Duke Rides Shutdown First Half to 84-46 Win over Eastern Michigan

A brilliant first half. A hard-playing team that made just about every Duke fan proud. Oh, and, by the way, Zion put on a dunk show. Yeah, this was a pretty fun game. Duke smacked Eastern Michigan 84-46 as Zion Williamson led the way with 21 points and 9 rebounds. RJ Barrett came a close second with 20. Javin DeLaurier had one of his best games in a while, scoring 10 points alongside his 6 rebounds, 2 steals, and block. In addition, a usually foul-prone Javin only had one foul in this entire game, which came in the second half. Jack White also performed well, matching his co-captain with 10 points.

Yeah, I lied a little bit when I said Zion put on a dunk show. They all put on an in-the-paint clinic. Dunking, layups, tip-ins: S/o to Zion, Javin, and Jack for controlling the paint! Duke scored most of their points down low. I did not lie, though, when I said Zion dunked. He’s so much more than a dunker, don’t get me wrong, but it’s EPIC when he does. However, he has non-dunk highlights, too: I sometimes wonder if this guy took dance lessons or something. He’s 285 pounds of muscle, yet he has the feet of a ballerina. How it’s humanly possible I don’t know, but you can see it below:

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find tape of an amazing lay-in from the second half, but Duke Basketball Report has highlight reels of RJ and Zion, so check those out!

Cam Reddish was limited in playing time because of a sore groin, but Coach K said he’s fine and it was just a precaution. He would’ve played had it been closer. Freshman Joey Baker was the only guy on the team not suited up, which basically solidifies the notion that he will redshirt this year.

Bleed blue. Duke prepares for San Diego State in Maui this Monday. That’ll be 5pm ET. Go Duke!

Duke Pulls Away, Defeats Army 94-72

It was a freshmen showcase again for the Blue Devils as Duke’s impressive youngsters combined for 75 of Duke’s 94 points. Army fought valiantly and stubbornly, giving Duke more of a struggle than Kentucky did last week, so kudos to them for that. Zion Williamson continued to provide material for a SportsCenter Top 10 show of his own and putting up video game numbers, while Cam Reddish flexed his shooting ability with 7 3s. Keep sleeping on him, I dare you.

Don’t forget RJ! RJ put up 23 points to go with his 6 rebounds and 2 assists.

It was a quiet day on the stat sheet for Duke’s older guys, but Jack White posted 6 points and 4 rebounds. There were a few mistakes along the way but again, it’s the second game with a team whose stars are entirely comprised of freshmen, so it’s really nothing to look into.

Joey Baker did not play again, which definitely continues to support the notion that he will redshirt this year. Redshirting is probably a good choice for him as he can get practice in against stars like the guys on this team and still save a year. If you remember, he reclassified a year and should be a senior in high school right now, so having that experience under your belt despite being about the age of the incoming class would give him an advantage, were he to elect to do so.

Bleed blue. Next up, Duke will face Eastern Michigan for one last home appearance before heading off to Maui for the Maui Invitational.

Duke Puts World on Notice, Routs #2 Kentucky, 118-84

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Zion Williamson all smiles after scoring 28 in Duke’s 118-84 rout of Kentucky. Source: SBNation https://www.sbnation.com/college-basketball/2018/11/7/18070886/duke-vs-kentucky-recap-final-score-zion-williamson-rj-barrett

I must say, I had faith in our squad, sure,  but not this much faith! In an unprecedentedly smashing win, Duke embarrassed number-two ranked Kentucky by thirty-four, 118-84. Other than after a few minutes at 11-8, after which a 9-0 run made it 20-8 you kept thinking “it’s got to get close at some point”. It didn’t. People are at loss for words. RJ Barrett scored 33. Zion Williamson scored 28. This is a very clear testament: Duke can score on anybody. Kentucky’s defense has been bad in the past at the beginning of the year, but not just anybody is going to be able to put up 118 on a top-2 team.

Strengths: Um, All of Them?

I have to say, Duke just about dominated every aspect of this game. There were some foul issues early: Javin DeLaurier, Marques Bolden, and occasionally Zion Williamson were called for fouls but in this game, honestly, sometimes it felt like standing in the lane was a foul. I can’t complain, though. But the strengths abounded: Duke made Kentucky a half-court team, plain and simple. They dominated transition: we scored at will in transition situations. Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett, and Cam Reddish got to demonstrate their games in so many ways. All of them got in the paint, all of them took perimeter shots, all of them got jumpers. Those three are extremely versatile players. And shoutout, Jack White! Jack is willing to do the dirty work behind the scenes that make this team look great. He had an excellent game with 11 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals. He doesn’t score in the 20s and 30s as consistently as some of his teammates might, but he gets it done.

This Won’t Happen Every Time

I want to note that this will (probably) not happen every game. There will be the UVAs of the world, with their stifling defense. A freshman will have a bad game. But this team is really, really good, and they told the world Tuesday night. Did I mention this? Oh. My. Goodness. This is gonna be one fun season.

#TheBrotherhood Reacts

Duke showed an excellent sense of what #TheBrotherhood means last night. Let’s see how the rest of them reacted.

Duke Scores 132 in Annihilation of Ferris State

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RJ Barrett (5) and Zion Williamson (1). Source: SI https://www.si.com/nba/2018/08/20/zion-williamson-rj-barrett-impressive-duke-basketball-canada-preseason-tour

The fury ran wild today in Cameron Indoor as Duke’s young team absolutely ravaged Ferris State, 132-48, a team that fought hard but failed to contain Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett (and the rest of the Blue Devils), who combined for a total of 55. These youngsters have a special talent for sharing the ball, as they racked up a total of 29 assists and Tre Jones neared triple-double territory with 8 points, 9 rebounds, and 10 assists. Obviously, the stat lines were through the roof. A quick synopsis: RJ Barrett was the high point-scorer with 32, Zion Williamson had 10 rebounds to accompany his 25, and big men Marques Bolden and Antonio Vrankovic picked up 15 and 10 points, respectively. Cam Reddish had 20 points as well to go with his 5 assists and 2 steals. Again: that stat sheet was packed. 

Lead Us, Captains

Coach K officially announced two captains and, in my opinion, excellent choices, to lead the 2018-2019 squad: Javin DeLaurier and Jack White. These two guys have shown dedication and heart through the years, and, let’s be honest, they’ve shown dedication and heart to a lot of teammates. Javin and Jack deserve this role; they’re roommates and have emerged as leaders for this group from the very beginning of the year. Congratulations to those two.

Bleed blue. 10 days to the Champions’ Classic!

Intro Video, Player Intros, Top Plays and More from Countdown to Craziness

It was an epic night as we got a glimpse of our team in a real scrimmage for the first time since August. The hype video got the night started, then the players took the floor for the first time in uniform, and the Blue-White Scrimmage began.

First of all, the Intro Video is fire. Literally.

If that doesn’t get you crazie hyped for the season, I don’t know what will. The players showed off their dance moves, and even some of their own music (go, Brennan Besser!):

Then we got to the actual scrimmage. This video has the top plays, and here’s a hint: “That’s gonna be on SportsCenter!”

It’s also got an interview (Tre Jones and Javin DeLaurier), and apparently, Javin yelled “Chicken” when he made a three-point shot. Find out what that was all about above.

The countdown to Countdown is over, but the Countdown to the Classic is ON! The Champions’ Classic is on November 6th at 9:30pm vs. Kentucky. Bleed blue.

Image featured on homepage is property of Duke Athletics. I do not own that photograph.

Duke Dominates McGill, Wins 103-58

Capping off their unbeaten Canadian tour, the Blue Devils won in a beating of the McGill Redman, but the score doesn’t tell the whole story. McGill played a very impressive first half, despite Duke’s offensive dominance. They trailed only by one at the start of the second quarter, after leading for most of the first. Kudos to them for a game well played. It may not look it, but they fought valiantly and didn’t truly give up until the final horn sounded.

Zion Williamson (1) and Marques Bolden (20) go in for the double block on an unidentified McGill player. Copyright © Duke Athletics. 

Guys across the board performed well. Take Jordan Goldwire, for instance. Despite a few instances where he tried for spectacularity instead of simplicity, he passed the ball well and had a good shooting night. Javin DeLaurier defended very well, as per usual. His role for the group is increasing by the minute played. Antonio Vrankovic defended and scored well in the post, using his size and skill to lead down low and has shown incredible growth. Justin Robinson got lots of playing time, which will help his role continue to expand. Jack White made some huge leaps (literally, his rebounds were way up in the air) and played the ball well. There was also an all-around intensity: guys were diving for loose balls, getting tough rebounds, doing the dirty work that makes everything look good. Marques is also my prediction for a breakout player. He’s been hobbled by injuries, but this year he’s in position to dominate in the starting lineup.

Then you’ve got the incredible, incredible freshmen. It was the Zion Williamson show today, as he had 36 points and 14 rebounds even though he sat with about eight minutes remaining (I think). RJ and Zion put on a show in Canada and we’re hoping it continues in November.

Bleed blue. After getting a taste of this year’s star power, we have to wait until OCTOBER? How cruel.

Friday vs. Toronto: Duke’s Lineup Thin vs. Toronto

After starting out down two guys at guard (Cam Reddish and Tre Jones), Duke’s depth started to slip. Now, it’s gotten worse. With sophomore guard Alex O’Connell out the rest of the tournament with an orbital bone fracture, there are almost no guards left on the squad. Jordan Goldwire, Mike Buckmire, and Brennan Besser are the only three left. Of course, all three players should be healed by the time the regular season begins. However, with smaller guys dominating the Toronto lineup, some of the bigger guys will have to play like a guard. Of course, there’s Zion Williamson, who is “a powerful Mack Truck with the feet of a ballerina” (Jay Bilas). He has the ability to keep up with a guard, and Duke has centers in Marques Bolden and Antonio Vrankovic. It’ll work out.

Canadian collegiate basketball is not something I’ve studied, but Ryerson is reportedly the best team we will face this week.

Jordan Goldwire stood up to run the offense on Wednesday. Will he step up again? Who gets a boost in playing time? Against Ryerson, lots of minutes were given to Javin DeLaurier, Marques Bolden, Goldwire, Justin Robinson, and Jack White, and of course the two freshmen after O’Connell’s early injury. This game will be the last of the two games played in Missassagua, R.J. Barrett’s hometown before the Blue Devils travel to Montreal for McGill.

Duke is favored pretty heavily despite the absences. Obviously, the athletic advantage is there, but Toronto has a heavy advantage by means of experience. These guys are smaller, agile, and good shooters. It’ll be a challenge, but beating a team like Duke is a monumental order. It’ll be a good test for Duke, who will face more experienced teams all season long, especially in the grueling ACC.

Bleed blue.