The Duke Blue Devils left last week’s Maui Invitational with a bad taste in their mouths after falling to now top ranked Gonzaga 89-87, so Wednesday night’s game against Indiana was all about bouncing back and getting back to the hard play they want to be known for as a team.
“We had to bounce back from a loss,” RJ Barrett, who finished with 22 points and 9 rebounds, said after the game. “So we were ready, we were eager, and we were ready to play. We needed to come in and play a lot harder than we did last game and we did that.”
“We were just ready to get back on the court,” Zion Williamson said. “We know what we can do. It’s a long season, 40 games, and if you can win all of them, incredible. But we know it’s going to be a hard season, so you can’t just stay on one game. You’ve got to move on to the next game.”
Eager and ready are perfect words to describe Wednesday night’s 90-69 win. The Blue Devils struck first with a Williamson layup in the first 15 seconds and would never trail in the game. The game looked more fluid for Duke offensively and defensive intensity was evident in the 10 blocks and 11 steaks the Blue Devils racked up during the game.
“We missed out on a lot of points in Maui,” Jack White said. “Defensively, our talk, we were just getting mixed up a bit, so getting back to those habits and making that an emphasis tonight, it just made the game easier for us.”
One of the keys for Duke on the defensive end of the ball was stopping Indiana freshman Romeo Langford and the Blue Devils did just that holding the Hoosiers leading scorer and projected NBA lottery pick to 13 points on 3 of 15 shooting.
“If we can limit the one or two best players on the other team, that’s got to be our goal,” Coach K said after the game. “Today we were able to do that. So we’ve got to keep doing that because every team’s got one or two guys that are maybe a little bit better than others. We have to make it harder on them.”
Next up the Blue Devils will play Stetson Saturday at Cameron Indoor.
- Freshman Zion Williamson finished with 25 points, six rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks in 30 minutes. It marks just the fifth instance in Duke history of a player going for 25+ points, 4+ rebounds, 4+ assists, 1+ block and 1+ steal in a game.
- With 22 points and nine rebounds, freshman RJ Barrett recorded his sixth 20-point performance in seven games this season. He has scored 18+ in each game of his collegiate career.
- Freshman Tre Jones finished with eight assists to match his career high, and no turnovers, in 32 minutes. Jones finished with 15 points and matched his career high with four rebounds.
- Duke is 11-1 following its last 12 losses (dating back to 2016-17), winning those games by an average margin of 21.3 points.
- Duke is now 18-2 all-time in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, and has won seven straight – the longest active winning streak in the Challenge.
- The series versus Indiana now stands at 7-3 overall, including 3-0 at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Blue Devils have won five straight in the series.