Okay, now we can get that whole Duke-can-beat-an-NBA-team nonsense out of the way.
Army West Point never really had a chance to beat Duke Sunday afternoon. But they did have the ball, down by six, with about 12 minutes left, before Duke went on a 14-2 run.
The final was 94-72.
1 don’t think Army exposed any serious chinks in Duke’s armor. But they certainly gave Duke some teachable moments. Army is a fundamentally sound, skilled, veteran team. They turned live- ball turnovers into easy shots and when they went into their half-court offense, they exposed Duke’s still-developing communication skills.
Army’s Jimmy Allen describes his team’s approach.
“I thought our guys prepared and stuck to the game plan. We tried to keep them out of the paint, tried to keep them from getting easy baskets inside and force them to take some shots from the perimeter, force them to make a few passes in a possession. Our goal going in the other direction was to try to create some pace, get some easy baskets for us. We took care of the ball and did not give them easy baskets in transition.”
Duke’s freshmen looked like freshmen today. R.J. Barrett had five turnovers, mostly unforced. Shot selection was iffy. Duke shot 36 3s but only got to the foul line 13 times. And defensive communication-a perennial concern for a young team-clearly is a work in progress.
There are reasons for this. Mike Krzyzewski says the team didn’t get back from Indy until 4 A.M. Wednesday. He used the word “noise” more than once.
“That was a great game for us. Army was terrific. They played hard. They played together. They played fast. The perfect game for us following Kentucky, as we grow as a team. I didn’t think our preparation for the game was at the level that it has been and part of that has to do with winning a game as much as we did in that setting against Kentucky. Part of becoming good is keeping the noise out of your locker room.”
Army only led once, at 2-0, but Duke never really got much separation early. The biggest first-half margin was 11, at 36-25. But Army turned two Duke turnovers into five points in about thirty seconds and it was a ballgame.
It was 50-42 at the half.
“It was a great reminder that no one is going to come in and lay down,” junior co-captain Javin DeLaurier says. “Everyone is going to give us their best shot. That was good for guys to experience today, some of us for the first time. It was our first time at home and it was loud. We have to get better at communication. That’s something you always have to work on with young guys. We have to keep refining it, keep practicing.”
Duke finally put the hammer down about eight minutes into the second half. Cam Reddish scored inside, then Reddish, R.J. Barrett, then Reddish again, knocked down 3-pointers and it was 78-61, an 11-0 run.
Krzyzewski credited Tre Jones with sparking the run, finally making his voice heard.
“We started locking in in the second half and getting some stops,” Jones says. “I think it was just picking up the intensity. We weren’t talking very much early early and our intensity and talk were down. Once we picked those up, we were able to play a lot better. We’ve got to come out and be ready to play every game. We’ll learn from that.”
Army started missing 3s down the stretch and Duke pulled away, the final 22-point margin perhaps not fully indicative of the competitiveness of the game.
“In the second half, we played together more offensively,” Krzyzewski says. “But they get the ball down the court so fast, we needed to talk quicker. When we’re switching, the had already done something before we said ‘switch.’ Again, that’s part of us learning to be better.”
Krzyzewski added that opponents would be playing with “house money” against Duke and that no one would be afraid of losing to Duke and his team had better figure that out.
Williamson, Reddish and Barnett scored 35 of Duke’s first 38 points, 75 of the final 94. Will that be a problem down the road?
Williamson led everyone, with 27 points, 16 rebounds and six blocks. Reddish hit 25, Barrett 23.
Reddish hit 7-of-13 from beyond the arc.
“I work so hard to get to this point. I’ve worked so hard, I feel like I should never miss. I’ll continue to do what I do and play like I play.”
But he acknowledged that the coaches were getting on him for leaving open shooters in the corner and that he expects plenty of defensive work in the next few days, with an emphasis on talking.
Army point guard Tommy Funk had 10 assists, against two turnovers. Army assisted on 22 of its 28 field goals, Duke 24 of 35.
Playing the United States Military Academy on Veteran’s Day and the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day didn’t just happen.
Krzyzewski said Duke tried to put something together for last Veteran’s Day but started too late.
He credited “cooperation by both schools. Our administrators did it and we thought for us and for their program, it was a show-case game. It was a great thing. The United States Military Academy is part of me big time. To see them play here is a big honor for me. Some of these seniors could be in Afghanistan or Iraq in a few years. It’s a big honor to have them here.”
- Freshman trio carries Duke men’s basketball against Army in the home opener
- Amid “exceptional noise,” Duke’s young freshmen learn not to believe the hype
- Duke’s freshman trio too much for Army to handle
- Williamson, No. 4 Duke pull away from Army, 94-72
- Zion Williamson Brilliant as Duke Powers Past Army
- Williamson, Barrett, Reddish combine for 75 as Duke beats Army
- An Army Player Learned You Should Never Shoot When Zion Williamson Is At The Rim
- After Kentucky display, Duke’s traveling roadshow returns home to a new reality
- Williamson, No. 4 Duke Pull Away From Army, 94-72
- Box Score
- Season Stats
Player of the game vs. Army
This poll is closed
Alex O’ Connell