DURHAM – The Ferris State basketball team aren’t scrubs. They are the reigning Division II National Champion – finishing last season with a 38-1 record on their way to the school’s first national championship in any sport. So when the Bulldogs came into Cameron Indoor Stadium to face the 4th ranked Blue Devils, they were here to win. Then the ball was tipped and it was a wrap.
Ferris State never even had a chance as the Blue Devils jumped to a 20-2 lead before the first 5 minutes transpired and never let up – eventually beating the Bulldogs 132-48.
Hard work was the recurring theme from both players and Coach K after the game and it was evident on the court as up until the final buzzer rang, and despite their 75 point lead, players were diving on the court for loose balls and fighting for rebounds.
“No matter what the score is, we’re always going to be playing hard,” Zion Williamson said after Saturday’s contest. “We always think the score is 0-0 between timeouts. I think when you play hard for the full forty minutes, with no letting up, the opposing team hesitates on how they run their offense because they know if there’s a loose ball we’re diving for it, going after it and always playing hard.”
Coach K echoed the same sentiments.
“Our guys played really hard today. Really hard. No matter who we had in there. We were not very good in transition defense our last game. Today we were really good. I’m proud of my guys.”
Outside of the freshmen phemons (RJ Barret, Zion Williamson, Cam Reddish and Tre Jones) combining for 83 points, 29 rebounds and 20 assists, veteran Marques Bolden, who has been battling injuries since he’s been at Duke, had an impressive outing – ending the night with 15 points on 6-8 shooting in 21 minutes of play.
“Marques had some of the best minutes he’s had at Duke today, especially at the start of the 2nd half. Defensively he’s protecting the basket, on ball screens he’s very athletic…he’s playing athletically,” Coach said. “On offense he’s been patient and running the court well. I liked everything he did today.”
With the two exhibition games out of the way, regular season play will come quickly for the Blue Devils who will face the 2nd ranked Kentucky Wildcats right out of the gate in the State Farm Champions Classic. And through the preseason process RJ Barrett says he’s learned this team is ready to work.
“We’re a hard working team and we fight and get better every day. We’ve got a couple games under our belt now and we’re ready.”