Duke lost to Gonzaga in the Maui Invitational, 87-89, but there’s so little that you can genuinely be mad at. This team fought their butts off. Most of the game was awful, don’t get me wrong: at most, Duke trailed by 16 and Gonzaga just looked more composed, more experienced, and just a better team. Duke obviously wasn’t on their A-game but the fight and togetherness that the Blue Devils showed defeated anything Gonzaga could say about a November win, period. Get ready- there’s going to be a flurry of people saying that we’re too young, will Duke bounce back, the usual. But believe me when I say that they win that game in March, period.
RJ Barrett scored a game-high 23 points, with teammate Zion Williamson coming in second with 22. Tre Jones hit a career high (a career of 6 games, but still) 17 points. Zion also had 10 rebounds, 4 blocks, and 2 steals.
The only thing that I was really not happy with was the final minute. Duke missed seven shots in the final minute of this game, and late game protocol will come in time. This team is so young, but the shots weren’t well selected in that final minute and the one-on-two final shot taken by RJ Barrett with open teammates was not good at all. But it’s November, so I’m not terribly worried and Coach K knows how to deal with that sort of thing. That happens again, though, and we’ve got issues.
Duke plays Indiana at home in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Tuesday as they get a brief respite after a grueling three straight days of play in Maui. The biggest focus will easily be Romeo Langford, an athletic star who looks to light up the Big Ten this year.