Rushed Reactions: #7 Duke 75, N.C. State 67Posted by Brad Jenkins (@bradjenk) on March 15th, 2014
ACC Microsite writers Matt Patton and Brad Jenkins will be reporting live from Greensboro at the 2014 ACC Tournament throughout the week.
Three Key Takeaways in Duke’s ACC Semi-Final win.
- Duke’s offense is good enough to carry the Blue Devils to the Final Four – and it will have to. When Duke is clicking like it was on Saturday, they are tough for even good defenses to handle. In scoring an impressive 1.36 points per possession, the balanced Blue Devils were too much for a weary N.C. State team to overcome. Not only did Jabari Parker (20 points) and Rodney Hood (14) score well, but Duke also got 16 points from Rasheed Sulaimon and 14 more from Quinn Cook off the bench. But the Blue Devils’ defense kept the Wolfpack close in the first half, allowing a sizzling 66.7 percent shooting and only forcing four turnovers. The second half was a different story, as N.C. State only shot 35.5 percent, but a lot of that has got to be attributed to the Wolfpack having weary legs after playing their third game in three days.
- N.C. State ran out of gas. This is no surprise but still must be pointed out. The second half of the third tough game in a row is usually when you start to see the legs go, and that was the case today. Not only did the Wolfpack hang with Duke in the first half, but they could have easily had a nice lead at the break. At one point close to halftime, N.C. State was shooting over 70 percent from the field, only had one turnover, and the team fouls were in there favor (+4), but the score was tied. That probably was a little demoralizing to the young N.C. State team, and when Duke spurted ahead by double figures in the second half, the tired Wolfpack shooters couldn’t keep up, going 1-of-10 on second half three pointers.
- Two stars are better than one. T.J. Warren was sensational again, making contested shots time and again on the way to 21 points and eight rebounds for the game. But Duke’s star forward duo of Parker and Hood was enough to more than offset Warren’s effort. Hood made Warren work hard for everything, holding the ACC Player of the Year to under 50 percent shooting, 10-of-22. On the other end, N.C. State had its hands full trying to focus on the two Duke stars. That attention created openings for the Blue Devils guards which were exploited by Sulaimon on the drive, and Cook from long range (3-of-4 on threes). N.C. State got nice contributions from some surprising sources early, including eight first half points each from Anthony Barber and Lennard Freeman off the bench. But the Wolfpack needed a better shooting game from Ralston Turner (2-of-10), the team’s second leading scorer, to support their star.
Star of the Game. Jabari Parker, Duke. Probably playing in his only ACC Tournament, Parker bounced back from an average Friday performance to lead the way with 20 points and eight rebounds. His offensive rebound and dunk off a missed free throw gave Duke a 10-point lead and helped put the game away when it looked like N.C. State was making a run.
- “I don’t understand it. They’re a tough out.” – Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, commenting on the fact that N.C. State may not get in the NCAA Tournament.
- “We’re really disappointed but really proud. We showed we certainly belong in the field of 68” – N.C. State’s Mark Gottfried, on the Wolfpack’s performance.
- “He just wants to win. But also, Jabari just wants to win. And they both know that. There’s no jealousies at all, not just with these two guys but with any of the guys on the team” – Krzyzewski, on how Rodney Hood deals with being in the shadow of Jabari Parker.
Sights and Sounds. While there were an equal amount of Duke and N.C. State fans in attendance, the Wolfpack’s underdog status once again made this is very pro-N.C. State arena this afternoon. Obvious the Virginia folks were pulling for N.C. State, but so were all the rest of the “neutral” people in the building.
- Duke will play regular season champ Virginia in the ACC Championship game (Sunday – 1:00 PM ET). At stake may also be a #2 or #3 seed in the East Region of the NCAA Tournament. That could affect Duke’s hope to be placed in Raleigh for its first two games.
- N.C. State keeps its NCAA Tourney bid hopes alive, but most of the experts do not have them making it. At least they certainly have earned an NIT bid, so either way we will get to see T.J. Warren play at least one more game, possibly more than that, in college.