Durham, NC (SportsNetwork.com) - Jabari Parker poured in 21 points to lead the eighth-ranked Duke Blue Devils to an 85-66 triumph over the Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs.
Andre Dawkins netted 18 and Quinn Cook and Rodney Hood scored 16 and 15 points, respectively, for Duke (8-2), which will face UCLA on Thursday at Madison Square Garden as part of the CARQUEST Auto Parts Classic. Cook also added nine assists.
"Just guys staying hungry and we are hungry. Those two losses at the beginning of the year hurt. Guys like me, Josh [Hairston], Tyler [Thornton], we're used to getting our first loss in January or February. We have two right now, so guys are staying hungry and we just want to keep getting better daily." said Cook of what Duke needs to do to continue to improve.
Jerome Hill had a game-high 22 points and nine rebounds and Donta Harper scored 13 points for the Runnin' Bulldogs (6-6), who will face Georgia on Thursday. Naji Hibbert added 12 points and Tyler Strange contributed 11 points.
"Jerome was good, 9-of-10. He was terrific on the offensive end. They were switching pick-and-rolls and he was able to score a little bit on those switches. But at the end of the day, we didn't rebound it well enough. We didn't defend well enough to keep it close. But he was great, he was great offensively." said Gardner-Webb head coach Tim Craft of Jerome Hill's success.
The teams traded baskets for the first 2:13 of the game and they were tied 7-7, with 15:52 left in the first half. A pair of Parker free throws broke the tie and sparked a 28-11 burst. The Blue Devils' run made the score 35-18 with 9:14 left in the half.
The Runnin' Bulldogs responded with a 5-2 run, but the Blue Devils fired right back with a 9-2 surge to make the score 46-25 before taking a 53-39 lead into the break.
Gardner-Webb used a small 5-3 swing to pull within 12, 56-44, early in the second half, but Duke used an 18-7 run to go up 74-51 before cruising to victory.
"We looked pretty good. In the second half we could have built upon our lead. We got them into a comfortable place and then we didn't put it on the gas. We kind of shied away from being aggressive and trying to get them into an uncomfortable position." said Parker.
Parker is the first Duke freshman since Jason Williams in 1999-2000 to open his career by scoring in double figures in 10 straight games ... Duke won its 108th straight non-conference game at Cameron Indoor Stadium ... The Blue Devils have won 22 straight games against current Big South opponents ... The Runnin' Bulldogs have lost their last eight games against ranked opponents.