Duke Annihilates St. John’s, 91-61

Duke fans knew coming into this game that St. John’s was dangerous. Shamorie Ponds, especially: last year, he put up 33 in an upset in MSG against the Blue Devils. Tre Jones decided that history would not repeat.

Zion Williamson had 29, Cam Reddish had 16, and Duke shut down St. John’s main offensive weapons to get a smashing win in Cameron over the St. John’s Red Storm, 91-61. Cam Reddish was the spark early on with 11 first half points, and especially as the game went on, Zion couldn’t be contained. He stuffed the stat sheet with 29 points on 13-17 shooting, 4 blocks, 5 steals, and 6 rebounds. Believe me, there are highlights to come. Good Gods of Basketball, this isn’t fair.

Also, he, by himself, beat all of NC State today. Just sayin’.

The anchor of this win, however amazing Zion was, had to have been Tre Jones’ lockdown defense. Shamorie Ponds, the dangerous point guard that dropped 33 last year against Duke in an upset in MSG, did not hit a shot in the first half. He finished the day 3-11 from the field. This is no knock on Ponds as we’ve seen the great scorer that he is; it was all Tre today and he set the standard for the rest of the team.

St. John’s came in with an aggressive mentality, which showed during the game. In the first half, a flagrant 1 was actually assessed to St. John’s Marvin Clark and the physicality continued throughout the game, but the team handled it well, an important experience come late February and March.

The highlights (still to come) were great and all, but my favorite play of the game was when the ball went loose and every player on the court wearing blue and white dove to the ground at some point to get it. The call did not end up going in our favor as the referee called a held ball, mostly in order to keep the play under control. What are likely to be the #1 and #2 picks in the draft don’t care about getting the next highlight play or 40 point game: they care about the team win, even when it gets gritty, and that’s what makes them great.

Now, finally, for the highlights:

Non-Conference Schedule is Out

Duke Basketball has officially released the non-conference schedule for 2018-2019 Duke Basketball, though a noticable dropoff for games at home, which absolutely sucks for us Crazies and Crazies-In-Training.A few highlights:

Champion’s Classic: Kentucky

The Wildcats, yet again, lost a lot of talent last year and will be arguably younger than Duke is this year. However, John Calipari is almost (but not really) as ingenious at the GOAT himself at reloading and firing into the front lines of the college basketball race. Except, the beginning of the season is almost always rough for the Cats as they aren’t quite exposed to college basketball and need a veteran to groud them. Vets like Javin DeLaurier, Marques Bolden, and Antonio Vrankovic will be able to help out the Blue Devils.

Maui Invitational

You can read more here, but basically, it’s Duke, Arizona, and Gonzaga as the big guys here. Auburn and Xavier are good, but Xavier’s lost Chris Mack and their former star, Trevon Bluiett, and Auburn is good but no Duke. Don’t underestimate either team, but barring a loss, Duke will likely take on West Coast giants Arizona and Gonzaga in the Maui Invitational Championship. Then again, Arizona crashed and burned in the Battle 4 Atlantis last year, going 0-3 and Gonzaga gets minimal exposure until the postseason. Who knows?

Texas Tech

I know a lot of Jayhawks fans. My family is comprised (on my dad’s side, at least) of Jayhawks fans, to whom I am grateful to for not rubbing in last year’s loss. And from what I’ve seen, these Red Raiders have given the Jayhawks a lot of trouble in the past. We’ll need to be wary here.

St. John’s

St. John’s. Sigh. Those guys have given Duke trouble for years. In 2015, they nearly beat us before Coach K garnered his 1000th win in Madison Square Garden, that being the only happy memory I can think of with St. John’s. Last year, the Red Storm beat us in MSG, a total embarrassment. I’ve got to be honest with you all, I hope we kick some behind in New York next year (no disrespect to St. John’s, who thouroughly kicked OUR behinds last year. Naturally, I was pretty unhappy and would like to return the favor).