring 16 points and he hauled in six second half rebounds (ten total). He was a main reason for the Jayhawks comeback.
Rasheed Sulaimon, who many believed would need to be a big factor, WAS in the second half. He scored 11 of his 13 points in the second half. However, it was not enough. He was the lone factor off the Duke bench (just 15 total points). Amile Jefferson also contributed, scoring ten of his 17 points in the second half (7-of-8 shooting overall).
Rodney Hood struggled with the big game and the big lights. He made just 3-of-8 shots for 11 points. He did dish out four assists, but also committed four turnovers.
Duke was just out-played, especially in the second half. They got killed on the boards, 39-24. Kansas also won the battle at the free throw line, as they made 27-of-35 compared to Duke’s 16-of-28.
Perry Ellis was the x-factor for Kansas, as he scored 24 points on 9-of-13 shooting. He also hauled in seven rebounds. Frank Mason contributed 15 points off the bench, scoring 11 of those points from the free throw line.
Duke will look to get back on track and hopefully play some defense when they host Florida Atlantic at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Friday night.