It was a bad case of the Mondays for Duke. Heading into their matchup against Syracuse, Cam Reddish was ruled out with flu-like symptoms and just five minutes into Monday’s contest, Tre Jones, the Blue Devils’ floor general, went out with a shoulder injury. But despite all of the unexpected, Duke challenged a veteran Orange squad before eventually falling to them in overtime 95-91.
“Very unusual night,” Coach K said after the game. “A lot of adversity tonight. You can take, not that we are, but you can assume we’re always going to be great. But life happens, and life happened to our team tonight. Some unusual things. Right before we went on the floor for the last time, Cameron [Reddish] got sick with flu-like symptoms out of nowhere and couldn’t play. We started out and our kids were so ready to play. We were playing our butts off, and then obviously the injury to Tre [Jones] happened.”
“Before the tip, we had Cam [Reddish] out,” RJ Barrett, who finished with 23 points, said after the loss. “So then we were trying to process that during the game and it was tough. We still should’ve won the game. We still had opportunities. We’ll just learn from this and move forward. We thought we had both of them before the game [Reddish and Tre Jones] so in the middle of the game it was a surprise for us.”
The game plan for Duke coming into Monday’s game was to pick up Syracuse full court and put pressure on the ball. That was working as the Blue Devils jumped out to a 12-0 lead to open the game – spurred by Jones’ tough on-the-ball defense. Cuse would cut into the deficit by four, lead by Sophomore guard Tyus Battle, but everything changed when Jones went out at the 14:24 mark. The Orange would go on a 11-4 run in Tre’s immediate absence before heading to the break down 1 (48-49).
The Blue Devils came out after halftime with defensive intensity – jumping out to an eight point lead with 13:05 remaining in regulation before going cold from the field the last part of the second half and overtime.
“In the second half, we fought like crazy,” Coach K continued. “We missed so many open shots, but we fought like crazy.”
“We could’ve been sharper in our play, but we had good looks,” Zion Williamson said about the team’s stagnant offense. “Our shots just weren’t falling. I’m going to say we played bad offensively. Our shots just weren’t falling. It just wasn’t our night.”
The Blue Devils aren’t sure how long they’ll be without Reddish or Jones. And things won’t get any easier as they’ll host reigning ACC Champions and 4th ranked Virginia on Saturday.
“We’ve got to move on to the next one,” Alex O’Connell said. “Stuff like that happens and it’s only a learning experience for us. Now we know what it feels like to lose a tough game like that at home, and we won’t let that happen again. We don’t like this feeling at all and we don’t want that to happen again.”
- The game was the 13th in the series versus Syracuse, and the series now stands at 7-6 in favor of Duke.
- Duke had its nine-game winning streak snapped.
- The game was the first overtime game at Cameron Indoor Stadium since Feb. 18, 2015 – a 92-90 win over North Carolina.
- Duke had three different players record double-doubles in the game
- Freshman Zion Williamson set a single-game scoring record by a Duke freshman with 35 points. The previous record of 34 points was held by J.J. Redick (1/15/03 vs. Virginia) and Marvin Bagley III (11/24/17 vs. Texas).
- Freshman RJ Barrett had his second double-double with 23 points, a career-high 16 rebounds and was an assist shy of a triple-double with a career-high nine assists.
- Sophomore Alex O’Connell scored a career-high 16 points, and had three rebounds, three assists and two steals.