Duke big-men Paolo Banchero, Mark Williams and Theo John combined for 50 points – leading the Blue Devils to a 88-73 victory over Tobacco Road rival NC State.
The Wolfpack started the game strong – outscoring the Blue Devils 9-2 in the first three minutes, before Banchero stopped the bleeding with back to back buckets. NC State responded with a 6-2 run, before a 7-0 Blue Devil surge would give Duke their first lead of the game. Dereon Seabron scored back to back baskets – giving the Wolfpack a slim one-point lead, before an AJ Griffin three put the Blue Devils up for good.
Duke shot a season-high 58% (35-of-60) from the field, their 58 points in the paint were a season high. The Wolfpack shot 41% from the floor, including 5-19 from three.
“They’re good and I thought overall we did a good job on them defensively,” Coach K said after the win. “Our big guys were terrific. Mark [Williams] almost had a triple-double. Theo [John] really contributed well in the first half when we got a little lead. We got 29 points, 13 rebounds and nine blocks from our bigs. Let’s get that every game.”
“Their front line was tremendous tonight,” Wolfpack head coach Kevin Keatts said. “Not to take away from the guards, but I thought that was the biggest difference in the game.”
Paolo Banchero led all scorers with a game-high 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting, with eight rebounds and four assists. Mark Williams scored a season-high 19 points on 9-of-12 shooting with 11 rebounds and a career-high eight blocked shots. Williams, who entered the day leading the ACC in blocked shots, has blocked 18 shots over Duke’s last four games.
Trevor Keels scored 12 points with a career-high nine assists, five steals and five rebounds in 35 minutes. Graduate student Theo John scored a season-high 10 points on 4-of-4 from the field. Wendell Moore Jr. was Duke’s fifth player in double-figures with 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting with four rebounds.
Terquavion Smith led the way for the Wolfpack with 19 points. Dereon Seabron finished with 16 and Ebenezer Dowouna added 10.
Next up the Blue Devils travel to Tallahassee to take on Florida State Tuesday, January 18th. The Wolfpack will host Virginia Tech Wednesday, January 19th.