The freshmen led the way as the Blue Devils were able to go into Charlottesville and snag another impressive ACC win. The win was Duke’s sixth straight and leaves them just one game back from first in the ACC. As usual, here are my three takeaways from the game:
Freshmen Continue to Grow
There were times this year when Duke’s prized freshman class had people scratching their heads regarding the merit of their 5-star labels and rankings. Tuesday was most definitely not one of those nights. Although Marques Bolden saw essentially no time on the floor, and Frank Jackson only saw limited minutes, Harry Giles and Jayson Tatum were phenomenal. Early in the second half, Duke’s senior captain Amile Jefferson picked up his fourth foul forcing recovering freshman Harry Giles to step up in a hostile environment. Harry’s stat-line does not do his effort justice as he stepped up in a colossal way grabbing two huge steals and adding five points. Tatum’s stat-line (28 points, 8 rebounds), however, is an eye-opener. Jayson Tatum did his best Tyus Jones impression in a flat out gutsy performance. For a freshman to takeover a game against a team of that caliber on the road is no short of sensational.
It was only a few weeks ago when many were doubting Duke’s capability to handle high-pressure road games. They began ACC play with three consecutive road losses (Virginia Tech, Florida State, and Louisville) and didn’t pick up their first true road win until January 28th against Wake Forest. The times have changed as Duke’s resume now boasts wins over Wake, Notre Dame, and Virginia on the road. This win officially ends all concerns of whether Duke can win away from Cameron.
No Limit but the Sky
It’s flat out frightening that this Duke team beat UVA on the road by ten with Grayson Allen and Luke Kennard shooting 5-19. With Grayson scoring five and Luke scoring 16 (due to garbage time free throws), I can confidently say that we haven’t seen how good this team can really be when everyone is firing on all cylinders, and frankly, I don’t know if college basketball is ready. Obviously there is no guarantee that we’ll ever get to see everyone clicking, but if it happens to occur around March… we will be in for a treat.