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Duke Turns Back Pitt 79-64

Zion Williamson put on a remarkably effective performance

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Duke v Pittsburgh
PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 22: Zion Williamson #1 of the Duke Blue Devils dunks against against the Pittsburgh Panthers at Petersen Events Center on January 22, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Methodical. Workmanlike. Business-like.

You can probably come up with your own synonym.

Call it what you will. But the bottom line is Duke took care of business Tuesday night against Pittsburgh, 79-64.

Duke played inspired ball in the middle of the game, overcoming a desultory start and an equally desultory ending, while running their record to 16-2, 5-1 in the ACC.

Jeff Capel helped recruit many of these guys to Duke and from afar it’s hard to tell how much of a distraction this was for the young Devils or their not so young head coach.

Capel had his Pitt team primed and focused and he’s definitely upgraded Pitt’s talent base, admittedly a low bar. Pitt attacked off the dribble, controlled Duke’s fast break and largely maintained their poise.

After falling behind 11-6, the Panthers went on a 7-0 run to take a 13-11 lead and led as late as 16-15, before the talent differential blunted any upset hopes. Duke went on a 12-0 run, Zion Williamson accounting for seven of those points, R.J. Barrett the other five.

Tre Jones sat out his second straight game with his shoulder problem and Duke continued to spread the ball-handling responsibilities among Williamson, Barrett and fellow freshman Cam Reddish. The trio combined for 14 of Duke’s 15 assists; Jordan Goldwire had the other. Juniors Marques Bolden and Jack White handled the rebounding and the bench again provided not a whole lot.

The last 12 or so minutes of the first half is what Duke fans signed up for, a 29-9 run to end the first half. Williamson and Barrett did their thing but Reddish hit a 3, Bolden dominated inside and White added his usual brand of physical, high-energy contributions.

Capel even contributed with a technical foul late in the half.

But Javin DeLaurier missed inside, ending his streak of 19 consecutive made field goals.

Perhaps Williamson could have loaned him one or two. He connected on all nine of his first-half-field-goal attempts.

It was 44-25 at intermission.

Duke extended its lead 50 23, at 56-33 about five minutes into the second half, a Williamson steal and dunk a highlight, although not equal to his greatest hits.

The lead stayed in the 20-25 point range before Duke began to dial it back, showing some loss of focus and intensity, sending Pittsburgh to the foul line way too much.

Still, it never got any closer than the final margin of 15.

Duke gets some time off before hosting Georgia Tech on Saturday.

Nothing that happened tonight really moved the needle much for Duke. But it’s another road victory for a young team, another chance to expand some responsibilities in Jones’ absence.


Barrett and Williamson added to their season-long stellar stat lines. Barrett ended with 26 points, five rebounds and three assists, Williamson 25 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Reddish struggled with his shot--4a-for-16-but did finish with 15 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals.

Williamson was 11-for-13 from the field, bringing his season percentage to 67.0 percent.

And Bolden continued his recent surge, seven points, nine rebounds and five blocks.

DeLaurier had two points and two rebounds, Duke’s only bench contributions in those categories.


Player Of The Game vs. Pitt

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    Jack White
    (6 votes)
  • 6%
    RJ Barrett
    (41 votes)
  • 1%
    Cam Reddish
    (11 votes)
  • 82%
    Zion Williamson
    (522 votes)
  • 5%
    Marques Bolden
    (32 votes)
  • 0%
    Javin DeLaurier
    (1 vote)
  • 1%
    Jordan Goldwire
    (12 votes)
  • 1%
    Alex O’ Connell
    (9 votes)
634 votes total Vote Now
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