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October 26, 2013DURHAM, N.C. -- Duke basketball opened its exhibition schedule Saturday afternoon against Bowie State, and eventually walked off the court with a commanding 103-67 victory.
Duke freshman Jabari Parker scored the team's first six points, and ignited what would become an offensive onslaught from the Blue Devils. The Devils' new high-tempo style of play required some time for the team to adjust and get on the same page, but once it did, things ran smoothly, at least for the most part.
The offense finished the game shooting just 45.6 percent from the floor, but the Blue Devils' shots were good looks. Some just weren't falling. From that regard, head coach Mike Krzyzewski was happy with what his team was doing on the offensive end of the floor.
"We were really good at sharing the ball," Krzyzewski. "I was very impressed with our unselfishness. Not that I think we're selfish, but they saw guys, our spacing was pretty good. They looked for one another. I liked that."
Duke's biggest struggle on the offensive end came from beyond the three-point line, where the Blue Devils connected on just 23.3 percent for the game.
According to Krzyzewski, that was not a concern. With this being the opening game of the season - an exhibition at that - coupled with the Blue Devils fast style of play on both ends of the court, missed shots are not necessarily a huge surprise.
Krzyzewski felt like his team took good shots with most of them from the perimeter qualifying as "good shots."
"We had a lot of open shots," he said. "We were 7 for 30 from three, but I thought we took good shots."
While Parker was the one that set the tone early for Duke, it was Rodney Hood that began to assert himself and show he is capable of taking over a game.
After struggling to find his shot early, Hood began to find a comfort zone and once he did, he was finding the bottom of the net often. At that point, Bowie State had no answer for the Blue Devils' forward.
Hood eventually finished as the game's leading scorer with 19 points on 6-of-10 shooting. Three of his four misses came from beyond the 3-point line. In addition to his 19 points, Hood led Duke in rebounds with eight. He also posted four rebounds.
"Rodney was so excited about this game," Krzyzewski said. "He was throwing up before the game - not because he was sick, but he wanted to do well."
Hood wasn't the only player that did well on Saturday.
Parker did not show many signs of being a freshman. He finished with 16 points, five assists, four rebounds, four steals and three blocks. Offensively, he connected on 6-of-9 shots. He was every where and he was impacting the game in every possible way.
His ability to make plays all over the floor clearly presented a challenge for Bowie State.
In addition to Hood and Parker, Amile Jefferson quietly made his presence felt. Improvements in his body control, strength and understanding of the game are extremely evident and the result was 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting in just 16 minutes of action. He also pulled down four rebounds.
Freshman Matt Jones also ha a strong start to his career for Duke. He played a surprisingly high number of minutes - 20, which proved to be the fourth most on the team. During those minutes, Jones scored 15 points, which included two three-pointers. H also notched four rebounds to help the Blue Devils along.
Fellow freshman Semi Ojeleye scored three points and pulled down six rebounds in just 11 minutes, while senior Josh Hairston added five points and six boards in 12 minutes.
As one might expect, Tyler Thornton got into the action defensively, posting four steals. He also added four assists on offense.
Duke's next game will be Saturday, Nov. 2, when it hosts Drury, the reigning Division II national champion at 1 p.m.