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Duke Bounces Back From SFA Loss With A Gritty Win Over Winthrop

Don’t let the 13 point margin fool you. Duke did a lot of things right in this game.

NCAA Basketball: Winthrop at Duke
 Nov 29, 2019; Durham, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils guard Cassius Stanley (2) drives to the basket past Winthrop Eagles guard Micheal Anumba (3) during the first half at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Duke started a new winning streak Friday night, defeating Winthrop 83-70, to run their record to 7-1.

It wasn’t as easy as the final score suggests. Duke led for the final 24 minutes. But the score was as shaky as 57-53 as late as the middle of the second half.

Duke got solid performances from Vernon Carey (17 points, 10 rebounds), Tre Jones (15 points, 6 assists) and Matthew Hurt (20 points, 8 rebounds). But Joey Baker and Jordan Goldwire came off the bench and provided their best games of the season.

And Duke needed both. Freshman Cassius Stanley went down and out early in the second half, slipping on a fast break and not returning. Mike Krzyzewski said the early reports are that the injury was not a knee but more tests will be necessary to determine the nature and severity of the injury. But he did suggest that after Christmas might be the next time we see Stanley.

“It’s not the knee. Something happened with his hamstring that he heard pop. So, it’s muscular.”

“Those two kids really stepped up for us,” Krzyzewski said of Baker and Goldwire, “and we needed it. We’re still a developing team.”

Winthrop has some size but spent most of the game with four, even five ball-handlers on the floor, a group Krzyzewski called “unconventional. Overall our defense on the 3 was exceptional.”

Winthrop came into the game shooting 32.7 percent on 3s, averaging just over 9 makes per game. Duke held them to 6-for-21.

Still, the first half was back-and-forth. Neither team led by more than 4 points until a Tre Jones 3 put Duke up 39-32, with 1:28 left in the half.

Krzyzewski said Hurt carried Duke in the first half and the freshman from Minnesota showed what all the hype was about, 18 points and 4 rebounds at intermission.

But Joey Baker came off the bench and delivered 8 points, including a pair of bombs.

“I always feel confident in my shooting,” Baker said. “I put a lot of work it. Just having an opportunity to help my team win felt good. I feel like every shot is going in.”

Duke led 42-35 at the half.

Duke gradually built the lead to 9, then double-figures.

But Winthrop refused to go away. Every time the rubber band stretched out, Winthrop compressed it.

Stanley went down with 18:43 left. Neither Wendell Moore nor Alex O’Connell was playing especially well-the duo combined for 1 point in 25 minutes.

So, Jordan Goldwire stepped up and stepped up big.

“I just tried to come off the bench and bring energy, stay ready. You never know when your number is going to be called, so you need to stay ready, mentally and physically and just do the things you’re capable of.”

Goldwire had 5 steals, 4 in the second half. He also scored 6 points and only had a single turnover in 19 minutes, while helping out Jones with the ball handling.

Baker showed more than just shooting. He drew a big charge on Hunter Hale with Duke up 63-55 and drew praise from the head guy.

“Joey Baker was sensational, not just with his shooting . . . but he really played hard defensively and played well. We wouldn’t have won the game without Joey.”

“We do a lot of defense in practice,” Baker noted. “I was in help side and just instinctively went over in rotation. We rep that every day in practice so it’s becoming second nature.”

Winthrop struggled from the line, 6-for-13. Must be something in the water.

The biggest miss may have come with Duke up 67-60, just under 4 minutes left. Duke had gone about 2 minutes without a point. Chandler Vandurin missed the first end of a 1-and-1 and Carey got an old-fashioned 3-point play at the other end. In a matter of seconds a potential 5-point Duke lead had become a 10-point lead. Baker hit 3-pointers on Duke’s next two possessions and it was 76-64.

“We played hard and well tonight,” Krzyzewski said, “not all the time but much different than Tuesday. If we had played this way Tuesday we would have won. We had to play this way to win tonight. . . .It’s a different group. It’s old-fashioned . It’s also old-fashioned developing. But our response from the loss-because I know those kids felt horribly, felt guilty and you can lose a lot of confidence when you don’t already have confidence, because you haven’t played enough to have confidence. For them to play that way tonight, I’m proud of them. . . . It’s going to take time. We’re just going to muck it out.”


Vernon Carey had those 17 points and 10 rebounds in 22 minutes. Why so few minutes?

Winthrop played much of the game without a true post and Krzyzewski subbed out Carey to get more perimeter defense.

Baker ended with 16 points.

Tre Jones turned it over 5 times, giving him 13 in 2 games this week.

Krzyzewski said he’s not worried.

“We were horrible on Tuesday, so you can take that game and whatever stats you want and that’s not who we are. Tonight you would have turned it over about 80 times if [Russell] Jones was guarding you. Jones reminds me of Muggsy Bogues. That kid’s unusual. He’s going to turn a lot of people over. We’re okay with Tre.”

Krzyzewski dropped the news that he had “a little health issue the last game, that I was not myself.” He says he’s good now. Cold and flu season?


Player Of The Game vs. Winthrop

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    Matthew Hurt
    (102 votes)
  • 0%
    Wendell Moore
    (1 vote)
  • 1%
    Vernon Carey
    (8 votes)
  • 1%
    Cassius Stanley
    (6 votes)
  • 1%
    Tre Jones
    (8 votes)
  • 72%
    Joey Baker
    (395 votes)
  • 0%
    Javin DeLaurier
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Jack White
    (2 votes)
  • 3%
    Jordan Goldwire
    (18 votes)
  • 0%
    Alex O’ Connell
    (4 votes)
546 votes total Vote Now