Duke Blue Devils bounce back from defeat to easily beat Indiana Hoosiers
Duke rebounded from its first loss of the season in emphatically brilliant fashion Tuesday night, dispatching Indiana 90-69 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
The performance of Blue Devils star Zion Williamson, as we’ve come to expect over the first three weeks of the season, was equally dazzling as Duke’s blowout victory.
Williamson was near-flawless in virtually every facet of the game against the Hoosiers. Finishing with a team-high 25 points on 11-of-15 shooting. He added six rebounds, four assists, two blocks and two steals in an all-around jumbo stat line that paced Duke to its fifth double digit win of the season.
Williamson scored 14 of his points via the easiest shot in basketball. Which seems to come especially easy when you’re 6-foot-8 with hops a kangaroo can only dream of possessing.
Duke did this all without its full arsenal in the second half. After their leading scorer, RJ Barrett was fouled out after just 28 minutes of action. Barrett logged 22 points and a team-high nine rebounds. Cameron Reddish, the third projected top-5 pick for the 2019 NBA Draft along with Williamson and Barrett, recorded 13 points in 22 minutes.
On the other side of the court, Indiana did nothing in particular well. The Hoosiers turned the ball over 20 times, ran a clunky offense that was exacerbated pitted against Duke’s length and athleticism. They shot a woeful 39 percent from the floor.
Indiana’s own projected lottery pick, Romeo Langford, led the way for the Hoosiers with 13 points on the evening. However, he picked up seven from the charity stripe in a largely unremarkable showing. He went just 3 of 15 from the floor and 0 of 4 from the 3-point line.
A win for IU against this Duke team could have been a momentum altering one. But all is not lost for the Hoosiers. They move to 5-2 on the season and have opportunities against Northwestern, Penn State, Louisville and Butler in the coming weeks before league play to bolster their non conference resume. With Juwan Morgan and Langford, they’re primed to bounce back. Heck, they weren’t even supposed to win in the first place.
Meanwhile, Duke should be able to use this win to start another winning streak with a four-game home stand consisting of Stetson, Hartford, Yale and Princeton to come.
It’s not an especially remarkable win to oust Indiana, but to do so on the heels of a deflating Maui title game loss to Gonzaga gives us a peek at the championship mettle the team possesses.
No play sent a louder message than the steal by Williamson that ended in a Dominique Wilkins-style windmill jam.
“I tipped it, and when I saw the ball bounce. I knew I was going to get it, so all I did was take a quick look back,” Williamson said. “They stopped running, so I said, you know, let’s give the [Cameron] Crazies a little something to cheer for.”
Next up for the Duke is a meeting against Stetson Hatters on Saturday evening.