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Duke Crushes St. Francis 124-67

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NCAA Basketball: St. Francis (PA) at Duke
 Dec 5, 2017; Durham, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Wendell Carter Jr.(34) drives to the basket during the second half against the Saint Francis Red Flash at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke won 124-67.
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Duke ended its short-lived homestand Tuesday night with a 124-67 win over Saint Francis, running its record to 11-0.

It was about as complete a victory as you can imagine. If I got paid by the adjective, I could run through a thesaurus of positives to describe Duke’s play, especially a first half that could be included in a time capsule in how dominant a dominant team can be.

I don’t want to make Saint Francis seem like the ’27 Yankees. But they were picked to win the Northeast Conference and their resume does include a credible loss to Louisville, 84-72.

Duke prioritized getting the ball inside early and the Red Flash had no answer.

“It was a daunting task to be able to keep their post players and their size away from the rim and they certainly willed their size early in the game,” losing coach Rob Krimmer said.

And Duke was hitting from outside, Gary Trent, Jr. finding his missing jumper, two 3-pointers in the first 2:30. Duke had first-half runs of 13-1, 11-0, and 10-0. It was 17-5 at the first media timeout, 30-9 at the second.

Some stats reflect Duke’s first-half dominance. The Blue Devils bludgeoned Saint Francis 29-13 on the glass, pulling down more offensive rebounds (12) than Saint Francis had defensively (10).

Led by Trent’s 4-for-6, Duke went 10—for-16 from beyond the arc, five different Blue Devils finding the mark.

But one first-half statistic stands out, jaw-dropping. Duke had 17 assists against a single turnover, a bad Allen pass 67 seconds into the game.

Think about that one for a while. Duke went 18:53 without a turnover.

How does that happen?

“We can really take care of the ball,” Allen said. “It really makes it easy on the guards when you don’t have to make precise passes to the big guys. Half the time, I’m just throwing it up to Marvin and counting on him to make a play and make me look good.”

“They’re sharing the ball,” Mike Krzyzewski said. “They look for one another. That was good. No one got into their game, they got into our game.”

Duke went into the locker room up 71-34, with Marvin Bagley III (17), Trent (12), and Wendell Carter, Jr. (11) already in double figures. Carter had seven rebounds, Trevon Duval nine assists.

That turnover-less streak didn’t last long after intermission, three turnovers in the first 90 seconds. Saint Francis went on a 6-0 run. But Duke dialed-back the degree of difficulty and answered with dunks by Bagley, Allen and Carter.

By that point, it was a little like clubbing baby seals. The lead reached 40, then 50. Krzyzewski started pulling his starters early; none played more than Bagley’s 26 minutes.

But a funny thing happened down the stretch. Duke’s reserves played about as well as the starters. Two walk-ons brought down the house in the final 40 seconds. Justin Robinson chased down a Saint Francis fast break, ending it with an emphatic block. Mike Buckmire grabbed the rebound and went coast-to-coast, hitting a layup, drawing a foul and making the and-one.

The crowd went nuts, the bench went nuts, even the coaches went nuts.

Javin DeLaurier called the sequence “awesome. They’re both such great teammates.”


Duke ended with a school-record 34 assists, breaking the old record of 33 set against Miami back in the 1980s. Duval had 11, backup point Jordan Goldwire had five and Buckmire added another, 17 assists from the point-guard spot.

Duke ended with 13 turnovers, as it got a little hectic down the stretch.

Five Blue Devils scored in double figures, led by Bagley with 21. He added 11 rebounds, his ninth-double-double of the season.

Allen added 14 points, five rebounds, and six assists in 21 minutes without missing a shot.

Carter just missed a double-double, 15 points and nine rebounds, while Trent ended with 14 points.

Marques Bolden had the best statistical game of his career, 17 points and 10 rebounds, both career bests, the rebounds equaling 10 against Portland State last month.

What was different for Bolden?

“Just naturally playing. Just the energy and intensity. Making the right plays, not thinking too much, just trying to play basketball.”

Krzyzewski said he couldn’t call it a break-out game, noting that Bolden is a good player and the game wasn’t exactly close.

Fellow backup big Javin DeLaurier added nine points, six rebounds, and an assist. DeLaurier noted that he’s working on increasing his comfort level on the perimeter and it’s paying dividends.

Freshman Jordan Tucker played the final eight minutes and looked like he belonged, scoring the first six points of his career.

Duke opens ACC play Saturday at Boston College. Noon tipoff.

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