Despite a sloppier first half and a persistent, experienced opponent, Duke flexed its muscles and got it going, later on, to pull it out against Hartford, 84-34. Hartford was not going away and stayed in it, with the lead for Duke at just eight points with 12 minutes to go. It was about then that Duke got a sudden burst of momentum, with multiple successful transitional scores in a row. Cameron came alive and the dunk show was on. RJ Barrett led all scoring and rebounding with an impressive 27 and 15 line, with Zion just behind at 18 and 12. Javin DeLaurier had a good game with 10 points, as well as Tre Jones with 10 and 6 assists. Between that point and the end of the game, Duke scored 37 to Hartford’s 15 to pull it out.
It was almost never pretty: Coach K was slamming chairs to the ground at the start of the first half to get his team’s attention. About 1:30 into the first half, with Hartford pulling from the halftime’s lead of 9 to under 5 when Coach K called a timeout to get some energy back into his team. But soon, the only things being slammed were basketballs as the later minutes of the game were a clinic on dunking.
I’m not sure whether RJ and Zion will be praised or punished in practice for that off-the-backboard dunk (it was unselfish, as he could have taken it to the house himself) but it was on SportsCenter alright and was fun to watch..
Bleed blue. Duke returns for a tough contest with Yale on Saturday before taking a break for exams.