Andre Dawkins' 3s power Duke over Elon in tuneup for ACC

CorrespondentDecember 31, 2013 

— Duke’s offense lived up to its reputation Tuesday against Elon, scoring 80 or more points for the fourth consecutive game and 10th time this season.

Yet it was the seventh-ranked Blue Devils’ defense that provided the difference, holding the Phoenix to its lowest-scoring game of the season in an 86-48 Duke victory at the Greensboro Coliseum.

Andre Dawkins hit five 3-pointers and scored 15 points, and four other players finished in double figures for the Blue Devils (11-2), who shot 48.5 percent (32 of 66) and hit 10 of 19 3-pointers.

Rodney Hood added 13 points, Jabari Parker had 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Quinn Cook and Rasheed Sulaimon each scored 11 points for Duke, which heads into the New Year – and its ACC opener Saturday at Notre Dame – riding a five-game winning streak.

“It was definitely a team effort, on both the defensive end and offensive end,” said Dawkins, who hit his first four 3-pointers in the first half as the Blue Devils led by as many as 22 points.

“We weren’t worried about who scored, we knew we were just putting points up. And everybody was working together on defense to get stops,” Dawkins added.

Duke held Elon (7-7) – which averaged 81.4 points per game – to its lowest-scoring game in almost two years. It also was the Phoenix’s worst shooting game (35.2 percent) and second-worst 3-point shooting percentage (23.8 percent) this season, and its 22 turnovers were also a season high.

“Our defense was outstanding,” Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “They didn’t get very many open looks. You can’t let them shoot 3s, and that’s what we didn’t let them do.

“They can be very difficult to defend, because they can spread you out. … But our kids played so hard. It was one of those days where everybody played hard and well, and they embraced playing defense.”

Lucas Troutman and Ryley Beaumont – Elon’s No. 1 and No. 4 scorers at 15.5 and 10.2 points per game, respectively – had 11 points each for the Phoenix.

Meanwhile, No. 2 scorer Sebastian Koch, who averages 13.9 points per game, was held to two points on 1 of 5 shooting. No. 3 scorer Tanner Samson (12.9 ppg) finished with just three points on 1 of 6 shooting.

“We didn’t want to give them any easy looks,” Hood said. “Our bigs did a great job of playing 1 on 1 in the post. Our defensive effort was great.”

It also allowed Duke’s offense a little free rein, building its first double-digit lead over Elon six minutes into the first half. The Blue Devils went on to lead 35-18 at the halftime breakand pulled ahead by as many as 39 points late in the second half.

“I wish we would have played better, but I’m not sure if playing better today would have been enough,” said Phoenix coach Matt Matheny, whose team was coming off a 10-day break.

“Duke was really, really good. Dawkins’ 3s were daggers … but the big thing in the game was their defense. We struggled to get into our offense. We had no rhythm, we had no flow. It wasn’t unexpected; they were just more effective at it than we hoped.”

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