St John’s made it clear early that Saturday’s contest against Duke was going to be physical and it started with the matchup between Zion Williamson and Mustafa Heron.
At the 9:00 minute mark in the 1st half Williamson had 5 points on a made three point basket and layup. Then this exchange happened:
Then this happened. Heron is clearly trying to get in Zion’s head. pic.twitter.com/hZiobEURlX
— Carolina Blitz (@KeepBlitzin) February 2, 2019
Through his sometimes chippy and physical play, Heron was clearly trying to take Williamson out of the game mentally. It is a strategy that sometimes proves very effective, but not today. This exchange got Zion and his teammates going. Williamson finished the 1st half out-scoring the entire Red Storm team 10-4. The Blue Devils would head to the break with a 10 point lead – their largest of the game up to that point. St John’s wouldn’t cut the deficit to anything less than 8 points the remainder of the contest.
After the game Williamson talked to Carolina Blitz about how playing against grown men as a child helped build his mental toughness, and how matchup’s like the one he had with Heron only elevate his game.
Salute to all the old heads humbling young boys on the court. You never know, you could be grooming the next superstar. Williamson finished with 29 points.
- Freshman RJ Barrett posted his fourth double-double with 15 points and 14 rebound (two shy of career high),
four assists and two steals in 33 minutes.
- Barrett is averaging 10.0 rebounds over the last six games.
- Freshman Zion Williamson scored a game-high 29 points, his 14th game this season reaching 20 points – the second most in the ACC this season behind teammate RJ Barrett (16).
- Williamson has 10 25-point games this season, to extend his Duke freshman record. The previous mark of eight was held by Williamson, teammate RJ Barrett and Marvin Bagley III (2017-18).
- Williamson, who was 13-of-17 from the field, finished with six rebounds, two blocks and a career-high tying five steals in 33 minutes.
- Over the last four games, Williamson is 43-of-54 (.796) from the field with 102 points.
- Freshman Tre Jones finished with 13 points, a career-high seven rebounds, seven assists and three steals in 36 minutes.
- Freshman Cam Reddish scored 16 points and is averaging 13.9 points over the last six games. Over the six games prior, Reddish averaged 7.7 points.