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The freshman phenom scored a season-high 30 points and added 11 rebounds in the fourth-ranked Blue Devils’ 93-81 win over No. 14 North Carolina on Saturday night.
In leading Duke in both scoring and rebounding all season, he hasn’t looked like a first-year player very often.
And he doesn’t want to be called one, either.
“No more freshman,” he said. “I don’t like getting in that category anymore because my team needs me more than just an 18-year-old. They need somebody with experience through the whole game. … It’s time to grow up.”
Rodney Hood added 24 points to help Duke (24-7, 13-5) end the Tar Heels’ 12-game winning streak and clinch the No. 3 seed in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament.
Duke never trailed, shot 51 percent — 57 percent in the second half — and dominated the ACC’s best team on the glass, outrebounding North Carolina 34-20.
“I think at the end of the day, it just came down to our want-to against their want-to, and it just wasn’t there — the sense of urgency,” North Carolina big man James Michael McAdoo said.
They shot nearly 60 percent but couldn’t overcome their disadvantage on the glass and are locked into the No. 4 seed in the league tournament.
Leslie McDonald added 12 points for North Carolina, which was denied its fourth win over a top-five team, but briefly made things tense in the final minutes when Paige converted a four-point play to make it 81-73 with 2:50 left.
But the Tar Heels’ point guard missed 3s on the next two possessions — with Parker blocking the second of those with 2 minutes left.
Cook finished with 11 points and Rasheed Sulaimon added 10.
And in what might have been his finale at Cameron Indoor Stadium, Parker put on quite a show.
“It’s hard to say what `it’ is,” North Carolina coach Roy Williams said, referring to an intangible quality coach Mike Krzyzewski had chided Duke for being without in its loss to UNC.
“But whatever the hell `it’ is, Jabari found it,” Williams added.
Parker hit 10 of his 17 shots, cracked his previous high of 29 points set last month at Boston College and showed off all the skills that have him as a likely high NBA draft pick — should he decide to forgo his final three seasons of college eligibility and turn pro.
But he says he has time to make that decision.
“Mostly what I’m focusing on is to do as much as possible with these guys (during) my time here,” Parker said.
Parker set the tone early by converting repeatedly around the rim, and he hit two of his four attempts from 3-point range — including one from the corner that gave Duke its largest lead, 74-55, with 8 minutes left.
“I just thought he had his best spirit to score tonight that he’s had all season, because they’re really good, and at times he just wasn’t going to be denied,” Krzyzewski said. “And then, boom, boom, boom, you hit those 3s (and) that lead can go to double digits quick.”
Indeed, when those 3s are falling, the Blue Devils are tough to beat.
When they’re not, Duke is usually in trouble.
The Blue Devils were only 5 of 22 from long range in their 74-66 loss in Chapel Hill. They made just 6 of 27 from beyond the arc in a 10-point loss at Wake Forest on Wednesday night.
In this one, Duke missed 12 of its first 14 3-pointers and held a tenuous 47-39 lead when pesky senior guard Tyler Thornton picked up his fourth foul with 17:11 left.
Cook came on to replace him and immediately hit a straightaway 3 that started the Blue Devils’ big burst.
“It was good to see the ball go in for the first time,” Cook said, adding that Parker “told me he was going to hit me as soon as I came in the game. That’s just the trust we have in each other.”
Andre Dawkins followed with another one from the corner to help the Blue Devils open up a 53-41 lead.
Parker then added a jumper and two free throws before Cook hit and up-and-under layup. And Hood then followed that with a 3 with 14 minutes left to give Duke its largest lead to that point, 62-46.
That shot whipped an already amped-up Cameron crowd — which included Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett and his quarterback, an apparent Blue Devils fan, Tony Romo cheering enthusiastically from behind the scorers’ table — into an absolute frenzy.
There were plenty of famous faces in the crowd for the latest renewal of college basketball’s fiercest rivalry: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell — wearing a Duke sweater — watched from one baseline, while former Oklahoma coaches Barry Switzer and Billy Tubbs sat on the other one.
And Hood and Parker kept them entertained all night.
“Jabari was sensational, and so was Rodney,” Krzyzewski said. “This is the first game where the two of them were sensational together. They’ve both been good together, but they were sensational together.”
Doug McDermott, the already legendary Creighton forward and surefire three-time First Team All-American, made history at his Senior Night in Omaha Saturday.
McDermott became the eighth person in men’s Division I basketball history to reach the 3,000-point mark. He needed 34 points to get there, and he crossed that point by draining a 3-pointer from NBA range with 11:27 to go to make it a 68-45 Creighton lead. That put him at 3,001 points for his Bluejays career.
Creighton went on to win 88-73 over Providence and improve to 24-6.
McDermott made history in what was announced as a record-setting crowd at the CenturyLink Center. He walked off the floor with his fellow seniors to a standing ovation with 1:13 to go — after scoring a career-high 45 points. An incredible, unforgettable night. McDermott was able to pass Hersey Hawkins in addition to Oscar Robertson on the all-time scoring list on the same night.
Here’s his company, in the 3K club. McDermott will have a chance to crack top four on this list if Creighton is able to win a few games in the Big East tournament, and then some more come NCAA Tournament time.
College basketball’s 3,000-point club
Pete Maravich (LSU) 3,667
Freeman Williams (Portland State) 3,249
Lionel Simmons (La Salle) 3,217
Alphonso Ford (Mississippi Valley State) 3,165
Harry Kelly (Texas Southern) 3,066
Keydren Clark (Saint Peter’s) 3,058
Doug McDermott (Creighton) 3,011
Hersey Hawkins (Bradley) 3,008
If you missed it, in February we extensively profiled McDermott’s journey to 3,000 points.
EUGENE, Ore. — Oregon opened the regular season with a 13-game winning streak. They closed it with seven straight victories.
The Ducks may have stumbled in the middle, but reserve guard Jason Calliste says the Ducks still belong in the national conversation — especially after a 64-57 win over No. 3 Arizona in the regular-season finale on Saturday.
”We can be one of the best teams in the country,” he said. ”Doesn’t matter who we’re playing. Doesn’t matter what the name on the chest says.”
Calliste made the go-ahead jumper and free throw with 4:22 left and finished with 18 points for the Ducks, who trailed by as many as 12 points.
”I just didn’t want to lose,” he said. ”Wasn’t time to go home yet.”
Johnathan Loyd added 16 points for the Ducks (22-8, 10-8 Pac-12) who greatly improved their chances of a bid in the NCAA tournament. Last season Oregon won the conference tournament and advanced all the way to the regional semifinals.
Aaron Gordon had 21 points for the Wildcats (28-3, 15-3), who had already clinched the Pac-12 regular-season title heading into next week’s conference tournament in Las Vegas.
The Ducks won 13 straight to start the season and got ranked as high as No. 10, but then they lost five straight to tumble out of the poll and fall in the Pac-12 standings.
The Ducks considered the game a must-win after a six-game winning streak made them a possible bubble team for the NCAA postseason and gave them their fourth straight season with at least 20 victories.
As for the prospects following the victory over Arizona, Oregon coach Dana Altman wasn’t going to speculate.
”I’m not going to worry about all that,” he said. ”We’ve got to go to the conference tournament and we’ve just got to play.”
The Wildcats led by as many as 12 points in the first half, but Oregon closed to 31-29 at halftime. Mike Moser’s 3-pointer pulled the Ducks to 36-34 early in the second half with a 3-pointer.
A six-point run put Arizona ahead 44-36 with 11:55 left and the Wildcats held on to the lead until Joseph Young’s 3-pointer got the Ducks within 50-48 and Loyd’s layup tied it at 50 with five minutes left.
Calliste hit a jumper and a free throw to give the Ducks a 53-51 lead with 4:22 left for their first lead since the game’s opening minute.
Calliste and Loyd hit back-to-back 3s to stretch the lead to 59-51 and the 12,364 fans at Matthew Knight Arena were on their feet. The Ducks held on for the win and the crowd rushed the court.
Arizona had won five straight since a 69-66 overtime loss to rival Arizona State on Feb. 14.
”They were highly motivated,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said about the Ducks. ”With that, we had to play at our best and we didn’t.”
Oregon went into the game averaging a league-best 82.9 points a game, while the Wildcats were holding opponents to a league-low 58.5 points per game.
Arizona jumped out to a 9-2 lead that was snapped by Loyd’s steal and fast-break layup for the Ducks. The Wildcats made it 20-8 on Nick Johnson’s dunk midway through the first half.
Young’s layup pulled Oregon within 24-18, but Caleb Tarczewski answered with a dunk for the Wildcats.
Oregon pulled to 31-29 at the half on Calliste’s 3-pointer with 3-seconds to go before the break. Calliste made four of five 3-point attempts in the game.
Tarczewski led all players with 10 points in the first half.
”They’re fighting for a tournament berth and guys are in zones,” said Johnson, who finished with 11 points for the Wildcats. ”Give him (Calliste) credit, he made the shots.”
Moser finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds for his fourth straight double-double.
Arizona defeated Oregon 67-65 in Tucson back on Feb. 6. It was Arizona’s first full game without sophomore forward Brandon Ashley, who is out for the season after surgery on his right foot.
Seven Oregon seniors were playing in their final regular-season home game.