After facing four consecutive potential NCAA tournament participants, the Blue Devils took advantage of a matchup against a Stetson team that had yet to defeat one of the other 352 members of NCAA Division I.

No. 3 Duke easily put away the Hatters 113-49 Saturday night with the help of a near-triple double from freshman R.J. Barrett, who finished with 26 points on 11-of-14 shooting, seven rebounds and seven assists. The Blue Devils' suffocating full-court press stifled Stetson and made it nearly impossible for the Hatters to cleanly bring the ball up the court, let alone find any offensive success. Duke, on the other hand, ran up-and-down the court all night, with fast break dunks and alley-oops galore.

“Our guys played really hard, that was the main thing today,” head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “If we play hard like that, it’s gonna be hard to score against us.”

Headed by freshman Tre Jones, Duke’s 1-2-2 full-court press was the difference maker in Stetson’s discomfort throughout the match. The Hatters turned the ball over 14 times in the first half, leading to 24 fastbreak points by the Blue Devils (7-1). Duke’s constant backcourt pressure destroyed Stetson’s confidence, made clear by a sequence in which Barrett earned a steal and a fast break dunk on back-to-back possessions, forcing a Stetson timeout. 

In the opening minutes it seemed as though Stetson (1-8) could potentially keep the contest close. The Hatters' Abayomi Iyiola had seven quick points, giving his team a 12-11 lead five minutes into the match and forcing head coach Mike Krzyzewski to call an early timeout to regroup with his players. Immediately following that huddle, the Blue Devil defense tightened up immensely, forcing turnovers left and right, helping Duke go on a 32-4 run.

“When we’re in transition we’re very hard to beat because we have so many guys who can bring the ball up and make plays,” Krzyzewski said. “So we just exploded there.” 

Not only did the Blue Devils make it difficult for Stetson to run its offense, but they also dominated the paint, outrebounding the Hatters 52-31 thanks in large part to junior Jack White, who finished with nine. The Hatters only earned nine second-chance points and could not stop the Blue Devils from pulling down 20 offensive boards.

The second half was not any kinder to Stetson, as Duke increased its lead to 50 points in the first five minutes of the period. The Blue Devils' freshmen looked very comfortable in the open court, with Cam Reddish and Zion Williamson both earning wide-open fast break dunks and Barrett scoring 12 quick unanswered points. Jones forcing a Stetson turnover in its backcourt was the icing on the cake for Duke’s 20-4 second half run. 

Barrett’s efficiency anchored the Blue Devils’ offense, as his 7-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio left the opposing defense lost and confused on how to guard him. Barrett also opened the floor for his fellow freshmen, as Reddish and Williamson both had monster performances with 23 and 17 points respectively. Reddish, who shot 4-of-9  beyond the arc played very well coming off a subpar outing against Indiana. If the Norristown, Pa., native can be more consistent and play like he did Saturday every game, Duke's offense will become nearly impossible to stop.

The Blue Devils seemed to be having a lot of fun from top top bottom, as sophomores Alex O’Connell and Jordan Goldwire along with junior co-captains White and Javin DeLaurier had big impacts in Saturday’s game with the outcome pretty much decided. Goldwire, in particular, again did a good job of leading Duke’s press, earning himself two fast break layups for his first points of the season.

 “That’s just what happens when we play hard and play together,” Barrett said. “Everybody’s dunking and hitting threes, and it’s fun to play.” 

Jones also had another efficient game with seven assists, zero turnovers and three steals. His unselfish play against the Hatters added to what was a dominating performance from the Blue Devils.

Duke will follow this dominant effort with another nonconference home game against Hartford Wednesday at 7 p.m.