Duke Blue Devils remain unbeaten on professional evening against the Eagles
The Duke’s pushed aside the Eagles with a balanced attacking performance. Led by Williamson and his freshman counterpart R.J. Barrett, Duke raced to a 84-46 win. The pairing scored a total of 41 points.
Head coach Mike Krzyzewski had his players firing on all cylinders, and after a monster slam by Williamson for Duke’s first points of the game, the Blue Devils never looked back.
The coach said: “I think in the last couple days we grew up a little bit more as far as communication goes. We shared the ball well and we got every loose ball in that first half, it was really fun to watch. Proud of my guys.”
Though the Eagles (3-1) struck first with a layup in their opening set, Duke’s defense smothered Eastern Michigan for the rest of the contest. Freshman Tre Jones and sophomore Jordan Goldwire harassed the opposing guards, forcing 14 turnovers in the first half. Goldwire played excellently. He stole the ball leading to a 3-pointer by Jack White, forcing the Eagles to call a timeout.
Immediately out of the huddle, Goldwire forced an Eagles player to pick up his dribble and call another timeout in fear of committing a five-second backcourt violation. Duke capitalized on the mistakes, scoring 31 points off turnovers and garnering much of its offense from electrifying fast breaks.
After an imperfect game against Army, Duke recovered and appeared much more engaged. Thanks to quick close-outs and better communication by the Blue Devils, Eastern Michigan shot a dreadful 3-for-18 beyond the arc. The Eagles could not seem to get any rhythm as they only scored 13 points in the first half.
Krzyzeweski said: “I thought we handled everything well during this game. In transition we were relentless. Everything we did worked, and the reason it worked was because they played so hard.”
Due to the numerous amount of fast breaks that came Duke’s way, they had many opportunities to share the ball. This ignited their offense as a whole. Duke finished with 23 assists led by Jones and Barrett, with eight and six respectively. While Jones did not have a big scoring night, his numerous assists, including a no-dribble half-court pass to Williamson stabilized Duke’s offense.
Williamson continued his streak, shooting 10-for-12 from the field. His presence on the court made it very difficult for the Eagles to find any success.
White had a career-high of 10 points, including two 3-pointers. Junior Javin DeLaurier also provided some efficient minutes with 10 points.
Overall, Duke were professional on Wednesday night, but the team played far from their best which is to be expected from such a young team. The Blue Devils turned the ball over 10 times themselves, and only shot 5-for-24 from beyond the arc. Duke’s three-point inefficiencies were in part due to freshman Cam Reddish’s relatively quiet outing.
Reddish had averaged 23.5 points per game in his first two matches. However, he only scored three points against the Eagles. The Duke’s need consistent production out of the talented freshman going forward.
Duke will head to Hawaii for the Maui Invitational, with its first game against San Diego State next Monday at 5 p.m.