It’s early, but Duke’s performance against Iona is the most impressive performance so far and it’s not particularly close.
Duke was confident, relaxed, and relentless.
And Iona is a better team than you might think after a 22-point win.
As advertised, they like to move and shoot fast.
Problem was Duke moved fast too, was big, and shot better. And as Clark Kellogg said, quoting his dad, big good beats little good.
Or something like that.
Duke was just too big and too good and shot too well to lose Thursday.
The Blue Devils got 39 points on three pointers including a surprising 4-5 from Trevon Duval.
As you may remember, early in the year he really couldn’t hit a jump shot. As we learned, he had a problem with his left eye that affected his shot.
Duke has been working with him on it and you’d have to say it’s improved - both his eye and his shot.
All three of Duke’s perimeter players hit four threes each with Grayson Allen hitting 4-10 and Gary Trent 4-9.
If Duval can be a consistent outside threat during the tournament that makes it very difficult to guard Duke.
People have basically dared him to shoot all year and doubled on Marvin Bagley or Wendell Carter.
Didn't happen very much Thursday: Bagley was 10-14 (22 points and seven boards) while Carter was 4-9 (nine points and eight rebounds). Add in Marques Bolden (2-2) and Duke’s bigs shot 16-25. That’s 64% inside which is pretty good.
Duke’s perimeter starters finished 19-37 (51.3%).
Added bonus: Duke had two functional scoring point guards in this game as Allen had nine assists and Duval had eight. Duke had 24 assists on 36 shots which is pretty damn good.
It was just a terrific outing for the Devils. You could nitpick some things, starting with Allen showing off on a break and trying to pull off a fancy pass when an easy one would have been better. Duke missed a layup and seconds later Allen took an ill-advised three.
About two seconds after that, Alex O’ Connell was off the bench and Allen got some remedial coaching.
You could critique the defense too. Iona shot 53% in the first half and reserve Roland Griffith really stepped up, shooting 9-12 and showing one of the sweetest, softest jumpers we’re likely to see this season. He had a knack for getting inside of the top of Duke’s zone, something other coaches will pay close attention to.
In the second half though Duke’s defense was better and, we think, Iona tired a bit. They often appeared hesitant and uncertain and Duke was able to turn them over and get out on the break.
In his memorable Sports Illustrated piece on Bob Knight, the late Frank DeFord said that Knight was always looking for the perfect game.
He never found it and Duke didn’t find it here. But the Blue Devils were very imposing and Iona was unable to keep up.
Duke plays Rhode Island Saturday and Dan Hurley will have to defend Duval outside unless and until he struggles with his shot.
A Duke with three perimeter shooters is a very, very tough team to beat.
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- Duke’s Wendell Carter,Jr. talks about his injury and first NCAA tourney game
- Duke’s Marvin Bagley III happy with his first NCAA tournament win
- Duke’s Grayson Allen on being a villain: ‘I own it now’
- Duke has little problem with Iona in first round of NCAA tourney; will play Rhode Island Saturday
- Bagley, Duke rout Iona 89-67, breeze into second round
- Trevon Duval heats up to spark Duke men’s basketball’s first-round win vs. Iona
- Up next for Duke: Dan Hurley’s Rhode Island Rams
- I LOVE DUKE AND I’M NOT SORRY
- Box Score (PDF)
Player of the game vs. Iona
This poll is closed
Alex O’ Connell