Player of the Game: Ryan Boatright was the overall leading scorer, Tyus Jones paced the Blue Devils, but as we all know, there is more to basketball than scoring. That is why the player of the game was Duke center Jahlil Okafor. The freshman sensation proved why he's a potential National Player of the Year candidate. This game was billed as a contest between two dominant centers, Okafor and Amida Brimah. Honestly, I felt that was always a stretch. Okafor proved last night that there are few players in his class. Finishing with 12 points, eight rebounds and two assists, Okafor's stat line wasn't overly impressive, but it was his command of the game that stood out. Look at this pass he made out of a double team. You cannot teach that.
Play of the Game: Once again, we're highlighting Okafor. We have UConn's Phil Nolan attempting to guard him one-on-one, a bold strategy. Most of the night, UConn was sending hard double teams to Okafor, hoping to get the ball out. He proved why on this play.
Turning Point of the Game: It's not so much a singular moment, but a collective effort by one man on the Duke roster. Justice Winslow woke up in the final few minutes. At the 3:47 mark, UConn was roaring back into the game, trying to steal it. Kentan Facey just hit a layup to cut the deficit to six. On the other end, off a broken possession, Duke swung the ball to Winslow on the perimeter, and he canned a three, Duke back up by nine. UConn kept the pressure on, cutting the lead back down to six. With 1:24 to play, Brimah committed his fifth foul, putting Okafor on the line. Okafor missed both free throws, but Winslow rebounded the miss and made the putback layup to bring it back to eight. Throw in his chase down block on Terrence Samuel, the clutch play of Winslow was the key down the stretch,
Concern: I sound like a broken record complaining about the outside shooting, but once again, it was a problem. Rodney Purvis, Daniel Hamilton and Omar Calhoun combined to shoot 0-for-7 from deep. That's unacceptable. Even worse, Purvis and Hamilton consistently passed up open looks, in lieu of pump faking and driving to the basket. When Boatright penetrates and kicks out, they need to be ready to catch and shoot. Making the shot is a bonus. Quick catch and shoot plays open up the floor and provide spacing that this team desperately needs. Things need to get better, fast. Otherwise UConn will continue in their scoring woes.