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Jim On Duke’s Win Over Campbell

It wasn’t scintillating on the surface but there was a lot of good stuff when you look

Campbell v Duke
DURHAM, NC - NOVEMBER 13: Joey Baker #13 of the Duke Blue Devils puts up a shot against the Campbell Fighting Camels in the second half at Cameron Indoor Stadium on November 13, 2021 in Durham, North Carolina.
Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

Duke defeated Campbell 67-56 Saturday night and no players were harmed in the filming.

No that last line isn’t a throway. Barely 10 seconds into the game Duke’s Wendell Moore, Jr. went down awkwardly in a scramble for a loose ball. And stayed there. And stayed there.

Eventually he was helped to the locker room and visions of impending doom went through the minds of the Blue Devil faithful.

“I thought it was serious,” Mike Krzyzewski said. “I thought he was out.”

Moore’s immediate response to the injury?

“Really, just fear,” he said. “I was just hoping that nothing bad happened.”

Duke was knocked back big time and Campbell jumped to an 18-8 lead.

“It wasn’t a good feeling, for sure,” Joey Baker said. “As a team, we were all kind of shook up by it. Having him come back gave us another lift.”

Moore magically appeared at the scorer’s table and then the court and boy did Duke need him.

Duke looked for all the world like a young team, playing its third game in five days, tight and tentative and flummoxed by a deliberate Campbell offense that cut and passed and used every second of the shot clock.

“I thought we played poised,” Campbell coach Kevin McGeehan said. “I thought we were calm. Our guys looked like they trusted each other.”

Campbell doesn’t have a lot of size and didn’t try to pretend otherwise. They went small and forced Duke to counter. There were times when Campbell’s tallest player was 6-6. Duke’s bigs, Mark Williams and Theo John combined for 15 minutes, no points and three rebounds.

Why go small?

“We were getting our butts beat,” Krzyzewski said.

Duke had to adjust.

“Part of having a good season is being able to improvise and have different lineups to combat the different systems that you play against,” the head guy said. “We were able to do that tonight.”

Moore’s return jump-started a Duke comeback. The Blue Devils caught up on defense. Moore had a steal and layup to make it 18-13, then notched another steal and got it to Jeremy Roach for a layup that made it 18-17, part of a crucial 9-0 Duke run that got them back into the game.

“I thought the last 32 minutes of the game, we played great defense,” Krzyzewski said.

Campbell stabilized with a Jesus Carralero 3-pointer, then a minute-long possession that culminated in a Ricky Clemons 3 after two offensive rebounds.

This gave the visitors a 24-22 lead. Campbell had 10 offensive rebounds in the first half and an 11-0 edge in second-chance points, many of those rebounds on the perimeter after missed 3-pointers.

Moore said it was crucial to clean that up in the second half.

“That was as important as anything. Because their offense runs 25-26 seconds off the shot clock and you give them an offensive rebound and that’s another 20 seconds we have to play defense.”

Krzyzewski said Duke was bunched up too much around the basket.

“We kind of clambered around the bucket and the rebounds went over us instead of giving an umbrella, which is what you need to do.”

Banchero spent most of the game as Duke’s only big. He didn’t take advantage of that until late in the first half. But he got the ball on the blocks on each of Duke’s final two first-half possessions and Duke got five points out of it.

Duke went into halftime up 33-29.

Duke extended that lead to six at 35-29, 37-31 and 39-33. But Campbell is a veteran team and they closed to 39-38 when former walk-on Clemons converted an old-fashioned three-point play.

Duke used the three-ball to regain control, first Jeremy Roach, then Joey Baker, making it 45-38.

Baker was Duke’s unsung hero.

“Joey had one of his best games,” Krzyzewski said. “He hits threes when it’s a four-point lead and there’s a lot of pressure.”

Not only did he play almost 32 minutes, he played many of those as Duke’s second-tallest player.

“It was a different type of game,” he said. “Being one of the next-tallest guys on the court, I knew I had to get inside and rebound more and just play a different style than I’m used to. That’s something I’ll carry into the next game; keep rebounding, not only when I’m one of the big guys.”

Baker ended with a career-high five rebounds to go along with 11 points.

Baker hit another 3 to give Duke’s its first double-digit lead, at 54-42. But Clemons scored six unanswered and it was 54-48, with 7:51 left.

Duke never really delivered that trademark knockout punch, more a methodical closing, the lead inching up, while the clock ran down. Banchero got a couple of baskets inside, Roach scored in transition and Baker’s third triple—all in the second half-made it 65-52 with 91 seconds left and Duke could finally breath easy.

Adjustment and flexibility were the keynotes to the win. Duke is playing so often that they aren’t able to practice much. But Krzyzewski says this team has the ability to learn on the fly.

“They’re good listeners. We always give them a little feedback from the night before. We spent over an hour [before the game] walking through their offense. They pay attention, they take notes. They’re learning to do that for every game. That’s one of the reasons we set it up this way. It’s like intense training. I’m pleased with them. We have a good group of kids. They want to do the right thing and they want to do it together.”

So, a 3-0 week in the books. Moore gave the team a B grade, maybe B+. Krzyzewski called it on-the-job training against veteran teams.

So, buckle down. A season is a lifetime.


Banchero, Clemons and Campbell’s Cedric Henderson led all scorers with 18 points. Moore added 15 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals, while Roach tallied 14 points, with 4 assists. Campbell outrebounded Duke 34-31 but Duke outscored the Camels 14-1 on fast-break points.


Player Of The Game vs. Campbell

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    Wendell Moore
    (142 votes)
  • 10%
    Paolo Banchero
    (40 votes)
  • 0%
    Mark Williams
    (3 votes)
  • 15%
    Jeremy Roach
    (62 votes)
  • 0%
    Trevor Keels
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    AJ Griffin
    (3 votes)
  • 35%
    Joey Baker
    (137 votes)
  • 0%
    Theo John
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    Jaylen Blakes
    (1 vote)
391 votes total Vote Now