March 18, 2019

No. 4 Duke Decimates No. 2 Kentucky Thanks to Fantastic Freshmen

08 November 2018, 09:52 | Anna Jefferson

Barrett scores 33, No. 4 Duke blows out No. 2 Kentucky in season opener

ESPN's matchup predictor for Duke Kentucky NCAA Men's Basketball

Only four times has one of his teams suffered a 30-point loss in 924 games.

Quentin Grimes (21 points, 4 assists) and Dedric Lawson (20 points, 6 assists, 14 rebounds) proved they could replace the production lost from last year's team. "I shouldn't say I'm surprised at how well these guys played because I see them, but to play on this stage right away against Kentucky was a little bit surprising". I mean, we only created four turnovers.

With just two exhibition games under their belts, we did not have a whole lot to go on when breaking down this Kansas team. "I told (UK's players) I got outcoached, you guys got outplayed, we'll watch the tape and move on". While there was plenty of attention on top-flight freshmen R.J. Barrett and Cameron Reddish, Zion Williamson produced the biggest reaction from coast to coast, putting on an absolute show of athleticism and force in his first game as a college player. They combined for 83 points on the night, nearly outscoring the Wildcats' entire roster.

Williamson scored 28 points in his Duke debut and broke Marvin Bagley III's 25-point record set in 2017. Although the younger Jones only scored six points, he was Tyus-like in running the point for 30 minutes without committing a single turnover while dishing out seven assists.

The fourth freshman starter on the squad, Tre Jones, directed the show (in front of his brother, former Duke point guard Tyus Jones, who was given permission to use the private jet of his National Basketball Association teammate in Minnesota, Jimmy Butler, just to see his younger sibling's first official college game). "I'm really proud of my freshmen". "You start four freshmen, and no matter how talented they are, you don't know what they're going to do in this environment against an outstanding team and a great program. And they responded. They were magnificent".

The Blue Devils didn't stop with that flurry.

Kentucky never got closer than 27 the rest of the game. Duke would go on to shoot over 50 percent from the floor. The Blue Devils outscored United Kingdom by 24 from the arc. Kentucky shot 44 percent from the field but allowed the Blue Devils to shoot 54 percent.

Keldon Johnson led the Wildcats with 23 points while Reid Travis added 22 points.

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