No. 8 Duke dismantles ‘Dogs after long layoff
DURHAM, N.C. — Perhaps the most interesting thing that happened in No. 8 Duke’s 85-66 win over Gardner-Webb, after a nearly two-week break for exams, was that some North Carolina fans showed up with Free P.J. signs (as in Hairston, UNC’s best player from last season, who is being held out awaiting an NCAA ruling).
Just part of life on Tobacco Road, where arguably the best rivalry in sports features two schools that are eight miles apart.
In 2012, Duke didn’t pick up loss No. 2 until Jan. 4.
Fortunately for Duke, it crashed the offensive boards and didn’t turn it over much, and still led 53-39 at the break.
“(Gardner-Webb) made an adjustment at halftime. They stopped our transition,” Cook said, referring to the Bulldogs deciding to leave their point guard or shooting guard back to slow the Duke break.
But if Duke’s opponents aren’t missing a ton of shots, it won’t matter. The Blue Devils have to learn to score more effectively in the halfcourt, and stretches of this game showed that, too.
Sulaimon, a sophomore who was on the Naismith Award preseason watch list, had seen at least 13 minutes in every Duke game leading up to the clash with Michigan (healthy DNP).
When Krzyzewski was asked about it on Nov. 29, he said Sulaimon needed to play better to see more time. It was that simple.
Matt Jones is playing as well as anyone on the Duke roster, but even he didn’t see a ton of minutes against Gardner-Webb, thanks to Dawkins’ strong play.