There’s a reason Duke schedules exhibition games against the most recent D-2 national champions. These teams tend to be under-sized and athletically over-matched. But they compensate with experience, discipline and execution.
And they are coming off a national championship, a 38-1 season in Ferris State’s case.
That’ll do wonders for your confidence.
So, these guys usually hang around for awhile, sometimes more than awhile; remember Drury?
Ferris State may well have all those attributes. But Duke didn’t allow them even a silly centimeter of a second to show them, wInning 132-48.
Duke just exploded out of the blocks. It was 6-0 after 75 seconds, 18-2 at the first media timeout. Ferris State trailed 64-16 at intermission and didn’t score consecutive baskets until Randy Gilbert hit back-to-back buckets to make it 90-28, seven minutes into the second half.
Duke ran, dunked, blocked and rebounded. The Blue Devils hit 11-of-22 from beyond the arc, 33-of-48 from the line and out-rebounded the visitors 61-36, forcing 24 turnovers. Duke assisted on 29-of-44 field goals.
It’s not clear how much of this will translate against tougher competition.
But hard work is transferable and Mike Krzyzewski saw what he wanted to see with his team’s effort.
“Our guys played really hard, no matter who we had in. They [Ferris State} kept with their style and that’s the style that won them . . . 40 out of 41 games. So, you’re going to play your style. We were not very good in our transition defense the last game and today we were very good. We never stopped playing hard.”
One example. About 90 seconds into the second half, Duke was on defense. Zion Williamson deflected a pass onto the floor. Ferris State had two players nearer to the ball than Williamson. But Williamson hit the floor, forcing a held ball.
Duke was ahead 70-19 at the time.
“It shows that no matter what the score is, we’re always going to be playing hard,” Williamson says. “We always think the score is zero-zero. When you play hard for 40 minutes, the other team is going to hesitate on how to run their offense, because if we deflect, it, we’re going to go after it hard.”
Williamson went to the floor and dug out a loose ball even later in the second half.
Williamson even played some point guard, inasmuch as that designation has any meaning on this team.
“That’s another reason I came to Duke. Coach K knows I can play multiple positions. He sees that in me.”
Classmates R.J. Barrett and Cameron Reddish also spent some time running the offense. Don’t get the wrong idea. Tre Jones had 10 assists and he’s going to have the ball in his hands.
But Krzyzewski loves his position-less freshmen.
“What we tried to do in these two games, in the second halves, is to use as a primary handler, R.J., Cam and Zion today. We don’t know what’s going to happen in the future. We want these guys to be prepared. Zion was a point guard [when he was younger].. He really understands the game and he has a good handle. Putting the ball in his hands is a smart thing to do.”
It’s tempting to view these three freshmen in an offensive context. The trio scored 75 points today, with 20 rebounds and 10 assists. Barrett led everyone with 32 and actually led Ferris State 19-16 at the half.
But Barrett also had eight first-half rebounds; he ended with nine.
“Last game, I only had three, so it was an emphasis to get more today. It turned out great. We worked hard for a full 40. When we get rebounds and get out and run, we have too many weapons. We just have too many guys to guard.”
Krzyzewski sees the defensive possibilities of his long athletes on defense.
“They’re wide and athletic and they’re playing hard. When you do that, the court shrinks. The court doesn’t get bigger. If you have those guys playing with their arms out and moving, you’ve got a chance to be good, especially with the ball pressure Tre puts on. He makes that ball handler have to attack him, instead of running an offense. Simple to understand but hard to do. But we have a chance to be a very good defensive team.”
The veterans also had their moments. Marques Bolden had one of his best games in a Duke uniform, 15 points, five rebounds, and three blocks, even hitting a three-pointer. Krzyzewski praised Bolden’s athleticism and reach on defense and patience on offense.
“I liked everything he did today very much.”
Duke takes a big step up in class in Indianapolis on November 6. But Duke has done about as well in the pre-season as anyone could have expected.
Krzyzewski said Reddish had some cramps late. So, if you saw him limping, that’s why.
No word on why Jordan Goldwire didn’t play.
Other than that, Duke emptied its bench and barely skipped a beat. Alex O’Connell had nine points, Antonio Vrankovic scored 10 points and Justin Robinson hit 3 bombs, for nine points.
Reddish got to the foul line 14 times, Barrett 10 times, many off transition opportunities. Barrett says he expects Duke to be able to continue that against better competition.
Youthful braggadocio? We’ll find out soon enough.
- Duke men’s basketball brings its A-game, blows out Ferris State in preseason finale
- Five observations from Duke’s big win over Ferris State
- Krzyzewski: You can’t take plays off, and our guys didn’t
- Barrett: We’re a hard-working team that gets better every day
- Williamson: If you represent the core values, you dive on the floor and sacrifice your body
- Duke Surges Past Ferris State, 132-48
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- Coach K Quotes
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- Ferris State Quotes