LEX 18 True Blue Coverage

Nov 24, 2013 9:29 PM

Duke Avoids Upset Bid by Vermont, 91-90

Rodney Hood's free throw with 5 seconds left helped No. 6 Duke dodge Vermont's upset bid and gave the Blue Devils a 91-90 victory on Sunday night.

Jabari Parker scored 26 points in his sixth straight 20-point performance. Hood finished with 22 for the Blue Devils (5-1), who extended their nonconference winning streak at Cameron Indoor Stadium to 106 games - barely.

Duke blew a 15-point lead and allowed Vermont to shoot 65 percent before finally getting the one defensive stop it needed.

Candon Rusin's four-point play with 10.4 seconds left for Vermont tied it at 90. Hood brought the ball downcourt, drove the lane and drew contact from Clancy Rugg. Hood bounced his first free throw off the rim, then swished the second.

Sandro Carissimo hurried the Catamounts downcourt and found Rusin in the corner, but he couldn't get a shot off before the buzzer.

Hector Harold scored 24 points and Rugg finished with 20 for Vermont (1-5). The America East favorites lost their fourth straight while dressing only nine healthy players, but gave Duke all it could handle with by far its best shooting performance of the season.

The Catamounts - who hadn't shot better than 44 percent all season - routinely found open passing lanes and created paths to the bucket against a lethargic Duke team that, for all of its athleticism, lacks a true big man.

Andre Dawkins scored 16 points and Quinn Cook added 14 for Duke. Cook broke a tie with a 3-pointer with just under 2 minutes left that made it 86-83.

The Blue Devils stretched their lead to 88-84 on Rasheed Sulaimon's free throw with 40.8 seconds to play before Carissimo made it a two-point game with his tip-in with 29 seconds remaining.

Cook seemingly gave Duke a cushion when his two free throws with 19.4 seconds left made it 90-86 - but when Sulaimon fouled Rusin on his deep 3-pointer, the Catamounts had another chance.

Carissimo finished with 16 points and Luke Apfeld had 10 for Vermont, which fell to 3-17 against ACC schools and is winless against all of them except for Boston College.

Yet the Catamounts looked plenty capable of taking advantage of a ripe Duke team that struggled all night to stop them.

When the Blue Devils built a 61-49 lead on Parker's steal and fast-break dunk with 15 ½ minutes left, that looked like the spark that would get the sluggish Duke defense going.

Instead, Vermont reeled off 10 straight points after that as part of a 13-2 run. Harold's three-point play pulled the Catamounts to 63-62 with just over 11 minutes left.

Carissimo's free throw with 7:50 left tied it at 71. Harold's 3 from the key about a minute later put Vermont up 74-73 - its first lead since early in the first half - and neither team led by more than four points the rest of the way.

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