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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 28, 2 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Cameron Indoor Stadium (9,314) -- Durham, North Carolina. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: EMU 6-1, Duke 7-0. Away Record: EMU 1-2, Duke 0-0. Neutral Record: EMU 0-0, Duke 2-2. Conference Record: EMU 0-0, Duke 0-0. Series Record: Eastern Michigan leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The ninth-ranked Duke Blue Devils put a lengthy win streak on the line when they welcome the Eastern Michigan Eagles to Cameron Indoor Stadium for a non-conference affair on Saturday afternoon.
Mike Krzyzewski's Blue Devils are sporting a 108-game non-conference win streak at home. Duke's last home loss to a non-ACC foe came back in 2000 against St. John's. The Blue Devils improved to 9-2 overall last time out, routing a good UCLA squad at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 19, 80-63.
Rob Murphy's Eagles are a solid 7-3 on the campaign. Eastern Michigan enters this contest with a short two-game win streak in tow, following a hard-fought 81-79 overtime decision at Oakland on Dec. 21.
Not many teams can claim to have an advantage over Duke in series play, but Eastern Michigan won the only previous meeting between these two teams, a 75-60 win in the 1996 NCAA Tournament.
The Eagles are fueled by strong defensive efforts. EMU is allowing just 65.3 ppg this year, holding foes well under 40 percent shooting (.367). In addition, the team enjoys a +4.8 turnover margin, forcing 16.5 miscues per game. Offensively, the team has a trio of double-figure scorers, led by Karrington Ward's 15.4 ppg. The 6-foot-7 junior is also tops on the team in rebounding at 6.2 rpg. Raven Lee is next in the scoring column at 12.8 ppg, followed by Glenn Bryant and his 10.0 ppg.
Mike Talley had a career day in leading the Green & White to an overtime win at Oakland last time out. Talley finished with career-highs in points and assists, just missing a double-double with 21 points and nine assists. Bryant added 14 points in the win, while Darell Combs and Da'Shonte Riley tacked on 13 and 10 points, respectively. Ward struggled to find his range, hitting just 4-of-12 from the field and finishing with nine points.
With each time on the court, freshman Jabari Parker distinguishes himself as an elite player. That was certainly the case once again in the win over UCLA, as he abused the Bruins to the tune of a 23-point, 10-rebound double-double. Rodney Hood and Quinn Cook poured in 14 points apiece, while Amile Jefferson added 11 off the bench for Duke, which shot .484 from the field overall and outrebounded the Bruins, 41-33.
Parker can do it all and his days in Durham are probably numbered, as the NBA beckons him. The 6-foot-8 youngster leads Duke in both scoring (22.1 ppg) and rebounding (7.8 rpg) and can score from anywhere on the floor, shooting .550 overall and .475 from behind the arc . Hood gives the team another frontcourt force at 18.5 ppg, shooting .554 from the field. Cook handles the point guard duties and excels at both scoring (14.6 ppg) and distributing (6.5 apg). The Blue Devils have run over teams thanks to a gaudy scoring average of 85.5 ppg, delivering on 51.4 percent from the floor overall.
The Eagles are off to a nice start, but face a huge challenge at Cameron Indoor Stadium, where Duke rarely loses. Expect Parker and company to once again be too much to handle.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Duke 81, Eastern Michigan 66
12/28 10:46:43 ET
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