Duke's defense stifles UCLA
NEW YORK -- Duke rode its fifth consecutive superb defensive performance, this one against the third-highest-scoring team in the nation, to an 80-63 win over UCLA on Thursday night in the Carquest Auto Parts Classic before 15,410 at Madison Square Garden.
The eighth-ranked Blue Devils (9-2) forced 13 turnovers, eight in a lopsided second half in which they outscored the Bruins 43-26. Duke held its opponent under 70 points for the fifth game in a row.
UCLA (9-2) entered the game averaging 89.1 points but was held to its lowest output of the season.
Duke received 23 points from forward Jabari Parker, the leading freshman scorer in the country, and 14 points from forward Rodney Hood and point guard Quinn Cook, who also had eight steals.
Parker scored at least 20 points for the ninth time this season.
"(Parker) can be a very special player," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "He is an outstanding player but he can become better and that is my responsibility. That is why he came to Duke -- to learn and to become better. ...
"Jabari loves to play. He's a natural. In different sports there are people who are naturals. Jabari is a natural ... He's not afraid of the moment. He embraces the moment. He's been terrific."
Forward David Wear paced the Bruins with 16 points, and sophomore point forward Kyle Anderson contributed 15 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.
The Blue Devils used a 16-4 burst, snapping a 45-45 tie, to move ahead 61-49 with 12:11 to play. Hood nailed two 3-pointers and Parker drained one trey in the run.
UCLA's last lead of the game, 43-42, came with 18:08 remaining.
Normally a team that likes to run in transition, Duke was patient in the half-court, converting 11 of its season-high 32 3-point shots as UCLA coach Steve Alford abandoned his 2-3 zone.
"We played more zone in the first half than we did in the second half," Alford said. "We probably should have played more zone in the second half, but once we got behind, we had to speed the game up a little.
"Coaches will tell you there are good turnovers and bad turnovers. I thought we had bad turnovers, and they led to baskets."
Duke scored 13 points off of UCLA's turnovers.
"They got into us a little more in the second half," Alford said. "We didn't get the run. We get impatient when we feel the heat. When the pressure is up, you have quicker and poor shots."
Alford's team shot just 10-for-29 (34.5 percent) from the floor in the second half.
"We beat an outstanding team that is very difficult to defend because they score at all positions and are very well-coached," Krzyzewski said. "I thought in the first half their zone stood us up a little beyond the NBA line on the wings.
"We just didn't attack the zone very well, and I thought it hurt our defense. The second half was really good basketball for us."
The Blue Devils opened the game on an 18-8 run, but UCLA battled back to take a 32-26 lead with 5:10 left.
Forward Amile Jefferson's layup for Duke tied the score at 37 with 28 seconds remaining in the half. The lead changed hands four times in the half
Anderson finished the half with seven points, six rebounds and five assists.
NOTES: The Blue Devils lead the all-time series against the Bruins 10-6. ... The win was Duke's 23rd straight in December and lifted Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski to an 8-1 record against UCLA. ... Duke's Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood are the top scoring duo in the ACC and fifth in the NCAA at 40.9 points per game. ... Duke and UCLA have combined for 15 NCAA titles. The programs have a combined 3,771 wins and a .700 winning percentage. ... Duke played in its 222nd straight game as a top 10 team in the AP poll. ... UCLA sophomore F Kyle Anderson is the only Division I player in the country averaging at least 10 points, seven rebounds and six assists per game.