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Duke Defeats A Tough Yale Team 91-58

But it wasn't as easy as that might sound.

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NCAA Basketball: Yale at Duke
Dec 8, 2018; Durham, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Cam Reddish (2) shoots over Yale Bulldogs guard Miye Oni (25) during the second half at Cameron Indoor Stadium. 
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Duke used its defense to pull away from a dangerous Yale squad Saturday evening, defeating the Bulldogs 91-58. The win runs Duke’s record to 9-1 going into a 10-day exam break.

Yale starts three seniors and two juniors and came into Cameron 4-2, with wins over California and Miami.

So, this was no Stetson.

The opening 12 minutes or so suggested a fight to the finish might be in store. Yale led by four points at 4-0, 8-4 and 10-6. Duke didn’t take its first lead until an R.J. Barrett layup made it 17-15, with more than seven minutes gone and didn’t take the lead for good until an Alex O’Connell-3 made it 24-22, with 7:56 left in the half.

That O’Connell bomb sparked a 20-10 run that gave Duke some breathing room at intermission, 41-32.

“Our ball pressure, picking them up early, pushed them out a little bit further from where they normally start their offense,” Mike Krzyzewski said. “It gave us a chance to deny and switch and not get hurt much by it. And any dribble moves, there was at least one extra dribble they had to take.”

Tre Jones was the key to that first-half defense, with three steals, a block that the official scorers somehow missed and constant disruption.

“He’s going to be somebody that has to recover after every game, because he plays so darn hard,” Krzyzewski says. “But it all starts with his pressure on the ball. [Alex] Copeland is a real good guard but he had to fight Tre the whole night. Then that makes it easier for the other guys to play defense. If we become the team that we’re going be defensively, Tre will be as valuable a defender as there is in the country.”

Jones missed much of the second half after taking a knee to a quad during a loose ball scramble. It does not appear to be an injury of sufficient severity to require a vigil.

“Our defense was there in both halves,” Zion Williamson says. “On offense, we just weren’t sharp. We were playing hard but we were sloppy. When we sharpened up, we were fine.”

Duke got a big boost from its bench.

“Our bench came through for us,” Krzyzewski says. “Jack [White] has been sensational all year. I thought Alex gave us a huge lift with his defense in the first half and Jordan Goldwire did what he needs to do in the second half [with Jones out] in keeping up the pressure on the ball. Our guys are really busting their butts on the defensive end and that’s why we won.”

White gave Duke nine points, 12 rebounds--a career high--three steals, an assist and two blocks.

“Our defense took them out of what they wanted to do,” White says. “I think we made a good adjustment and kept it going throughout the game.”

But it was O’Connell who may have turned a corner. He has been instant offense off the bench at Duke but his defense has not been up to program standards. But Krzyzewski praised his defense against Yale.

“He’s a heck of an athlete. He’s got really good quickness. We’re spending a lot of time on defense, the denial, what we call contesting. He’s got great feet. He’s 6-5, 6-6 and long. He got his hands on a couple. That was a big game for him. One, he helped us. But two, he did something instead of only hitting a shot.”

Yale never really put together a run in the second half. By the time they scored consecutive baskets, Duke had extended its lead to 58-41 and the baskets only made it 58-45.

Duke responded with an 8-0 run.

Cam Reddish played so poorly in the first half that Krzyzewski sat him on the bench and kept him there.

Reddish responded with a much better second half, eight of his 10 points after intermission, adding three assists and four steals.

Krzyzewski says Duke needs more from Reddish.

“He hasn’t played well. But in the second half he did. He came out in the second half, got a few buckets. He really played well in the second half, so that’s something to build on. Cam changing from the first half to the second half was a good thing.”


Barrett led everyone with 30 points, his highest total since his 33 against Kentucky in the opener. Barrett is averaging 24.5 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game.

Williamson added 20 points, four assists and eight rebounds.

Krzyzewski also cited Barrett’s defense against Yale’s leading scorer Miye Oni, who scored 12 points, seven below his average coming into the game. Oni was 3-for-8 from the field and had five turnovers.

In fact, the visitors coughed it up 23 times, 15 in the first half. Duke notched 16 steals, eight different Blue Devils having at least one.

Javin DeLaurier got the start at center, because Duke planned to switch all five positions. He made all three of his field-goal attempts and currently is 20-24 (83.3%) from the field.


Player Of The Game vs. Yale

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    Javin DeLaurier
    (5 votes)
  • 58%
    RJ Barrett
    (249 votes)
  • 0%
    Cam Reddish
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    Zion Williamson
    (2 votes)
  • 10%
    Tre Jones
    (43 votes)
  • 20%
    Jack White
    (87 votes)
  • 0%
    Justin Robinson
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Antonio Vrankovic
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    Marques Bolden
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    Jordan Goldwire
    (0 votes)
  • 7%
    Alex O’ Connell
    (32 votes)
429 votes total Vote Now

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