Okafor too much down stretch as No. 4 Duke tops Stanford
NEW YORK -- Johnny Dawkins walked over to Mike Krzyzewski and gave his former coach and mentor a hug after No. 4 Duke beat his Stanford team in the title game of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.
One thing was clear: Dawkins knows Coach K's young team is a powerhouse.
Freshman center Jahlil Okafor had 10 points and 12 rebounds and dominated the closing minutes as No. 4 Duke took the title with a 70-59 victory Saturday night.
''We got beat by a very good team,'' Dawkins said after his first coaching matchup with Krzyzewski. ''Duke played very well. They're a very good team. Definitely the best team we played this year.''
Not only is this team talented, it might be one of Krzyzewski's most athletic groups and it has a dominant big man in the middle.
Fellow freshman Justise Winslow added 14 points and nine rebounds, tournament MVP Quinn Cook had 18 points, and Matt Jones came off the bench to add 10 points for Duke (5-0).
''To be 5-0 after these eight days is really good,'' Krzyzewski said.
Chasson Randle scored 22 to lead Stanford (3-1). Stefan Nastic had 13 points and 13 rebounds before picking up his fifth foul trying to stop the athletic, 6-foot-11 Okafor from going to the basket.
Okafor was amazing down the stretch, scoring eight points, grabbing six rebounds and making life miserable in the lane for anyone wearing red.
''He's a target. From last night, we forced too much,'' Krzyzewski said of Okafor. ''He forced it. He didn't pass it out. We showed him and told him to kick it out. Tonight he was a facilitator and still got buckets.''
Winslow and Cook helped Duke build a 15-point lead in the second half, but it was Okafor who slammed the door on Stanford after it closed to 51-43 on a floater by Randle with 10:55 to play.
Okafor pushed the lead to 10 with a layup with 9 minutes to play and then got the crowd of 10,046 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn excited with a slam dunk after a wonderful pick-and-roll play.
Two free throws by Randle reduced the margin to 10, but Okafor made up for a missed shot by contesting a shot in the paint, which led to a 3-pointer by Jones for a 58-45 lead.
Okafor followed a miss on a fast break to push the lead to 15 and later gave fans something to remember with a monster block on a shot inside by Reid Travis with about four minutes to play.
''Those guys, they go out there, they're like seniors,'' said Cook, who hit four of Duke's nine 3-pointers. ''The way they play, their maturity, and when Stanford made their run to about eight, man, a sophomore makes a big-time shot and Jah gets two big plays and makes some big rebounds.''
Stanford, which led from start to finish in beating UNLV in the semifinals Friday, led for 11 seconds against Duke. The Cardinal trailed by as many as 17 points against a Blue Devils team that starts three freshmen but plays as if it has five seniors on the court.
Stanford: Stanford has played in six preseason tournaments and never won one. This is the fourth time it has finished second, and it marks its first loss to Duke in three meetings overall.
Duke: This was the 20th time Krzyzewski coached against a team led by one of his former assistants. He is 19-1, with the only loss coming to Mike Brey at Notre Dame last season.
Stanford: Hosts Delaware on Tuesday.
Duke: Hosts Furman on Wednesday.
THE OTHER DUKE FRESHMAN
Duke point guard Tyus Jones didn't shoot the ball well in the tournament, going 1 of 13 from the field. Krzyzewski said once Tyus Jones starts hitting shots, Duke will be even better.
FROM LONG RANGE
After making 14 of 20 3-pointers Friday night against UNLV, the Cardinal went 3 of 14 against Duke.