Sunday, November 23, 2014

Duke, led by MVP Cook, wins Coaches vs. Cancer Classic

Duke setting up their offense. Pictures by Jason Schott
By Jason Schott of - Daly Dose of Hoops Contributor - @JESchott19

The Duke Blue Devils beat the Stanford Cardinal 70-59 to win the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic at Barclays Center on Saturday night.

Quinn Cook at the bench after a big performance. 
Duke senior guard Quinn Cook won Most Valuable Player honors, as he scored 18 points on 5-for-12 and 4-for-9 from the three-point line, 5 assists, and 3 rebounds. Cook had 17 points, 5 rebounds, and an assist in their win Friday night over UNLV in the opening game of the tournament.

Duke also got contributions from Justise Winslow, a freshman forward, who had 14 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 assists; freshman center Jahlil Okafor had a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds; and sophomore guard Matt Jones had 10 points on 4-for-7 from the field, including 2-for-3 on threes, off the bench.

The game started off pretty even, with Duke clinging to a two-point lead for the opening ten minutes, then took a 28-21 lead on a Cook three with 7:33 left. Another Cook three at the 3:55 mark made it 35-25 Duke. The biggest lead Duke had was 13 points, at 40-27 with 37 seconds left, and a layup by Stanford's Stefan Nastic made it 40-29 Duke at the half.

Duke came out firing in the second half, and opened up a 15-point lead, 50-35, on a Cook three at the 15:49 mark. A jumper by Chasson Randle cut Duke's lead to 51-43 at the 10:57 mark, and Duke responded with a 10-2 run capped by a layup and a separate free throw from Okafor to make it 61-45 Duke with 5:48 remaining. The closest the Cardinal got the rest of the way was 11 points, at 65-54 on an Anthony Brown layup with 2:19 left, and the final score of 70-59.

Stanford was led by senior guard Randle, who had 22 points on 8-for-17 from the field and 2-7 on threes, with a rebound and a costly five turnovers. Nastic had a double double with 13 points and 13 rebounds, but shot a disappointing 5-for-15 from the field.

Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski. 
Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said of the game, "We're obviously extremely pleased to win the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. I thought our guys played really good defense again tonight. Our guys followed the lead of Quinn (Cook). He was a great leader for us and so was Amile (Jefferson). Amile was a warrior. We subbed him out because they were small and against the zone, Justise (Winslow) was a little bit better in the middle. Matt Jones was playing well. Matt came off the bench and gave us a big spark. I'm really proud of my team. It was a really good performance for us without it being pretty offensive. I liked the personality of our team."

Coach K said of Stanford, "They're such a well-coached team. They run a different offense - the triangle - and I thought that we defended that well. Then, they went to some alternate stuff." (Wonder if Stanford can go over to The Garden to teach the Triangle to the Knicks.)

Stanford Head Coach Johnny Dawkins, Stefan Nastic, and Chasson Randle.
Stanford head coach Johnny Dawkins played for and was an assistant coach for Krzyzewski, and he said of coaching against him, "It was difficult to compete against a friend and mentor. Of course, it was very awkward. You get so used to being on the same bench and then you are somewhere different. I don't think that's something you look forward to. That's why we don't schedule each other. It happens in tournaments where you can run into each other, but it's not something we intentionally try to do. I will always be proud that I was part of a (Duke) class that made such a contribution. I was fortunate to be there when it was just starting to form under Coach K's leadership. I wouldn't trade my place for anyone else's place because of all that we went through together."

Dawkins said of Jahlil Okafor, who had 10 points and 12 rebounds against his team, "Okafor is a great player. He's a force inside. We tried to give him as many different (defensive) looks as we possibly could...You just aren't going to completely stop him. He is too good a player."

Nastic said of playing Okafor, "Jahlil is a great player. We definitely prepared for him. You have to respect a guy that is that type of threat. I just tried to give my best effort."

In the consolation game to open the doubleheader, UNLV beat Temple 57-50.

UNLV was led by sophomore forward Christian Wood, who had 18 points (8-15 FG, 1-2 on 3-pt) and 13 rebounds. Senior guard Cody Doolin had 10 points and 5 assists.

UNLV head coach Dave Rice said of the game, "It was a character win for us. We didn't play very well last night. Stanford played incredibly well. It was a quick turnaround, but I could tell last night at the hotel as we watched game film that our guys were focused and ready to go. I had a lot of confidence going into the game that we would play hard and (play) together."

Rice said of Wood, "I thought that Chris was extremely aggressive down the stretch and did a great job scoring the ball in the post and rebounding the ball as well."

Temple was led by senior guard Will Cummings, who had 21 points on 6-of-14 from the field and 2-of-3 on threes, with 7 rebounds and an assist.

Temple head coach Fran Dunphy said of the game. "I thought we challenged (UNLV's) shot blockers way too much. We didn't pay attention when we tried to drive and we should have kicked it out to open shooters. When we did have open looks we didn't knock them down. We had some shots that just didn't go in and they hit some big shots."

Temple shot just 15 percent in the second half, making just 5 of 33 shot attempts. Dunphy said of that, "We need to work a lot more on our offensive game. Duke was a very good defensive team and (UNLV) was very athletic. When we tried to get it to the rim, they were not allowing it. We were not careful enough with our shot selection. We need to step up and make shots when we get decent looks."

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