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Duke's Dariq Whitehead playing NCAA tournament games in front of 'home crowd'

The Duke freshman played high school basketball in Orlando.

ORLANDO, Fla. — Duke beat Oral Roberts big Thursday night. The Blue Devils said the key to their success is the way they're playing, playing together. It also helps to have players making a big impact off the bench, especially a player like Dariq Whitehead.

This environment is basically a home game for Whitehead. He played high school basketball at Montverde Academy about 20 minutes outside of Orlando.

He said he was excited to find out Duke was playing here in the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament. 

"I got a lot accomplished in my 5 years down here," said Whitehead. "Before coming down here, I talked to coach. He said, 'You know, you're used to winning down here', that's just something I have to make sure I come down here and do." 

The freshman forward put up 13 points in 23 minutes rotating in and out of the lineup against Oral Roberts.

He went 5-for-7 from the field. He also hit all three of his triples, adding 4 rebounds and 1 steal.

"I was a little nervous coming in as a freshman to my first NCAA game," said Whitehead. "You hear about it, you watch it as a little kid, just coming in here getting the first one, it was amazing."

Whitehead said he'll have a lot of support in the stands for Saturday's second-round game against Tennessee.

He said he is most excited to play in front of his high school coaches.

Duke and Tennessee play Saturday, March 18 at 2:40 p.m. inside the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida.


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