Jabari Parker might not be the next LeBron James. He might not even be the next Paul Pierce, although Parker may have convinced Celtics president Danny Ainge, who watched from courtside at Conte Forum, he is a worthy prize as an NBA lottery pick.
No, what the Duke Blue Devils needed — and what the Boston College Eagles feared — was for their star freshman to be himself. And Parker, all of 6 feet 8 inches and every bit of 235 pounds, did not disappoint.
Parker recorded his eighth double-double of the season with game highs of 29 points and 16 rebounds — throwing down a dunk off on an alley-oop pass from Rasheed Sulaimon for his last field goal with 3:56 to play — and added three blocks in leading the 11th-ranked Blue Devils to a breezy 89-68 Atlantic Coast Conference victory over BC Saturday night before a sellout crowd of 8,606.
“Jabari was a monster today,’’ said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who expressed concern about a potential trap game before Wednesday’s huge road game at North Carolina. “With the amount of rebounds and points, he wasn’t rewarded sometimes on the offensive boards with the finishes. Otherwise, it could’ve been a 35-, 36-point night. But he was sensational tonight.’’
There was no doubt about that, especially when Parker came out in the second half and helped the Blue Devils (19-5, 8-3) expand on their 39-35 halftime lead. Playing before 21 NBA scouts, Parker opened the half with an emphatic dunk, and followed with a 3-point play in transition that got Duke off and running.
“It was more of an awareness, more of an awakeness,’’ Parker said, referring to the difference between halves for Duke, which never trailed and thrice led by as many as 27 points. “We had to get going before they ended up upsetting us.
“They really want to win, especially at home, especially with their record. They want to get a ‘W’ somehow. But we were able to pull through.’’
Looking to get off to a better start than he did in Wednesday night’s 77-67 loss at No. 20 Virginia, in which he scored all 14 of his points in the second half, BC sophomore guard Oliver Hanlan matched that production in the first half Saturday.
Hanlan finished with a team-high 25 points on 8-for-16 shooting from the field and made 7 of 8 foul shots to go with four rebounds and four assists. Ryan Anderson chipped in 12 points and six rebounds while Joe Rahon had 11 points for the Eagles (6-17, 2-8).
“I know whenever I’m aggressive, good things happen,’’ Hanlan said. “If I’m aggressive and I score the ball, I score the ball. If they collapse on me, I try to find the open guy. Obviously, lately, I’ve been trying to do everything perfectly and probably overthinking it, but today I just tried to be aggressive.’’
Hanlan helped the Eagles stay within striking distance in the first half as they shot 52 percent from the field (12 for 23) and 50 percent from the 3-point arc (5 of 10) while making 75 percent from the foul line (6 of 8).
“We were unbelievably concerned about this game, because they’ve been playing well,’’ Krzyzewski said of the Eagles, who lost for the eighth consecutive time in the series. “They should’ve won at Notre Dame and they had a bad half of shooting against Virginia and in the second half came back. I thought they played well until we played outstanding defense in the second half.’’
Duke’s perimeter defenders put the clamps on BC’s 3-point shooters, limiting the Eagles to 4 for 14 in the second half (9 of 24 overall). The Blue Devils, meanwhile, hit 11 of 21 from the 3-point arc, with Quinn Cook (21 points) connecting on 5 of 7 attempts.
Of course, it helped to have Parker, No. 1 on the Blue Devils roster and a presence in the paint. His only blemish came on a technical foul he drew with 5:09 to play for hanging on the rim and slapping the backboard after he threw down a two-handed slam that gave Duke an 80-55 lead.
“The thing you don’t realize until you see him in a game is that he’s got an extra pop, an extra quickness and explosiveness you don’t see in this league,’’ said BC coach Steve Donahue. “The thing he did well tonight was that he didn’t settle. He settled a lot this year. He was only shooting  percent in the league.
“Against us, he didn’t settle tonight. He made sure he got to the rim.’’Michael Vega can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.