Duke Blue Devils blew out one of their greatest rivals in college basketball Kentucky Wildcats with 118-84, and Champions Classic tournament. In another match, Kansas Jayhawks defeated Michigan State Spartans 92-87.
NCAA Division I basketball season started last night. And what a beginning we saw in Madison Square Garden. Three freshmen among the No.4 Blue Devils totally outplayed No.2 Wildcats, inflicting them one of the worst humiliations in their rich history. It was 118-84 in the end for Mike Krzyzewski’s boys.
“They were magnificent,” Coach K said.
By “they” he obviously thought about R.J. Barrett, Zion Williamson, and Cameron Reddish. These three youngsters scored 83 points combined! When looking individually, it was like this. Barrett 33 pts, 6 ast, 4 rebs, Zion Williamson 28 pts, and 7 boards, while Reddish added 22 buckets. Basketball experts around the globe are getting along on the fact that they haven’t seen such a dominant group of freshmen in the last decade, and even before that.
R.J. Barrett indicated that this is just a start and that the fans are yet to see this team doing some amazing stuff.
“Every game will be like that. We have a big target on us,” Barrett said. “It’ll be there every night.” and added, “We weren’t surprised we were winning by so much. We know what we have. We see it every day.”
Duke’s Early Domination
Duke was confident right from the start earning a 34-13 lead with less than 10 minutes on the court. The Wildcats just couldn’t keep up with the tempo Barrett imposed, while on the other side, they didn’t have the answer for Williamson’s physical dominance on both ends. With 11:45 until the end, the Blue Devils had a 37-point advantage, 91-54, and the best thing that Kentucky could do is to get down to 27, but that was just for the moment.
Among the Wildcats, Keldon Johnson with 23 points and Reid Travis with 22 were the only ones worth mentioning. They will be looking to forget this loss against Southern Illinois on Friday, while Duke awaits Army Black Knights on Sunday.
In the second game of the night, the No.1 Kansas Jayhawks edged out No.10 Michigan State with 92-87. Unlike the above-mentioned match, this one had a dramatic ending.
But nobody saw it coming in the first half when Jayhawks led 17 points at one moment. The Spartans started splashing from all positions in the second period. With 15 seconds to go, it was 91-87 for Kansas and, but the Spartans had the ball. Cassius Winston missed, and that marked a start of a big celebration among Jayhawks fans on the stands.
Dedric Lawson had a huge double-double for the winning team and finished this game with 20 points, 14 assists, and 6 boards. Still, his post-game interview was about his freshman teammate, Quentin Grimes who had a team-high 21 points.
“He (Grimes) came out with a free mind and played his game,” Lawson said. “He was the best player on our team tonight.”
Coach Bill Self also wanted to speak about his youngster.
“People in his camp have told me he’s a gamer and likes when the lights are on him. He was definitely a gamer tonight.”
Joshua Langford with 18 pts and Kenny Goins with a double-double, 17 pts and 10 rebs, were best among the Spartans, who missed their chances to turn this game upside down completely. Cassius Winston who missed the crucial shot of the game ended this one with 13 points and 11 dimes.
Coach Izzo not Satisfied
Coach Tom Izzo wasn’t very pleased with the way his frontcourt played, and he mentioned that after the match.
“I’m a little disappointed in our bigs,” Izzo said. His team was outrebounded on the offensive end, as they allowed 11 second-chance attacks for the Spartans, while having only 5. Goins and Ward also had 9 of 16 from the free-throw line, and in general Michigan State was pretty bad in this aspect with just .657, 23 of 35.
Up next, they will be facing Florida Gulf Coast at home, while the Jayhawks host Vermont.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.