Jabari Parker scored 27 points with 19 coming in the first half alone,however, it wasn’t enough to avoid early season loss to the 5th ranked Kansas Jayhawks 94-83 .
The matchup of top-rated freshmen in Duke’s Parker and Kansas Andrew Wiggins was a battle though not necessarily between the two as they more often than not weren’t even guarding one another until late. Both picked up two fouls in the first half, which limited Wiggins to just 9 first half minutes. Wiggins picked up his 3rd foul early in the second and his 4th at the 7:20 mark,but Parker fouled out with a little over a minute to go and the contest already decided.
The game was close throughout with both teams shooting over 50 percent. Rasheed Sulaimon came on late to help keep Duke close, but it was not enough in the end as Wiggins showed proved some of his freshman hype by hitting some big shots down the stretch.
The highly hyped matchup and game was well worth staying up for the late tip. Numerous lead changes, ties and free throws were the theme for this meeting. Though Kansas handily won the battle of free throws making 77 percent to Duke’s 57 percent. The Blue Devils inability to knock down the freebies cost them as they left at least 12 points at the stripe.
Amile Jefferson scored 17 points but added only 2 rebounds. In addition to Parker’s 27 points he added 9 rebounds and 3 steals. Rodney Hood, the redshirt sophomore scored 11 points and 4 assists. This was not the offensive performance Duke put forth against Davidson, but did the trick this time around.
Kansas was lead by Perry Ellis, who despite not getting nearly the hype as Wiggins, scored 24 points and 7 rebounds and was clearly the difference maker for the Jayhawks throughout. Wiggins managed to add 22 points and 10 rebounds, but was absent for much of the game due to the early foul trouble, but was in at the end just enough to help Kansas pull away.
Duke clearly has a lot of work do do in several facets of the game including free throw shooting, rebounding– the Blue Devils were badly outrebounded by Kansas 39 to 24–and on defense where the Blue Devils showed more instances of matador defense that the staunch defense that the program has become known for.
Despite the loss, their isn’t much that can be gleaned from a loss to a highly rated in the second game of the year. Duke fans aren’t accustomed to loses early, especially in November, and many may not know what to make. Still this is a very solid team that if they can sure up some things could get another shot down the line at Kansas.
The Blue Devils don’t get much time to sulk as they have to head back to Durham for a game with Florida Atlantic ahead of the Preseason NIT which features a potential matchup with a highly ranked Arizona team. That tournament begins November 18 when Duke takes on UNC-Asheville in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
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