Duke's Parker dazzles in Boston
Jabari Parker put on a show for both college and NBA fans in Boston.
The freshman sensation set career highs with 29 points and 16 rebounds, Quinn Cook hit five 3-pointers and scored 21 points, and No. 11 Duke coasted to an 89-68 win over Boston College on Saturday night.
"Jabari was a monster today with the amount of rebounds and points," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "He wasn't rewarded on the offensive boards with some of his finishes or it could have been a 35-, 36-point game."
Parker shot 12 of 17 from the floor, getting baskets mostly from drives and dunks as the Eagles tried a number of different defenses against him.
"Jabari was really difficult to handle for anyone tonight," Krzyzewski said. "We just tried to give him some different looks. He got quite a bit in transition."
With subtle cheers going up along with "oohs" when he did something exciting, Parker became the main focus of many in the crowd.
There were a large number of Duke fans and, very likely, a good number of Boston Celtics fans interested in getting a live look at Parker as the local NBA franchise looks to rebuild quickly through the draft after dealing veteran stars Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to Brooklyn last summer.
Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge sat courtside.
"I've seen him a lot growing up. I think the thing you don't realize on tape is, he has an extra pop," BC coach Steve Donahue said. "It's 6-8, 235 (pounds). It's an extra quickness that you don't see even in this league, and extra explosiveness."
Rasheed Sulaimon added 10 points for the Blue Devils (19-5, 8-3 Atlantic Coast Conference). Parker extended his Duke freshman record to 14 games with 20 points or more.
"I didn't see a lot of Duke fans," Parker said when asked if he heard the crowd's reaction to some of his plays. "I guess they showed me a little excitement, a little joy."
He was reminded of where Ainge was sitting late in the game by teammate Nick Pagliuca, whose father, Steve, is a managing partner of the Celtics.
Olivier Hanlan led Boston College (6-17, 2-8) with 25 points and Ryan Anderson had 12. The Eagles have dropped 10 of 12, with their only conference wins coming against last-place Virginia Tech.
The Blue Devils put it away with an 18-0 run midway through the second half, improving to 18-2 against unranked teams this season.
"We wanted to pick up the defensive intensity," Cook said. "Hanlan was kind of having his way in the first half."
That defensive intensity, along with Parker, was much more than BC could handle.
"He's a great player. To be so young as a freshman and to be so physically gifted as he is, a lot of things he does is mental," Anderson said. "He just reads the game really well. He played really well tonight."
Following a solid first half, Parker scored 12 of Duke's initial 17 points after halftime as the Blue Devils opened a 56-44 lead on his three-point play with just under 14 minutes to go.
He had a baseline jam on the first possession and followed that with a three-point play when he was fouled on a fast-break layup, pushing Duke's lead to 44-35. He added a fast-break dunk, two free throws and another three-point play.
Following Anderson's free throw that cut it to 44-38, Sulaimon nailed a 3 from the right wing, giving the Blue Devils their first double-digit lead.
When it wasn't Parker for the Blue Devils, on pace to finish with the third-best 3-point shooting mark in school history, it was Cook, Rodney Hood or Sulaimon nailing 3s. Cook's made it 64-44 with just under 11 minutes left.
Parker had a two-handed slam with 5:10 to play and was whistled for a technical for hanging on the rim too long, bringing a smattering of boos from the crowd.
The Blue Devils led 39-35 at halftime.
Parker, who entered second in the ACC in scoring (18.7 points per game) and leading the conference in rebounding (8.2), proved to be as tough as expected for Boston College to handle in the first half when he compiled 10 points and seven rebounds.
The Eagles tried several things in trying to slow Parker in the opening half. They switched defenses three times in the opening 10 minutes, going from man-to-man to zone and even using a box-and-1 at one point. They had guards attempting to play in front of him, forcing lob passes over the top, and had forwards covering him straight up. Still, his 6-foot-8 frame and quickness were on display whenever he got the ball.
Boston College tied it at 16 on Alex Dragicevich's 3-pointer from the right wing, and neither team held more than a one-possession lead the rest of the half. Both shot 50 percent on 3s in the opening 20 minutes.
Duke plays at rival North Carolina in its next game on Wednesday.