Jahil Okafor leads No. 4 Duke over Furman with 24 points
It takes a certain level of humility to play with Duke freshman Jahlil Okafor.
Amile Jefferson is figuring that out — and that led to a big game for both of them.
Okafor had a season-high 24 points and Jefferson added 16 with 12 rebounds in No. 4 Duke’s 93-54 rout of Furman on Wednesday night.
The 6-foot-11 Okafor, a preseason Associated Press All-America selection, routinely draws double teams in the low post and that generally means less attention on Duke’s other big men.
"They’re going to play off of Amile, so you’ve got to be careful not to lose your ego that someone’s not playing you," coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "But then take advantage of it, instead of being insulted by it, and figuring out what that means. The more they play together, the more he’ll figure that out."
The Blue Devils (6-0) had little trouble remaining unbeaten, shooting 58 percent while holding the Paladins to 34 percent from the floor.
Kendrec Ferrara had 13 points and Stephen Croone added 12 for Furman (1-3).
The Paladins have only one player taller than 6-8 on the roster — Ferrara, who’s 6-9 — and that made defending Okafor a tough job.
Duke outscored Furman 54-18 in the paint and held a 40-27 rebounding advantage. The Paladins made just 34 percent of their shots from 2-point range.
Okafor finished 12 of 14 and has made 29 of his 34 shots in three games at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Matt Jones had 13 points and Quinn Cook added 11 for the Blue Devils, who were coming off a five-day stretch in which they earned three straight double-figure wins against name-brand programs on neutral courts.
Back at cozy Cameron, they hadn’t been tested — or even held under 100 points — in their first two home games.
Furman only did one of those things.
Duke had a double-figure lead before the Paladins hit their first field goal, then used a 22-7 run to push its lead into the 20s for good Jefferson scored 12 points during the half — and both started and finished that spurt with buckets near the rim.
Okafor had 10 during the half, which ended on Grayson Allen’s 3 that made it 50-22 at the break, and it got no more competitive in the final 20 minutes.
"That’s the way to respond, coming off five games in eight days," Jefferson said. "Our team showed great maturity coming back to Cameron, creating energy and getting the crowd into it."
For those who value score comparisons, consider this: Furman’s only victory this season came by 19 points against the same Appalachian State team that went on to beat Virginia Tech of the ACC.
Furman’s troubles scoring in the paint even extended to when none of the bigger, taller Blue Devils were around. With Duke up by 35 in the second half, Croone had an open-court dunk — but left it short and clanging it off the front rim. He also missed two putback layups after a few Duke defenders got back downcourt.
Duke: The Blue Devils’ three home wins have come by an average of almost 53 points. They extended the nation’s longest home winning streak to 36. They also won their 112th straight at Cameron Indoor Stadium against non-Atlantic Coast Conference visitors.
Furman: The Paladins have not beaten an ACC school since topping Florida State in overtime in 2000-01.