Duke Blue Devils respond from Hokies defeat
The Blue Devils eased past Miami 87-57 on Saturday. Thanks to 19 points and 10 rebounds from RJ Barrett and 19 points from fellow freshman Cameron Reddish.
With national player of the year candidate Zion Williamson still missing for a third straight game with a mild right knee sprain. Duke (25-4, 13-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) never trailed and shot 57 percent to bounce back from their second loss in three games. Which have coincided with Williamson’s injury.
“Everyone plays their part in the team and does their thing. But our focus right now is to get Zion healthy and get everyone healthy and feeling good,” White said. “Just trying to have everyone playing their best basketball by that point. But you know, it’s not just about me. It’s a team effort.”
White’s struggles from 3-point range had taken on a life of their own. He hadn’t hit one since January at Florida State. Also, he was 0 for 10 in a loss to Syracuse two nights after that. Additionally missing all 12 he attempted in the month of February.
“I haven’t gone through a stretch like that before in my life,” said White. Who went 3 for 3 from 3-point range. “Towards the latter end of it. It was more surprising than anything when I’d miss. Because I’d felt good and I was like, ‘Why?’”
When he finally swished one with 12:34 left in the first half against the Hurricanes, Cameron Indoor Stadium erupted. With arguably its loudest cheers of the season and the Crazies chanted “Jack is back.”
“I was really happy for him,” Barrett said. “But I had to get back on defense.”
It wasn’t just a feel-good moment for White and the Blue Devils. It started the run that completely overwhelmed the Hurricanes. Starting with that shot, Duke outscored Miami 36-11 over the final 12-plus minutes of the half.
Chris Lykes, who scored in double figures in 24 of Miami’s previous 27 games, finished with four points on 1-of-15 shooting. While being hounded by Jones. The Hurricanes trailed by 25 when he hit his only bucket.
Anthony Lawrence and Ebuka Izundu scored 15 points each for the Hurricanes (12-16, 4-12). They have lost nine of 12 and haven’t won a road game in more than 12 months.
Barrett averages an ACC-best 23.3 points, and has led the league in scoring virtually all season. He has shouldered the scoring load in Williamson’s absence. Barrett entered averaging 24 points, eight rebounds and six assists while shooting 51 percent, and with his godfather — two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash — sitting behind the Duke bench, he finished three assists shy of his second triple-double in two weeks.
“With Zion being out, everybody kind of gets the ball more. Everybody has to make more plays,” Barrett said.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski says there is “no time pressure” on Williamson. Adding that the star freshman and second-leading scorer in the ACC “hasn’t done anything with contact” since he was injured in the opening minute of a loss to North Carolina
Duke hosts Wake Forest on Tuesday night in its home finale.