DURHAM — It took a young Duke team more than 25 minutes to finally break away from defending CIAA tournament champion Bowie State on Saturday.
But the Blue Devils were the far superior team in the second half.
Mississippi State transfer Rodney Hood poured in 19 points with eight rebounds, leading four players in double figures as Duke rolled 103-67 in exhibition basketball at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Duke, ranked No. 4 in the preseason coaches poll after finishing 30-6 and making the Elite Eight last season, got 16 points and five assists from freshman forward Jabari Parker, while Amile Jefferson added 15 points as did freshman guard Matt Jones off the bench.
Bowie State, which was the surprise winner of the CIAA tournament last season and is picked to win the conference this season, got 17 points from senior forward Brian Freeman and 12 from senior guard Ray Gatling.
The older guys are learning and arent teaching as much, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said of having a young team. When you have older guys whove played a system that youve played, you put younger guys on the spot. Were all learning this new way of playing, a faster way of playing.
Theyll be growing. You have to give time to grow. We got better the second half defensively, and I was really impressed with our unselfishness. They saw guys; their spacing was pretty good. I liked that they looked for one another.
Duke led only 54-40 at halftime as the athletic Bulldogs shot 57.7 percent to the Blue Devils 48.5 and were winning the rebound battle 17-15.
The margin was still only 66-51 following a David Golladay layup with 15:33 to go before Duke went on a 9-0 run and continued to pull away.
Im really proud of my guys, Bowie State coach Darrell Brooks said. I told them that when we came down here, this game isnt going to define us. What is going to define us are the 26 games of the regular season. But I think were headed in the direction we need to go, and Im really proud of my guys for competing with them as long as they did.
Duke shot 45.6 percent to the Bulldogs 43.9 and outrebounded the visitors 43-35. The difference was with turnovers where Duke made just nine turnovers to 23 for Bowie.
The freshmen have been great, just great, Hood said. Matt played tough. Semi (Ojeleye) played tough, getting offensive rebounds and stuff like that. Jabari set the tone with (two dunks in the first 3:14). Its just the first game for everybody.
Were still learning. So many guys can play so many different positions and were just trying to find our way. Its the first exhibition game, the first time playing with each other and against another team, so its going to take some time. But weve for to get back in the gym on Monday and get it right.
Along with Parker and Hood, the Blue Devils started junior guard Quinn Cook, sophomore forward Jefferson and sophomore guard Rasheed Sulaimon, making up the youngest Duke team in a very long time.
It was nice, Parker said. I just wanted to treat it like every other game, but put more importance on it because its college, and its Duke. I feel really comfortable out there. My older teammates just help me with my nerves and get me going in the right way and with the positive attitudes they share with me.
The Blue Devils other exhibition game at home 1 p.m. Saturday against defending NCAA Division II champion Drury. The regular-season opener is at home Nov. 8 against Davidson.