After 12 games off and final exams, the Duke men’s basketball team struggled at times with their defense, but offensively were on point as they beat visiting Gardner-Webb, 85-66. It was their 23rd straight home victory.
The Blue Devils led 53-39 at the half, but blew a 21 point lead with about five minutes left in the first half. Duke had 14 assists on 20 made first half field goals (58.8% shooting). The Blue Devils also protected the ball: just three turnovers.
Things did not go as smoothly in the second half, as they only out-scored G-W 32-27. Gardner-Webb ended up shooting 54% from the field (27-of-40). The Blue Devils only had four second half assists and committed eight turnovers.
Quinn Cook was one assist away from a double-double in the first half: 11 points and nine assists, but did not have an assist in the second half and committed four turnovers.
Until Duke gets some size inside, freshman Jabari Parker will continue to get beat up inside. He finished with 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting. He also hauled in six rebounds. However, he needs some help inside if Coach K expects 20+ points a game from the kid once conference play begins.
Rodney Hood had his normal game: 15 points and was perfect from the free throw line.
Duke did get some production from the bench, but most of it came via guard Andre Dawkins. He scored 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Amile Jefferson only scored four points, but hauled in ten rebounds, five on the offensive end.
For Gardner-Webb, Tyler Strange finished with 11 points, three rebounds, and five assists (to just one turnover). However, he had all of his assists in the first half. Despite fouling out, Jerome Hill scored a career-high 22 points on 9-of-10 shooting. He also hauled in nine rebounds and blocked two shots. Naji Hibbert scored 12 points and Donta Harper chipped in 13 points.
The Blue Devils now head back to Madison Square Garden in NY to play newly ranked UCLA on Thursday night.