Duke turned in their worst performance of the season, but a combined 51 points from Rodney Hood and Jabari Parker lifted the Blue Devils to an 83-74 victory over East Carolina in Durham.
The contest seemed to be heading towards a blowout when the Blue Devils jumped out to a 27-11 lead after ten minutes, thanks in large part to 8 points and 5 assists from Quinn Cook. It was at this point, though, when the Pirates would turn the game around and pose a major threat to a sluggish and seemingly unprepared Duke team.
A 10-3 run, capped off by an Akeem Richmond three-pointer, pulled them within nine and set the tone defensively, as Duke was only able to score two points in the final 3:14 of the first half.
The second half would see the development of an all-out dogfight between the two–a result of a poor defensive effort from Duke and a particularly stingy zone defense from the Pirates– with ECU frequently finding themselves within one or two possessions of the Blue Devils. And they would never go away.
Even when Parker and Hood took complete control of the offense down the stretch, the Pirates hung tough and managed to put themselves in a position to pull off the upset. It wasn’t until Rasheed Sulaimon sank two free throws to put Duke up 81-72 at the 00:49 mark that the whole team began to breathe a little easier and Duke’s non-conference winning streak at home seemed a little safer.
On the bright side, it was a mesmerizing performance from Hood, who turned in a career-high 30 points on 8-10 shooting and a perfect 12-12 performance from the free throw line.
Parker was also phenomenal, scoring 21 points and pulling off numerous clutch plays on both ends of the court. He was also Duke’s only resemblance of a presence in the paint, blocking six shots and grabbing nine rebounds, every one of which ended up being pretty necessary.
For ECU, it was a much more well-rounded scoring performance, as Prince Williams (15), Akeem Richmond (13), Paris Roberts-Campbell (11), and Antonio Robinson (13) all finished with double-digits.
With the result, both teams’ records both stand at 4-1, with Duke having lost to Kansas last week.