Duke had a much easier time this year with a tough Elon team than last. This game which Duke won 97-68 was never truly in doubt. Elon did put up a spirited effort but the talent disparity was evident. Grayson Allen, to the joy of Duke fans, had no issues in this game except for whether to shoot the 3 or take it to the rim – spoiler alert, he did both. Allen went 8 – 15 from the field and 6-9 from 3, scoring 22 points. But the night belonged to Marvin Bailey who scored 25 points in his collegiate debut, breaking Shavlik Randolph’s school record for most points by a Duke freshman in a season opener (23 in 2002). Bagley used an array of moves around the rim from lefty hooks to scoop shots an showed why he is slated to become a top 5 pick in the NBA draft. Bagley had no problem scoring but the most impressive thing was how he did the little things. Bagley pulled down 10 rebounds, played staunch D and was quick as I’ve seen with this second jumps. He played with a high motor and plays at an NBA pace.
Duke was without sophomore center Marques Bolden who was out with strep throat. Bolden will be out for at least the next 2 games as well. Duke wouldn’t miss a step with Bailey and Wendell Carter Jr. taking the minutes. Carter would only play 16 minutes because of foul trouble but did manage 6 boards and 8 points. Gary Trent was also a force on the offensive end with 17 points on 6-11 shooting and 4-5 from beyond the arc. The freshman wing also pulled down 6 boards and dimed out 3 assists in 26 minutes.
Not to be overlooked were several key efforts. Firstly Trevon Duval – the freshman point guard did not light up the scoreboard but did add 8 points to the Duke total on 4-7 shooting but the impressive part to Duval game was the 8 assists he dished out with zero turnovers. As he progresses and learns this type of effort could become the norm – something Duke has been lacking since the 2015 season. Duke has had great passing point guards and they have had athletic point guards but Duval has the chance to be both. Javin DeLaurier only scored 6 points on the game but lead the Blue Devils in rebounding coming off the bench (11) and did so in only 19 minutes of action. Also noteworthy was the effort of freshman Alex O’Connell who scored 8 points on this college debut. O’Connell went 3-3 and 2-2 from beyond the arc and shot the ball in rhythm and with no hesitation.
The one concerning stat for Duke was a lack of free throw shooting. Duke shot 27% from the charity stripe but there was not a large enough sample size to say if this is an issue with only 11 attempts. Next up for Duke is a quick turnaround against the Utah Valley Wolverines tomorrow in Cameron.