Parker powers Devils

JIM O'CONNELL AP Basketball Writer Published:

NEW YORK (AP) -- It was an average performance from Jabari Parker, and it drew praise worthy of another stellar effort by the Duke freshman.

"He's a natural," Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski said after Parker had 23 points and 10 rebounds in an 80-63 victory over UCLA on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. "In different sports there are people who are naturals. Jabari is a natural. He can become even better. He embraces the moment."

Bruins coach Steve Alford was impressed with the 6-foot-8 Chicago native.

"He's gifted. He's got a lot of smoothness to him. He can be a big guard or post you," the first-year UCLA coach said. "You don't see a lot who are this polished 10, 11 games into the year."

UCLA sophomore guard Kyle Anderson jumped in on the praise.

"It's tough to say who is the best player on the floor, especially with that team and our group of guys, but he played really well," said Anderson, who had another all-around game for the Bruins. "We wanted to shut him down but he's tough."

Parker was 7 of 13 from the field, including a 4-for-8 performance from 3-point range. He also was 5 of 5 at the free throw line and had five assists while scoring at least 20 points for the ninth time in his 11 college games.

He hit a big 3 and had an impressive dunk during Duke's 16-4 run that broke open a tie game in the second half.

"I'm just going to do whatever it takes to win," Parker said. "I don't have to take 20 shots for us to win, I can as long as they're good shots. I'm just learning to play the proper role right now."

The Blue Devils (9-2) poked and prodded UCLA's 2-3 zone from the perimeter, making 11 3-pointers in a season-high 32 attempts from beyond the arc.

Rodney Hood and Quinn Cook both had 14 points for the Blue Devils. Cook had five assists and all eight of Duke's steals.

"We did a good job hitting Amile (Jefferson) in the middle of the zone and he became the toss-back guy," Krzyzewski said. "He got the ball right back to guys and they got rhythm shots."

David Wear led the Bruins (9-2) with 16 points and Anderson, who has taken over at point guard, had 15 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. He entered the game averaging 13.8 points, 8.7 rebounds and 6.7 assists.

"Quinn Cook did a good job of pressuring the ball. That 94 feet of pressure is tough," said Anderson, who had six turnovers. "They didn't let us execute our offense. Duke's signature is the pressure defense, That's what they want to do and we fell into it."

UCLA's zone kept the Bruins in the game. Wear, who went 4 for 4 from beyond the arc, made a 3 to tie it at 43 with 17:58 to play.

Duke suddenly began to connect from outside with consistency and Hood hit two 3s and Parker added another in a 16-4 run that put the Blue Devils up 61-49 with 11:33 to go.

The Bruins twice got within eight points, but they got no closer in front of the crowd of 15,410.

UCLA, which entered the game averaging 85.1 points, was 8 of 22 from 3-point range. Justin Adams, the Bruins' leading scorer coming in with a 21.2 average, was held to 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting.

"I thought they did a really good job on him," Alford said. "This was the first time this season he's been held like that, containing him and keeping him off the free throw line."

The win was Duke's 23rd straight in the month of December and lifted Krzyzewski to an 8-1 record against UCLA.

The Blue Devils are 2-1 at Madison Square Garden this season having beaten Alabama and lost to Arizona in the NIT Season Tip-Off in November. Duke's other loss this season was to Kansas.

UCLA's other loss was at Missouri.

No. 1 ARIZONA 69, SOUTHERN 43

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Aaron Gordon scored 21 points, Nick Johnson added 17 and Arizona opened its second week at No. 1 with a 69-43 rout over Southern.

Arizona (12-0) had no trouble with the Jaguars early on, racing out to a 15-point halftime lead while playing without injured center Kaleb Tarczewski. The second half wasn't quite as smooth and the Wildcats went 22 of 37 on free throws, but it was good enough to get them to 12-0 for the second straight season.

Brandon Ashley had 11 points and 10 rebounds for Arizona.

Southern (3-8) fought back after a miserable first half, but fell in too deep of a hole to make a game of it. Malcolm Miller and Calvin Godfrey had 11 points each for the Jaguars.

OHIO COLLEGES

DAYTON 96, IONA 84

DAYTON -- Dyshawn Pierre scored 22 points and grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds as Dayton handled Iona 96-84.

Dayton (9-2) never trailed, leading by as many as 15 points in the first half and extending a nine-point halftime lead to as many as 23 points in the second half. The Flyers shot 55.4 percent from the field and were 8 for 20 on 3-pointers. Khari Price was 4 for 5 from beyond the arc and scored 16 points.

Vee Sanford added 17 points for Dayton, coming off the bench and going 8 for 11 from the field. Dayton outscored Iona 38-10 in bench points.

Iona (5-4) shot 51.7 percent from the field and shot 12 for 26 on 3-pointers but was out-rebounded 40-26 by the Flyers.

A.J. English went 8 for 10 from beyond the arc and had a career-high 30 points for the Gaels, while Sean Armand added 20 points.

WRIGHT STATE 70, EASTERN ILLINOIS 43

DAYTON -- Wright State had eight players score at least seven points Thursday night, riding a balanced attack to a 70-43 rout of Eastern Illinois.

Chrishawn Hopkins and Miles Dixon led Wright State (6-7) with nine points apiece as the Raiders shot 54.5 percent from the field and snapped a four-game losing streak. Reggie Arceneaux and Cole Darling each added eight points while four players finished with seven for Wright State.

The Raiders shot 7 for 13 from beyond the arc and were 15 for 18 on free throws.

Down 21-19 in the first half, Wright State scored 10 straight points and never trailed again. Leading by 12 midway through the second half, the Raiders went on an 18-2 run to extend their lead to 65-37.

Sherman Blanford had 15 points for Eastern Illinois, which dropped its fifth straight game.

Want to leave your comments?

Sign in or Register to comment.