This game looked absolutely awful from the start, and that’s how it ended out in Durham on Monday as #1 Duke was defeated by Syracuse in overtime, 95-91. From the moment it was announced that Cam Reddish wouldn’t start due to illness, especially after his late game heroics at Florida State, it certainly didn’t look like it was going to be a good night. That was confirmed: nothing seemed to go the Blue Devils’ way, and this loss is the least of their problems at this point. Zion Williamson scored 34, but it wasn’t enough as Tyus Battle had 30 for the Orange.
Tre Jones Injury
It doesn’t take a basketball whiz to figure this out: everything fell apart the minute Tre Jones left the game. Tre was having an awesome game– 4 steals in just 6 minutes of play– before colliding with Syracuse’s Frank Howard and leaving the game immediately. Cameron went silent. Tre is the foundation of this team: his on-ball defense anchors a very efficient defense for Duke (4 steals in 6 minutes!) and he’s a floor general on the other side of the court. Having lost him meant a huge blow for the Blue Devils, and it showed- from that point on, Syracuse outscored the Blue Devils 39-35 and we could not get rolling on defense.
Tre Jones suffered an AC joint separation and is out indefinitely. This means, essentially, that his collarbone has separated from his shoulder blade. Coach Krzyzewski said that there is no sign of breakage on the bones, which clears a big hurdle return-wise. You can learn more about AC joint separation here, but long-story-short, he’s in a lot of pain and return spans anywhere from 2 weeks to much worse.
The second half was just a fistfight, and despite having “fought like crazy” according to Coach K, shots were not falling at all, especially from three. Over the course of the game, Duke shot under 21% from beyond the arc despite taking 43 of them. Jack White had an off-game and just couldn’t hit, going 0-10 all on three-point shots and fouled out in 42 minutes of play. Duke actually shot less two-point shots than they did three-point shots, something a Syracuse zone can do to you. Syracuse, on the other hand, shot 44% from beyond the arc, something they haven’t been able to do all season long.
I feel like I haven’t payed enough attention to this side of the story: Zion went off for 35 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 blocks. RJ had 23 points, 9 assists, and 16 rebounds (that’s literally as close as you can get to a triple-double). Alex O’Connell had a career night with 16 points and 2 steals. Marques Bolden had 12 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 blocks. All of these guys had great games and I’m sure they’re not going to care now, but it’s still worth noting.
Cam Reddish was also out for this game, showing flu-like symptoms. In all honesty, take away two starters, one being the foundation on both sides of the court for Duke and one being the hot three-point shooter (hint there) coming off his best game yet, give Syracuse hot hands and give one of our best shooters a severe off night? You’ve got yourself this. Losing at home to Syracuse, of all teams, isn’t fun at all but the bright side is that it’s not as though we lost without a few scales tipping their way and at this point, we’ve got bigger problems to deal with.
#PrayForTre. That’s my takeaway from this game.
Bleed blue. Please, #PrayForTre.