On Saturday night, Duke demolished Stetson 113-49, easily covering the lofty 43-point spread. The Blue Zone breaks down three key takeaways, three key stats and looks forward for the Duke squad:
Three key takeaways:
1. Defense steadily improves over the course of the night
The Blue Devils struggled mightily with help defense before switching to zone last year, and their man defense seems like a work in progress again this year. Cam Reddish let in some layups in the first half, but he kept at it as the game wore on and made some nice plays defensively. Jack White even had a highlight rejection on a help defense look, bringing his blocks per game to 1.3 on the year.
2. The bench gets in on the action
In a 64-point blowout, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski saw no reason to risk injury to his stars, and 11 players saw double digit minutes. The four star freshmen sat for the latter half of the second period, and it opened the door for Alex O’Connell, Justin Robinson, and Brennan Besser to post career highs in points.
3. R.J. Barrett delivers a well-rounded game
You wouldn’t expect someone who played 17 minutes to come close to a triple double, but Barrett grabbed seven rebounds and dished out seven assists to go along with his 26 points, a game that will surely remind the world that he is still very much in the conversation for the top pick in the NBA Draft with Zion Williamson. He found his teammates all night and also added four steals.
Three key stats:
1. Barrett goes 10-10 on 2-pointers
The young Canadian faced a lot of heat for his role in Duke shooting missing all seven of its shot in the final minute against Gonzaga, but Barrett came up big in what was perhaps his most efficient performance yet. He came into Saturday shooting under 25 percent on 2-point jumpshots, but knocked down whatever he looked at inside the line and finished strong at the basket over the weaker Stetson defenders.
2. Seven assists and zero turnovers for Tre Jones
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After just eight games, it’s hard to imagine that Tre Jones is reaching records his brother Tyus Jones couldn’t touch. Tre Jones tied Jon Scheyer’s mark for most games in a season with at least seven assists and no turnovers, notching his third of the year already. The Minnesota native only took one shot on the night, but no one can deny how important Jones is on the floor for Duke.
3. 36-4 run in the first half
With a line of 43 points, no one in America expected Stetson to compete at all with the Blue Devils, who have shown a tendency to get off to strong starts. It all looked shaky, though, when the Hatters took a 12-11 lead into the under-16 media timeout. Their fans barely had time to take a picture of the scoreboard before Barrett and Williamson unleashed a barrage of dunks and lay-ins to put Duke up for good.
For those who thought that some of the Blue Devil freshmen weren’t playing efficiently, it was quickly put to rest with the dominant performance that saw the rookie trio go a combined 27-for-38 from the floor. Krzyzewski seemed to work out defensive mistakes all night, exactly what Duke needs as they glide through the easy part of their schedule, with Hartford up next and a pair of Ivy league teams in Yale and Princeton.