R.J. Barrett had Duke’s fourth triple-double Saturday night, keying Duke to 94-78 win over North Carolina State.
The win was Duke’s ninth straight and keeps Duke all alone atop the ACC, 11-1 in the conference, 23-2 overall.
The Wolfpack drops to 6-7, 18-8.
Barrett had a stat-line for the ages, 23 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists, 6-for-6 from the line, without a single turnover.
Zion Williamson led everyone with 32 points, hitting 12-of-16 from the field, while the entire team combined to out-rebound State 44-26, a 17-2 edge in second-chance points.
State never led. But they never really went away, either, falling behind early but refusing to let Duke stretch the lead past the breaking point until the very end.
It was 6-6 when Duke went on a 15-4 run in 3:15, a four-point Cam Reddish play included in that span.
Kevin Keatts cited falling behind this much, this early, as a big blow to his underdog team.
The game settled into a curious back-and-forth. For 24 minutes Duke never led by more than 14 points or fewer than seven.
It was 48-40 at the half.
Duke scored six quick points at the beginning of the second half, dunks by Marques Bolden, Reddish and Bolden again, making it 54-40.
But Mike Krzyzewski said his team is tired; back-to-back road games and Barrett and Bolden have been sick this week and Duke wasn’t able to exploit the breakout.
Keatts called timeout and State stopped the bleeding, scoring the next five points.
But when Duke needed stops, it got stops.
Several stand out. State had the ball down 59-52 when Bolden stole a Braxton Beverly pass. Williamson scored in the paint, Barrett hit a 3 and it was 64-52.
Again State clawed back. It was 73-65, with about six minutes left when Beverly’s three stuck on the side of the rim, giving Duke the ball on the alternate possession.
“We did take away the three,” Krzyzewski said. “Beverly scares the heck out of you. We made defending that a priority.”
Beverly came into the game averaging 2.4 made threes per game but hit only 1-of-4.
Williamson had 19 points in the first half but picked up his third and fourth fouls with 12:53 left and Duke up 64-53.
“I usually get caught in the wrong spot, at the wrong time,” Williamson said. “But I can be a lot better at it.”
Krzyzewski questioned a first-half rebound foul, where Williamson skied over C.J. Bryce but got called for the foul.
Williamson came back in with 6:18 left and scored 13 points after that, three of those field goals assisted by Barrett, Williamson dominating with four fouls the same way he did down the stretch against Louisville.
“We became a really good half-court team,” Krzyzewski said of this stretch. “RJ and Zion just connected. [Zion’s] played the last two games an unbelievable amount of minutes with four fouls. If we’re going to win something big, your best player has got to learn to have the discipline to play with four fouls.”
Duke also controlled the glass, out-rebounding State 44-26, with a 17-2 edge on second-chance points.
“We forced them to take a lot of forced shots, so we just needed to chase the ball and get to it first,” Bolden said.
“We were trying to limit their second-chance points and get out on the break,” Barrett added. “That’s what we’re going to try to do from here on out.”
Krzyzewski suggested spacing hurt State on the boards.
“They played further out against us offensively, which gave out guys a chance. I thought Marques and Javin [DeLaurier] really pursued the ball. And R.J. is getting so many defensive rebounds.”
And those assists, 21 on 35 made field goals, Jones aiding Barrett with five, Reddish with four.
But 10 assists by Barrett?
“It was great my teammates were finishing, so that opened the floor up for me,” he said.
Jones says sharing the ball makes Duke even more dangerous.
“The guys are helping off, trying to clog the paint because of the way he [Barrett] attacks the basket, so when he can find the open man, it makes us really tough to guard.”
Jones and State’s outstanding point guard Markell Johnson played to a draw, Jones with 13 points, five assists, one turnover and two steals, Johnson with 16 points (on six-for-15 shooting), 10 assists but three turnovers.
“He’s a really tough player,” Jones says of Johnson, “extremely quick, an athletic guy who can attack on any possession.”
This was Duke’s first win over NC State since the 2016 ACC Tournament and Bolden says it’s about time.
“You’ve got to be ready to play when you play NC State. It’s my first victory against them. That left a bad taste in my mouth.”
Yes, it was something of a circus. If you watched on TV, you probably got to see more celebs than I saw. But, yes, I’m told Floyd Mayweather brought around two dozen folks.
Williamson’s 32 points is three shy of his career high, against Syracuse. It’s his third 30-point game and 16th time he’s scored at least 20. He’s now 113-for-161 from the field. That’s 70 percent.
Barrett topped the 20-point barrier for the 18th time this season. He’s had five double-digit rebound games and 10 assists is his career high.
Bolden and DeLaurier combined for 14 rebounds and six blocks, while Jack White came off the bench for six points, a rebound and three blocks, all in the second half.
Next game Wednesday. If you have to ask, you’re on the wrong site.
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Another night at the Duke Show: As hype grows, Blue Devils’ focus intensifies
- Duke men’s basketball’s R.J. Barrett earns 4th triple-double in program history in win
- Durant, Mayweather to visit Cameron for Duke men’s basketball game vs. N.C. State
- Zion Williamson’s 32 points, RJ Barrett’s triple-double lead No. 2 Duke past N.C. State
- Coach K becomes all-time winningest college basketball coach
- Blue Devils continue to look unstoppable after knocking off Wolfpack
- Duke overwhelms NC State for 94-78 win
- No. 2 Duke, Zion Williamson too much for Wolfpack in 94-78 win
Player Of The Game vs. NC State
This poll is closed
Alex O’ Connell
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