Duke Looks Mid-Season Form Only a Couple Games in

Mason Thomas, Co-Editor-in-Editor

The 2018-19 NCAA basketball season is underway and already a couple games in the regular season. But, there has already been talk about the University Of Duke Blue Devils and how they’re in mid season form. During this last off-season they recruited three of the top five prospects across the country. The number one ranked prospect coming out of high school was RJ Barrett, the number two prospect was Cam Reddish. The third prospect was Zion Williamson, who is known all around the nation for his extraordinary monster finishes at the rim.
The season opener, which was the “State Farm Champion Classic” was hosted in Indianapolis between the Duke Blue Devils and the Kentucky Wildcats. At the time Duke was nationally ranked at fourth and the Wildcats were ranked above them at second. Duke dominated both sides of the court making it an easy win over the Wildcats. RJ Barrett scored 33 points and Zion Williamson added 28 in their first college games, leading No. 4 Duke over No. 2 Kentucky 118-84 on Tuesday night in the season-opening Champions Classic. It was the most lopsided defeat in coach John Calipari’s tenure at Kentucky and marked the eighth time in 10 meetings the Blue Devils have beaten the Wildcats. Both Barrett and Williamson surpassed Marvin Bagley III’s program record for points by a freshman in his debut at 25. Cam Reddish added 22 points and Tre Jones had six, giving Duke’s freshmen a combined 89 points.
The next three games Duke blew past their unranked opponents by more than 20 points each. Their fifth game they faced Auburn In Hawaii which was the closest game yet for them, they inched their way towards victory barely beating the Tigers 78-72. While still in Maui they faced Gonzaga in a tournament they do every year. Rui Hachimura on the Zags scored 20 points and No. 3 Gonzaga blocked four shots in the final 46 seconds to hold off five-time champion Duke 89-87 last Wednesday in the Maui Invitational title game. Duke trailed by 16 in the second half before mounting a massive charge with a series of dunks and drives to the basket. After the Blue Devils tied it at 87-all, Hachimura scored on a hard drive to put Gonzaga up.
The Zags missed four free throws to give Duke a final shot, but Brandon Clarke blocked R.J. Barrett’s drive on the game’s final play. The final score being 89-87 giving Duke their first lost of the year.
Despite this one loss Duke’s freshman has shown what they are capable of doing and what their weakness are as well. It will be an exciting year to see what these young men are able to achieve in their first year of college.

Duke Basketball