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Duke Rolls Over Gardner-Webb 92-52

With questions about Paolo Banchero still in the air

Gardner-Webb v Duke
DURHAM, NC - NOVEMBER 16: Jeremy Roach #3 of the Duke Blue Devils goes to the basket against Anthony Selden #23 of the Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs in the first half at Cameron Indoor Stadium on November 16, 2021 in Durham, North Carolina.
Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

Just so I don’t get accused of burying the lede, Duke routed Gardner-Webb 92-52 Tuesday night, breaking open a close game in the middle of the first half and cruising. Ten Blue Devils scored, six in double figures.

And yes, Paolo Banchero was one of them. He started and played 26 minutes, giving Duke 10 points, eight rebounds and a couple of assists.

“We had a violation of our standards,” Mike Krzyzewski said of the weekend’s much-publicized traffic stop, ”and we’ll handle that internally. We’re already handling that. A violation of our standards and that’s it.”

Starting Banchero?

“Two different situations,” Krzyzewski said. “Two entirely different situations. Headlines might make it look like it’s the same, but it’s not.”

Keels said getting on the floor after the day’s noise was “a huge relief. Just getting on the floor. We tried to focus on the game and we did a good job.”

Duke also got a bounce-back game from Mark Williams—remember when he was the program’s biggest story? The big center gave Duke 13 points, six blocks and countless intimidations.

It took Duke a few minutes to get the offense cranked up. Trevor Keels gave Duke a 3-0 lead with a bomb—Keels had four 3-pointers and led everybody with 18 points.

But Duke trailed 6-5 more than five minutes into the game, when Keels hit his second 3-pointer. The visitors led 9-8, 11-10 and 13-12, their final lead eight minutes into the game.

Duke needed a captain to be a captain and Wendell Moore, Jr. delivered.

“Gardner-Webb is a good team,” Keels said. “They came out and punched us in the mouth. Wendell, our captain, he talked to us and said ‘everybody calm down.’ We took a deep breath and got back to playing Duke basketball.”

Moore said you can’t be a leader if your teammates don’t listen and his teammates are listening.

Duke broke it open at the mid-point of the first half, going on a 17-4 run over about a five-minute span to go up 29-17. Joey Baker had a steal and layup, Keels scored off a Williams steal, Keels, Williams and Banchero scored early in the shot clock before Gardner-Webb could set its defense.

Gardner-Webb coach Tim Craft explained what went wrong.

“They made some shots. We gave up some lay-ups with Williams, trying to gamble and then we struggled to score. We had some turnovers down that stretch and never really recovered from it.”

Craft also noted Williams’ interior dominance.

Krzyzewski cited his team’s defense.

“We’ve been playing very good defense our first three games and tonight we were even better. Our goal was to take away their 3-point shooting and we did a great job of that.”

That crucial first-half run?

“I think we scored in the first half better off our defense than off our offense. We got those runs and guys were unselfish in passing and we were really strong in finishing. It was kind of like an explosion. Even I looked up and said ‘whoa, we’re up by 23.’ “

Duke did extend its first half-lead to 23 at 47-24 and ended the half up 47-27.

The Blue Devils never let the Bulldogs make a sustained second-half run. Their best stretch was a 6-0 run that moved the score from 67-34 to 67-40. Banchero got an old-fashioned 3-point play and that was the end of that run.

Duke got 11 players on the floor but until the end it wasn’t a first-team-goes-out, second-team-goes-in kind of scenario. Krzyzewski used lots of combinations. All five starters scored in double figures, with Moore (14) and Jeremy Roach (10) joining Keels, Williams and Banchero. But Joey Baker continued to show off his new-found versatility with a 12-point game that had only a single 3-pointer and included two assists and three steals.

And A.J. Griffin continued to work off two-years worth of rust with five points and six rebounds in over 16 minutes.

“He hasn’t played for two years,” Krzyzewski reminded folks. “Not one year, two years. And then he was out for about two-and-a-half weeks. He has a strong body. Tonight he played strong. He can play even stronger with that body. But he really, really worked hard tonight. We just have to keep working with him. He has a great attitude.”

Coach Craft went out of his way to praise Roach’s defense for disrupting his offense and forcing it to operate further outside than he wanted. Roach only had one steal but not everything can be quantified. He also added six assists to those 10 points and led Duke with almost 28 minutes, a sure sign that Krzyzewski liked what he saw.

“I’d like to see him take his outside shot more. But he’s driving so hard and he protects the ball better than some running backs when he gets in there. He’s really worked on his footwork. He’s further removed from that ACL.”

Duke gets back on the court Friday against Lafayette, an unusual 8 P.M. tip-off.


Duke outrebounded Gardner-Webb 41-28, allowing the visitors only seven offensive rebounds. Duke held Gardner-Webb to 36 percent shooting, including 2 for 16 from beyond the arc.

Duke shot 57 percent from the field, including 10 of 22 on 3s, Keels 4 for 6 and Moore 2 for 3 leading the way from downtown. Duke also had 24 assists on 36 made field goals and turned it over 11 times to Gardner-Webb’s 17. Baker had three of those steals.


Player Of The Game vs. Gardner-Webb

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    Wendell Moore
    (15 votes)
  • 2%
    Paolo Banchero
    (8 votes)
  • 28%
    Mark Williams
    (80 votes)
  • 6%
    Jeremy Roach
    (18 votes)
  • 48%
    Trevor Keels
    (137 votes)
  • 0%
    Keenan Worthington
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    AJ Griffin
    (2 votes)
  • 5%
    Joey Baker
    (17 votes)
  • 0%
    Theo John
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Bates Jones
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Jaylen Blakes
    (2 votes)
284 votes total Vote Now