GAME NOTES: The 11th-ranked Duke Blue Devils head north this weekend for an ACC showdown with the Boston College Eagles at the Conte Forum.
Mike Krzyzewski's Blue Devils dropped a crucial game at league-leading Syracuse last weekend (91-89 OT), but came back strong just three days later, blowing out Wake Forest in Durham, 83-63, to move to 7-3 in the ACC, still within striking distance of the unbeaten Orange.
Steve Donahue's Eagles have been out of the conference race for some time. Boston College has lost two straight and five of its last six games overall and fell to 2-7 in the ACC with Wednesday's home loss to nationally-ranked Virginia (77-67).
Duke holds a 16-2 all-time advantage in the series with Boston College and has won seven straight meetings overall.
The Blue Devils are a highly efficient and explosive team at the offensive end of the floor, averaging 81.9 ppg on .472 shooting, which includes a stellar .416 from behind the arc, good for sixth in the country. A couple of first- year additions to the roster get a great deal of the credit, as freshman phenom Jabari Parker and transfer Rodney Hood have been unstoppable at times. Parker has definitely lived up to the hype coming in, as he leads the team in both scoring (18.7 ppg) and rebounding (8.2 rpg). Hood fills it up as well (16.9 ppg) and can score both inside and out. Quinn Cook (12.0 ppg) and Andre Dawkins (10.0 ppg) provide even more firepower. Cook ranks third in the conference in assists (5.3 apg).
Duke showed no ill-effects from the heart-wrenching loss to Syracuse, as the team made light work of local rival Wake Forest this week, shooting just under 51 percent from the floor, while draining 12 3-pointers in the lopsided affair. Parker was once again masterful in the victory, finishing with 21 points and eight rebounds. Rasheed Sulaimon poured in 19 points, while Dawkins finished with 17 in just 19 minutes of work off the bench.
Saddled with a -4.0 scoring margin, it isn't a huge surprise that Boston College is already 10 games under .500 on the year. The losing record doesn't tell the whole tale, as BC possesses a solid nucleus and a young, talented roster. Sophomore guard Olivier Hanlan is a talented scorer at a team-best 17.7 ppg, but his problems have come handling the ball, as his 64 assists are nearly wiped out by his team-high 61 turnovers. Junior forward Ryan Anderson provides frontcourt balance at 15.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. Scoring depth dries up fast after that with only sophomore guard Joe Rahon coming close to double digits at 9.5 ppg.
The Cavaliers went on a 15-0 run in the first half to take a 20-5 lead over the Eagles, who were unable to recover in the 10-point loss. The 67 points scored could actually be considered a mild success against one of the nation's premier defensive squads. Anderson had a strong game, going 8-of-11 from the floor to finish with the game-high 20 points. Hanlan added 14 points to the cause, while Lonnie Jackson tacked on 12.
The Blue Devils can't afford anymore setbacks if they are to make a run at Syracuse and the ACC title. Boston College has played better at home than away this year, but that isn't saying much about a team with only six total victories.
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