It wasn’t a complete 180 for the Blue Devils in their final exhibition tune-up before the regular season but it was a much improved effort for the squad against Ferris State. After Tuesdays 106-64 drubbing of Virginia Union, that saw the Blue Devils out-talent a smaller Panthers team but also showed that this iteration of the Blue Devils needed some work as a defensive unit. Duke 4 days later took the floor and showed marked improvement defensively. Duke played solid man-to-man defense and while they did get in the passing lanes which amounted to 39 points off of turnovers, Duke gambled a lot less and the chances they did take on defense were a lot more measured. Duke seemed to communicate better and played much better team defense and transition defense.
Duke, who won the game 132-48 held the Bulldogs to 25.7% shooting. The Bulldogs had more turnovers (24) than made shots (19).
Offensively the Blue Devils were a juggernaut shooting 59.5% from the field and 50% from beyond the arc (11-22). Duke was paced by freshman R.J. Barrett who scored a game hight 32 points on 11-18 shooting, Barrett also dished out 4 assists and pulled down 9 rebounds. Zion Williamson poured in 23 points on 9-14 shooting and added 10 rebounds for a double-double. Cam Reddish had his best game of the 2 exhibitions scoring 20 points on 4-9 shooting and going 10-14 from the free throw line. Reddish dished out 5 assists and added 2 steals. Tre Jones messed around and almost had a triple-double just missing it by 2 points and 1 rebound. The freshmen point guard had 10 assists to 3 turnovers in the game but had one scary moment going up for a shot right into the face of senior center Antonio Vrankovic – Jones was down for a series, helped off the floor but did return to the game.
Duke got their best effort in ages from junior big man Marques Bolden who scored 15 points on 6-8 shooting and hit on 1 for 2 from beyond the arc. Bolden also had 5 rebounds and defensively be blocked 3 shots. Sophomore Alex O’Connell continued to make the most of his minutes scoring 9 points in 15 minutes of action, going 4-7 and grabbing 5 rebounds.
Although this was the second of the 2 exhibition games, this was thought to be the better of the 2 teams facing the Blue Devils in the preseason. Next up for Duke is a Kentucky Wildcats team boasting not only freshmen talent but depth and experience.