Misleading numbers made some people think that UCLA were going to put up a fight against Duke due to the similar records. It turns out the folks of the AP Poll knew what they were doing with Duke coming in as #8 into the game, while the Bruins weren’t even ranked. Jabari Parker, with an impressive double-double, made sure the second half was the end of all the debate.
Duke have lost most of their big games so far this season, but maybe beating Michigan provided some sort of turning point, as the team has gone on to win three in a row, all in double digits, since their loss to Arizona. Parker scored 23 points, adding 10 rebounds and 5 assists in what has become the norm for who might be the most talented Freshman in the country. He was 7-of-13 from the field, including 4-of-8 from beyond the arc, leaving everyone quite impressed, especially those who don’t get to see him too often.
He’s gifted. He’s got a lot of smoothness to him. He can be a big guard or post you. You don’t see a lot who are this polished 10, 11 games into the year. It’s tough to say who is the best player on the floor, especially with that team and our group of guys, but he played really well. We wanted to shut him down but he’s tough.
UCLA were right in there with Duke for the first half, but Duke went on a 16-4 run early in the second half to make this game look like between two schools who don’t really belong together, Duke winning 80-63. The UCLA 2-3 zone was constantly tested by Duke, hitting 11 3-points (on a 34.4% success rate), grabbing 10 offensive rebounds that helped them get over the mediocre accuracy issues.
On defense, Quinn Cook was the man for Duke. The Junior played all 40 minutes of the game, staying very close to Kyle Anderson all across the 94 feet of the court. Anderson did finish with 15 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists and 5 steals but also turned the ball over six times as Cook finished with 8 steals in the game, bringing the kind of pressure UCLA, not building the most difficult of schedules before going into Pac-12 territory, aren’t used to seeing this season.
Duke have now won 23 straight games in the month of December, while Coach K is 8-1 against the Bruins. They re 2-1 at Madison Square Garden this season, having beaten Alabama and lost to Arizona in the NIT Season Tip-Off in November.